Once the old Cross Keys village pub in Caxton, No.77 has been transformed into a freehouse and Thai kitchen. It’s been described as a pub full of “local loveliness and faraway flavours” and I can see why. The pub retains its village feel whilst offering a taste of the exotic. There was a gap in the market for a good Thai restaurant just outside Cambridge (this place is only 13 miles from the town centre) and No.77 certainly delivered. A complete refurbishment was commissioned by the new owners, not only inside but outside as well. It is now definitely eye-catching!
As soon as we entered, we were struck by the tantalising aromas emanating from the kitchen as well as the sumptuous ambience and decor. Cosy and atmospheric with its dark blue and copper tones, we immediately relaxed as we were shown to a table with surprisingly comfortable velvet cinema seats.The crystal decanter chandeliers illuminated the place and reflected light onto the furnishings, including the stunning copper bar. All of our senses were intrigued.
Our servers were cheerful and friendly, which made the whole experience that much better. The menu includes all of the Thai classics, such as pad thai, curry, stir fries and tantalising cocktails. The food is authentic. In fact, there is a Thai mother-daughter cooking team at the helm.
I decided to start the evening off with one of their signature cocktails, the Thai Fizz. This wonderful concoction of Prosecco, lemongrass, sake and lychee was so good, I ordered another! Paulo was pleased to see Chang beer on the menu and that’s what he ordered. After all, what’s a Thai restaurant without Chang?
We nibbled on some light and crispy prawn crackers with sweet chilli dip whilst we enjoyed our drinks. We decided to share three starters: tempura squid, vegetable tempura and vegetable spring rolls, all of which were served with the same delicious sweet chilli dip.
The spring rolls were crispy and the vegetables were bursting with freshness. They were not the least bit oily or greasy.
I wasn’t too keen on ordering the tempura squid but I’m glad Paulo convinced me. I was expecting the same ho-hum starter of fried calamari served at so many establishments. I was wrong. The squid was cut into square chunks and coated evenly in the tempura batter. The whole dish was light and tasty, not at all rubbery or heavy.
There was a variety of seasonal veggies in the vegetable tempura, such as broccoli, red peppers and mushrooms, which were all very fresh. The tempura batter was light and airy, one of the best we’ve tasted.
My chicken pad thai was absolutely delicious. I could tell that all the ingredients were fresh, including the vegetables, which were not over-cooked and retained their crispiness. The spring onions added just the right amount of sharpness to the dish. There was a good amount of chicken and the rice noodles were perfectly cooked. The flavours and textures were very pleasing to the palate but I would have liked to have a stronger taste of peanut.
Leave it to my spice-loving husband to order one of the hottest dishes on the menu, the jungle curry. Paulo knew what he was getting into though. It was amusing when our server brought the curry to the table and asked who the brave soul was. The jungle curry, served with a mountain of rice, consisted of chicken, chilli, basil and a variety of fresh vegetables. I didn’t dare try any but I could smell the spiciness! Paulo thoroughly enjoyed the dish, even if he was sweating!
We were told that the desserts had not come in from their supplier but that was fine with us. I was too full for dessert anyway, but Paulo was able to have a refreshing lemon sorbet, which helped cool down the spicy jungle in his mouth!
We are looking forward to many return visits to No.77, as there are other tempting dishes and drinks to explore. We really enjoyed the ambience and there was a good mix of people, including families with children. They’ll even leave a bowl of water outside for your pooch!
The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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