THERE’S something comforting about the warm heat of Thai food on a bitterly cold, wet winters night after a long week at work.

And that was precisely what we were looking forward to when we wound up at The Monkey and the Dog restaurant at 85, Clarence Street, York, on a damp Friday in February.

This comfortable and cosy establishment sits snuggly on the main road opposite the busy Townend Street entrance to The Groves and, since it opened last year, we’ve been keen to try it out.

In a previous life the building has had several incarnations, once as a tattoo parlour and latterly as Cafe Amsterdam.

Not that you’d know that now when you step inside.

The only traces of ink work nowadays is some stencil art work on the wall and all else is clean and fresh whitewash punctuated by groups of photographs and lit by soft LEDs and candlelight.

We were ravenous and set to work on the menu which has a plethora of options to tempt the tastebuds.

As we were the first diners to be seated that evening we had the pick of seats and chose to sit near the window.

We were soon joined by fellow diners and as the evening went on the place busied up - and as the place is only small you are treated to the sights, sounds and smells of the cooking food which is sure to whet your appetite.

Looking firstly at the ‘nibbles’ there were plenty of the traditional favourites on there - duck rolls, vegetable tempura, steamed dumplings, prawn toast and pork ribs all sounded tempting, but in the end I opted for the soft shell crab (£6.90) which I’d not had before.

I’ll say at this point that it was the most expensive starter with prices beginning at £5.20.

When it arrived the crab came in a delicious light batter which added to the subtle taste of the meat which had a satisfying crunch.

The portion size was about right and the crab was accompanied by a fresh salad garnish complete with a handful of crisp edamame beans.

My other half ordered the sweetcorn cakes to start with (£5.20).

What arrived was a very substantial starter of lightly spiced sweetcorn fritters with a tangy zing and a dab of dipping sauce that accompanied them very well.

When it came to mains I went with the sea bass rad prik (£12.90) from the chef’s specials.

It came with a HH double hot warning as the sweet and sour sauce it was served in packed a bit of a kick.

What arrived at the table was two fillets of lightly fried fish smothered in tangy sauce, loaded with chunky vegetables and it tasted delicious.

The bass was cooked to perfection and the sauce, although hot, had an intense warming heat rather than a powerful punch.

Jordan opted for a a red panage from the curry menu (£7.50) which was served with generous chunks of tofu, courgette, peppers and aubergine all swimming in a red curry sweetened with coconut milk and spiced with fresh chillies.

It had an amount of heat that suited him very well, as he likes his curry more on the mild side. The sauce added flavour to the sticky rice he ordered as an accompaniment, and also to the egg fried rice that I’d gone for (both £2.50), some of which had found its way on to Jordan’s plate somehow!

For afters we decided to share some light fruit - rambutan and pineapple to be precise (£3.50).

Once we’d Googled the former and found that it its a tropical fruit and tastes a lot like lychees.

We could have gone for deep fried ice-cream, lychee and syrup or pineapple fritter and ice-cream.

If I’m honest neither of us succumbed whole-heartedly to the rambutan which has a curious texture and an almost indiscernible flavour.

We washed our meal down with Singha beer, which was cool and refreshing.

Throughout, the staff were very welcoming and service was excellent.

It was nice to note that while we were there a diner came in with a small well-behaved dog which she’d been allowed to bring in by prior arrangement.

If you’re coming in from out of town there’s bus stops on Clarence Street and nearby Haxby and Wigginton Roads and the Union Terrace car park is just along the way.

Overall our food was delicious but if we had any negatives it would be that there was an awful lot of it and we needed the walk home afterwards to help recover.

My fish and the curry could have easily fed two people. Our advice - skip lunch and arrive hungry.

We’d happily visit this place again, and next time we’d take friends. The total bill came to £53.80 including £12.80 for four beers.

On our way out we picked up a take-away menu as - in other news - they also deliver.

The Monkey and the Dog Eat Thai

Phone 01904 466754


Food: Delicious 4/5

Ambience: Cosy 4/5

Service: Friendly 4/5

Value: Great 5/5

All reviews are independent, conducted anonymously and paid for by The Press