Thai River Durham

In the Press

0191 597 8774

32  The Riverwalk
Durham DH1 4SL

Opening Hours

Monday 12:00 - 22:00
Tuesday 12:00 - 22:00
Wednesday 12:00 - 22:00
Thursday 12:00 - 22:00
Friday 12:00 - 22:00
Saturday 12:00 - 22:00
Sunday 12:00 - 22:00
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Durham Advertiser

20 Jan 2017 / Rachel Connor

Review: Thai River, The Riverwalk, Durham

DRY January, sugar free February, detoxes, diet, diet, diet. It's the familiar New Year lexicon that makes me want to stick forks in my eyes.

Quite frankly, January is cheerless enough without punishing yourself gastronomically as well.

So when I heard there was a brand new restaurant on my doorstep I was only too pleased to brave a cold winter's night in search of a gem.

It's not strictly accurate to say Thai River is brand new. Formerly known as Thai Central, it is still owned by Chusak Phetmalaikul and is the first restaurant to open as part of the development to turn The Gates shopping centre into The Riverwalk.

But having relocated to the other end of the centre to make way for a new Odeon cinema and accommodation at the Milburngate Bridge end, it's in a shiny new space which makes it worth checking out.

At the minute it's not the easiest spot to find. It's tucked right under Framwelgate Bridge, which means that while it has enviable views of Durham Castle and Cathedral, it's quite hard to see if you don't know where it is.

Above the Chinese buffet In Shanghai but below the bridge, it's not immediately obvious which is the best way to get to it and because of the building work the entrance via the shopping centre is blocked off.

Instead, its accessible via the footpath by the river.

The front of the restaurant is made up almost entirely of windows so when the building paraphernalia is cleared it will really make the most of the river and world heritage site views.

The first week in January isn't exactly known as a time when people are rushing to eat out, so it was quiet enough to ensure a window seat even without making a reservation.

Inside, it feels quite slick and modern – if not exactly bursting with character.

Feeling a little undecided, we went for the Thai River platter (£12.95) – including Kai Satay, Toong Thong, Tod Mun Pla, Poh Pia Pak and Koong Nam Peung.

We both judged the Kai Satay (marinated chicken in a peanut sauce) as the star dish. Though neither of us would have picked it off the menu by itself, it really was fantastically moreish with soft, tender meat and a sweet and slightly spicy, flavoursome sauce.

The other items also hit the spot, particularly the toong thong (a prawn and chicken parcel with plum sauce), which was delightfully crisp and koong nam peung (king fried prawn with honey and plum), which had a great texture as well as taste.

The tod mun pla (Thai fishcake) and Poh Pia Pak (vegetable spring roll) were enjoyable as well.

There are enough delicious-sounding main courses on the menu to keep tempting you back all month. There were quite a few I would have happily tucked into but in the end went for one of the chef's recommendations - massaman lamb shank (£14.95).

I'm a sucker for anything stewed or slow cooked and lamb shank is no exception. It's something I absolutely love but usually eat cooked in a traditionally British way with mash and gravy.

This was a refreshing change, stewed in coconut milk, cashews and chilli. The result: a very generous portion of beautifully tender lamb, sweet and aromatic.

It's not the spiciest of curries but there are plenty of interesting flavours going on.

I loved it with my side of coconut rice (without a doubt my favourite way to serve rice) but my dining companion Carlo found the two together a little bit on the sweet side.

Carlo, who had been feeling the effects of a nasty cold, decided to blow out the cobwebs with a bit of heat and opted for the chicken Penang curry (£9.95). The flavours are coconut and lime leaf, with a decent whack of chilli.

It was only a medium strength curry but definitely packed a punch which was plenty for us.

The final bill came to £51.60, which while wasn't the cheapest felt like good value for the amount and quality of food we got.


Thai River, The Riverwalk, Durham, DH1 4SL

Contact: 0191 597 8774

Food served: Thai

Opening hours: Daily. noon-10pm

Ratings (out of ten): Value 8, Service 8, Surroundings 7, Quality 8

Northern Echo

27 Dec 2015 / Mark Tallentire, Reporter (Durham)

Central Thai moving, but staying at The Gates

A POPULAR Thai restaurant is to move to bigger premises as part of a £30m shopping centre redevelopment.

Central Thai, currently in The Gates shopping centre, Durham, is to move to a larger space on the riverside promenade, opening in the spring under the new name Thai River.

The complex is soon to be overhauled, with 35,000sq ft of new restaurants, 23 refurbished retail units, 253 student beds and a six-screen cinema.

Central Thai owner Chusak Phetmalaikul said: “We are very happy that The Gates is being redeveloped as it will bring more customers to this wonderful city.

"We have been working closely with the design team on our new space, which will overlook Framwelgate Bridge and the Castle. This is such an exciting time for our business and the city of Durham."

Nick Berry, a partner at Gates owners Clearbell Capital, said: "Central Thai is a local business that is well respected and loved by the community.

"We are really pleased Mr Phetmalaikul will be staying with The Gates and relocating to new, larger premises in the New Year.

"Following planning consent in October, we are looking forward to starting the wider development in the spring to bring an enhanced retail and leisure offering to Durham."

Durham Advertiser

28 Dec 2016 / Andrew White, Assistant News Editor

First restaurant opens doors at £30m redevelopment of Durham shopping centre

THE first restaurant in a multi-million pound redevelopment of a shopping centre has opened its doors.

Work started earlier this year on a £30m redevelopment of The Gates shopping centre in Durham.

It is being rebranded as The Riverwalk, which will include a six-screen Odeon Cinema, 253-bed student accommodation, more than 20 refurbished shops and a number of restaurants.

Thai River, previously known as Central Thai, has now opened its doors after relocating to new premises next to Framwelgate Bridge.

Owner Chusak Phetmalaikul, who is chairman of Durham’s Asian Society and whose wife owns the nearby Golden Pearl, Oriental supermarket and Thai café, said: "We are thrilled to be launching our restaurant at The Riverwalk, and to be the first restaurant to open at the scheme.

"Having worked closely with the design team to make the moClearbell Capital st of the larger space, we are looking forward to welcoming our regular, and new, customers to Thai River".

The Riverwalk is owned by a fund managed by Clearbell Capital.

Partner Nick Berry said: “The opening of Thai River by Framwelgate Bridge is an exciting time for us as it is not only the first restaurant to open at The Riverwalk, but it also marks the first major milestone for the redevelopment.

"As a well-respected local business, we are certain that Thai River will be a success and continue to offer a first-class service to its customers.

"We look forward to announcing further restaurants opening at The Riverwalk in the coming months."

Thai River is a trading name of Pawarin Limited, registered in England, company number 06810621. Registered office 74 Clifton Avenue, Darlington, Co Durham, DL1 5DX.