Southampton is not a place to visit on a Monday night if you want to find restaurants willing to welcome you after 8pm. Illustrating backward Britain, my friend and I trailed round this town to venue after venue to be told: “We’re closing now” and “No service at this hour.” One would have thought, especially during Cowes Week, a busy port would have dining options for weary travelers, but this was simply not the case.
After an hour searching, we chanced on Kuti’s, a Thai restaurant situated in the former gatehouse to the city’s once grand pier. Opened in 1833 by Princess Victoria, The Royal Pier enjoyed its heyday in the 19th century before gradual decline eventually resulted in it becoming derelict in the late 20th century.
Kuti's Royal Thai Pier restaurant (sadly not bathed in purple light)
Though the majority of the pier is either fire damaged or collapsed, local “curry king” visionary Kuti Miah has heralded the way for redevelopment of the area by restoring this impressive gatehouse to form his company’s fifth restaurant site in the area.
At 9.30pm having just encountered the chippy manager of Ennio’s Italian, we were on the verge of giving up. Crossing the road we decided against a scruffy looking pizza joint and decided on a last ditch attempt by heading towards a large white building glistening in purple light. Here we were not surprised to find a virtually empty restaurant but were cheered by a most hearty welcome.
Andreas Widegren takes in The Vision in Purple that is Kuti's Royal Thai Pier
Uniformly decorated in purple throughout, this is a restaurant whose owner plainly either loves purple or got a huge discount for buying everything in various shades of this colour that ranges between red and blue. Taupe loving Kelly Hoppen would have a seizure at the sight. The walls are purple, the carpets are purple, the chairs are purple and the tablecloths are purple. If purple plants could have been found, no doubt they’d have been purchased.
Styling aside, the à la carte menu offered great variety and with a £15 eat-as-much-as-you-want buffet there was plenty to choose from. The Ped PrIew Wan deep-fried duck was tender and for £10.45 represented great value for money. My friend’s Neau Phad Gratium stir-fried beef at £9.50 also looked good. Though we’d have eaten a horse after our long journey from London, the high standard of food and excellent service at Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier was on a par with anything similar I’ve tried in Central London.
If you have occasion to be in Southampton, save yourself the bother of walking the streets and go straight to Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier. Just don’t dress in purple.
Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier, Gate House, Royal Pier, Town Quay, Southampton, SO14 2AQ. Telephone: +44 (0) 23 8033 9211. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.kutisroyalthaipier.co.uk
For a video tour see http://www.kutisroyalthaipier.co.uk/video.htm