That’s Thai – the unassuming but brilliant Thai cafe attached to a garage near Strangeways

Tyre change with your pad thai, sir?

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 28th June 2024

As you’re wandering around Strangeways with a prison on your right and a load of warehouses on your left, you’d never imagine that you’re in striking distance of some of Manchester’s best Thai food.

But I promise you, you are.

That’s Thai is a tiny little spot tacked onto the side of a garage, with space for only about six diners inside and a couple more on the pavement outside.

Owner Wan Pradit Hewitt has brightened up the cafe, formerly a greasy spoon, with posters of Bangkok street markets and shelves of ornaments, but she’s really the most dazzling thing in here.

The approach to the restaurant through this gritty corner of Manchester (and we don’t mean gritty in the same way that people sometimes describe the Northern Quarter) might be a little intimidating – like are we really going for lunch down this dead-end back street? – but it all melts away once you open the door.


You’re immediately smacked with the smell of punchy Thai food being flipped around in a wok, and given a beaming welcome from Wan.

She knows her regulars well, greeting almost everyone by name and often predicting their order before they’ve uttered more than a ‘hello’.


In the half-hour we sit inside, there’s a steady stream of customers popping in and out for lunch, most of them strolling across from the huge building site next door.

For such a small kitchen (there are only two of them cooking around a few woks, gliding around the small kitchen in a well-rehearsed dance) they manage to whip up a pretty comprehensive menu of Thai food.

On the street food-inspired menu you’ll find 21 mains, from fan favourites like Pad Thai and green curry to authentic takes on khao khai chiao (a Thai omelette) and laab moo (a spicy pork salad), plus starters like tempura prawns (quite possibly the best I’ve ever had) and spring rolls.


The portions are generous and the prices low – you won’t be spending more than a tenner here to get so full you struggle to walk back to work.

The regulars have their favourites, that much is clear, and the favourite is often salt and pepper chips.

Wan is visibly taken aback and delighted when she reels off an order to a familiar face and he tells her ‘actually, I’m going to try something new today’.

The massive redevelopment taking place on this side of Cheetham Hill is both a blessing and a curse.

It’s giving That’s Thai plenty of footfall, but as dilapidated warehouses are pushed aside for new hotels, colleges and residential developments, her tiny restaurant may eventually be forced elsewhere too.


But for now, there is arguably nowhere better in Manchester for your Thai food fix.

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Featured image: The Manc Group