Thai Terminal 1 review: I sampled the authentic cuisine at this hidden gem I never knew existed

When having a gander for somewhere to eat on Tripadvisor, an unfamiliar name popped up – and it happened to be in the number one spot.

And the reviews for Thai Terminal 1 were outstanding. “Amazing”, “delicious”, and “beyond immense” were just some of the rave reviews for a spot that a few minutes beforehand I’d never heard of, so of course I had to go.

Located, as you might get the hint from its name, just next to Teesside Airport, it is a fairly unassuming restaurant from the outside. But believe me, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Inside, the restaurant is welcoming and decked out nicely, and we were promptly greeted by a friendly face who showed us to our table and asked us if we would like to start with some prawn crackers (£3.50)– of course, we couldn’t say no.

After ordering our drinks (Singha beer at £3.80 and a sparkling water at £1.85) and nibbling on the crackers, which came with sweet chilli sauce and a spicier dip, the owner came over to talk us through some specials – as well as revealing his wife was at the helm in the kitchen, and that everything was cooked fresh to order.

Food review: Thai Terminal 1: Thai prawn crackers and dips
Food review: Thai Terminal 1: Thai prawn crackers and dips -Credit:Teesside Live

After perusing the menu for a further few minutes, we made our decisions. Up first for me was Tom Yum soup with vegetables (£5.50) – a Thai favourite for me, and it was delicious. It was perhaps the best one I’d ever had, actually. The vegetables were crunchy, and there was one good kick with the soup, which was nicely balanced and aromatic. My other half went for one of the specials – crispy coconut chicken (£6.95). He also enjoyed, although admitted it was a little on the sweet side for him. But that is a personal preference, rather than it being a criticism of the dish itself.

As for the mains, I went for a tofu stir fry called Pad Prik Pao (£11.95) which was recommended by the owner. Being a bit of a spice freak, I opted to up it to the “Thai hot” level. It was spicy, but not overly so, and also had a sweet tang to it. The tofu itself was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and the accompanying vegetables were once again crisp.

The other half went for chicken red curry (£13.95) and it is fair to say he was impressed. He said the flavours of the curry sauce were delicious and that the chicken was of a good quality. As for the sides, we both shared jasmine rice (included in the cost of the main dish) and some garlic noodles (£2 upgrade). Both were delicious.

After a 10 minute breather, we were tempted into sharing a mango sticky rice dessert special (£6.50). It was something neither of us had ever had, and whilst unusual, it was very tasty. Paired with coconut sauce and coconut ice cream, it was a nice end to an extremely good experience.

Food review: Thai Terminal 1: Mango sticky rice
Food review: Thai Terminal 1: Mango sticky rice -Credit:Teesside Live

At the end of the meal, the owner once again came up to us to ask how we had enjoyed the experience. He also revealed that he and his wife were opening up a new spot in Darlington town centre, and that the future for the spot at the airport was in doubt – something of a shame seeing as though we have only just discovered this gem. But hopefully, this new place will be just as good, and for Thai food that good, it will definitely be worth making the trip.

The total cost for our meal for two, including several drinks each, was £79.64. This included a 10% tip.