Medi Vahdati at Tiien Thai in Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 15:44 04 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:31 06 November 2017
John Billington talks authentic Thai flavours with Medi Vahdati, owner of Tiien Thai in Bournemouth
Before Medi Vahdati opened his Tiien Thai restaurant in Bournemouth in 2011 it was blessed in a traditional ceremony by Pra Arejarn Utai, a Buddhist monk from Thailand, promising to bring luck to all who dined and worked there.
Five highly successful years later, it looks like the blessing is as strong as ever and Tiien Thai is happily continuing to attract a discerning clientele from far and wide. Medi, the charming and enthusiastic owner, displayed his confidence in Bournemouth when he opened in a central and relatively quiet location in St Michael’s Road. He knew that word of mouth and customer satisfaction are the key ingredients for a long-lasting successful restaurant business.
He also knew that sourcing quality produce from local suppliers as well as supporting the community would pay dividends. Superb fish and meat is plentiful in Dorset and even the exotic herbs and spices required for the authentic Thai dishes that you find on Tiien’s menu can now be easily sourced within the Bournemouth postcode.
Acknowledged as one of the world’s great cuisines, Thai food is renowned for classic combinations: there are the fragrant curries – green, red, yellow, panang and massaman; duck with tamarind sauce (a chef’s speciality at Tiien Thai) and, my own favourite, spicy fisherman’s soup with its mixed seafood, lemon grass, holy basil, lime juice, and roasted chillies.
At Tiien all the classic Thai recipes are presented with an eye to tradition but also with modern variations. For those wary of fierce heat and eye-watering curries - there is indeed a difference between English hot and Thai hot - the menu has an indication of how spicy a dish is going to be.
Delightful waiters under the careful eye of lovely Noi Haesler, a front of house lady resplendent in traditional dress, will happily guide diners towards dishes with an authentic balancing of Thai flavours. The stylish venue caters for a broad range of cliental from wedding parties to business lunches, from romantic couples to big birthday celebrations. Larger private functions have access to a bar and dining area – these can be decorated to their individual wishes - and guests can dine a la carte or from selected menus.
My wife has a hankering to disport herself on one of Tiien’s draped daybeds, reminiscent of traditional Thai beds at the ocean’s edge. We’ve been married 15 years now, so a dreamy cocktail such as an Amazing Thailand or a Passion Fruit Martini, sipped on the daybed followed by a surprise party with a range of authentic Thai dishes would be just the ticket.
With a hugely popular second restaurant in Broadstone (Moor Road) and another due to open in Westbourne this spring, Medi is rightly positive about Tiien Thai’s future. After all, quality is always the key ingredient and with the team at Tiien your taste buds will go on a flavour-filled adventure that will satisfy, surprise and delight.
• Hoy-Ob: Steamed mussels with chillies, sweet basil, lemon grass and Thai chilli dressing
• Goong Talai: Steamed tiger prawns served with special homemade spicy sauce (medium or hot)
• Tom Kha: Spicy soup of coconut milk, galangal, mushrooms, lemon grass, lime and kaffir lime leaves
• Weeping Tiger Cry Steak: Chargrilled sirloin steak on a hot platter with special Thai chilli sauce
• Tiien Green Curry (Mild): bamboo shoots and aubergines flavoured with chillies, sweet basil and coconut milk and choice of chicken, beef, pork, lamb, tiger prawn or vegetarian with tofu
• Fish Choo Chee: Sea bass fillet simmered with spicy coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind juice and chillies
Individual dishes from: £3.95 - £17.95 | Wines from: £ 13.95 (by the glass from £3.95) | Lunch: Midday – 2.30pm Dinner: 5.30 – 11pm | Tiien Thai, 105 St Michael’s Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5DU | Reservations: 01020 299412 tiienthairestaurant.co.uk