Usually, when it comes to Valentine's Day, we don't do much. If we both happen to have the day off work, we might go somewhere, but when it comes to the evening, we always stay in. I usually end up cooking a three-course meal - sometimes he gets four courses - and we enjoy a candle-lit evening in with a movie.
However, this year, I didn't really want to cook a meal I wouldn't be able to eat much of. After spending hours in the kitchen, there's nothing quite worse than not being able to physically eat all the food you've prepared, so the husband actually agreed to take me out for the evening.
When looking for somewhere new to try out for Valentine's Day that didn't limit choices to a set menu and had plenty of pescetarian options, a friend at work recommended Sukhothai. I've never been to a Thai restaurant - I've made some inauthentic meals at home - and have only had one really good Thai takeaway, which also turned out to be from Sukhothai.
I booked our table online in a few minutes and had it confirmed the same day without any problems, although it's worth noting that I booked very early ready for Valentine's Day. It turned out that this was a good idea as the place was incredibly busy on the night, which is always a good sign. If you're eating at the weekend or on a Friday, it's probably a good idea to book in advance as Sukhothai seems to be very popular.
The restaurant is easy to find as it is right in the centre of Leeds. There is another one in Headingley and one in Chapel Allerton, but as both me and the husband work in the city, this was the best option. It's actually just a couple of minutes from my office and is instantly recognisable from the large sign and decorations in the window.
It wasn't long before we were led to our table, which was tucked away slightly so was ideal for us. They offered to take our coats and bags to the coatroom and also held our chairs for us, which was a different experience from many places in Leeds.
The menu is fairly extensive and there is so much on it that sounds absolutely amazing. It actually took us both quite a while to make our minds up, in fact, we weren't ready even after our drinks had arrived. In the end, the husband ordered the Weeping Tiger steak, which is Thai-style grilled sirloin steak that is served with a special sauce on a hot platter. I opted for the Rua Ta-Le, which is deep-fried king prawns with seaweed and vegetables in a green curry sauce. We also got a side of noodles to share.
The husband's steak arrived on a plate that was steaming hot and the two people serving our food poured sauce on it from a teapot to make it sizzle and steam before putting it in front of him, which released an amazing smell - which I can say even though the smell of meat usually puts me off food. Each of the meals was presented on big plates and we then had smaller plates we could dish portions onto, which I did to stop my prawns going soggy in the sauce.
After only really having supermarket-bought Thai sauces, the green curry sauce that came with my meal was a bit of a revelation. It had so much flavour that I don't think I can ever go back to Tesco curry paste ever again. It was incredibly fresh but had a nice touch of heat that didn't totally overpower the subtle taste of coconut. The vegetables in the sauce were cooked well but still had a nice amount of crunch to them.
The thing that really impressed be were the prawns, not only because they were arranged inside a giant onion ring, but because they were the biggest king prawns I have ever eaten in my life. Usually when prawns are big, they don't have a lot of flavour, but these were delicious and juicy. According to the menu, they were supplied by a local fishmonger too, so I now need to track them down to buy some for home cooking.
The noodles were also really tasty, although a lot chewier than I was expecting. This meant they were also incredibly filling so we couldn't finish them. However, they happily packaged them up for us to take home and they were just as good the next day as fresh.
In the end, we didn't opt for dessert because we were both so full, but the pudding menu also looked incredibly. In fact, I think we'll go back for appetisers and desserts at some point, because there are so many things I want to try.
Not only was the food absolutely incredible, the service was phenomenal. Everyone was incredibly polite, professional and attentive. Each member of staff had a set of jobs and they were done quickly and efficiently without making us feel like we were being hustled out. They also didn't include a service charge on the bill, although we did leave a nice tip as it was well-deserved.
In the end, our meal with drinks came to under £40, which was much less than the husband was expecting. For the quality of the food and the service, we would have happily paid more. This is now one of the places that I happily recommend and where I want to take friends and family when they visit. I stand by my first sentiments, you seriously need to eat here.