374 North End Rd, Fulham. SW6 1LY
Telephone: 020 7386 8950
We must have passed this place a zillion times and never noticed it. From the street it looks like it’s closed. But if you press the doorbell on the imposing heavy wooden door on the right, the bouncer lets you in. After emerging through a set of heavy velvet curtains, your breath is taken away. Is this right? You feel as if you’ve gone down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland and emerged out in a surreal exotic destination – a Thai themed bar. The funky bass of chill-out lounge and world music envelopes you and entices you in further. The whole ambience is over-whelmingly decadent, exclusive and wildly exotic. The whole bar is softly lighted with flickering candles and lanterns. The walls are festooned with Thai artefacts, including a stone Buddha. Dark wooden beams and furniture blend into the environment. There’s a raised platform to the right, piled with cushions inviting to be reclined on. On the floor below are comfortable chairs and lounges. Everywhere there are smartly dressed young professionals lounging on the sofas, chatting, chilling, sipping on cocktails and smoking apple-scented shishas.
We were fortunate enough to secure a much coveted position on the raised platform. Normally, you would have to call ahead to reserve a nook. Once up there, we immersed our bodies into the cushions and felt highly indulgent to be at a high vantage point to absorb and melt into the opulent surroundings. The cocktail list is extensive and boasts a whole bevy of sumptuous Oriental/Western fusion cocktails. Over the evening we chose an assortment of cocktails to cloud the mind. The average price of a cocktail is £7.50. Some were fantastic, like the Oriental Passion, Ruby Passion, Obi Wan, Market Punch and Black Pearl. Others were dilute and lacked oomph (like the passionfruit bellini and Sukhothai). A word of warning with the Black Pearl. It’s not the alcohol you should be afraid of, it’s the coffee they add in it. Thirty hours later I’m still unable to sleep. Granted I did have in addition the Sukhothai which is also laced with coffee.
They also have an extensive menu of tit-bits to complement your drinks. We didn’t indulge in this as we had just come from dinner. However, we could not resist trying the apple-flavoured shisha. It was wonderful. It’s very mild and you can’t even taste the tobacco. The Other Hag expressed it perfectly - it has the after-taste of eating a apple and cinnamon pie, but without the calories. We spent the rest of the evening attempting to suavely blow smoke rings, a talent that the prince consort seemed to excel at. We felt it was very good value at £10 a pop. It lasted for over an hour for four people.
If you venture further into the bar, you come across the Sugar Hut’s restaurant. A place I’ve eaten in before, but consider the food to be just above average. I’ve had much more authentic Thai food in less impressive surroundings (I will review Addies Thai Café at 121 Earls Court Rd, Earls Court at a later stage). The atmosphere in which you dine in is however a perfect setting for a romantic rendevous.
Try the Sugar Hut for an enjoyable after-dinner soiree, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be left wondering why you hadn’t heard of this perfect oasis in the first place. A word of advice – book ahead for a place on the platform, it’s well worth it.
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