Basing your restaurant around one ingredient isn't as crazy as it sounds -- after all, gristle's done just fine for the Angus Steak House, and it will continue to do so as long as there are Americans. Going a far more appealing route: Suda, officially opening tomorrow in Covent Garden.
This two-floor "Siamese rice bar" is built entirely around the Asian staple they wistfully refer to as "the bread of Thailand", from walls decked floor-to-ceiling with artist renderings of rice sacks, to wooden tables centered by actual, living grass surrounded by tiny wooden cows & donkeys (if these too appear to be living, lay off that grass). The regional, starch-assisted dishes begin with roasted duck stir-fried w/ chilli & basil, prawn tempura in sweet tamarind, a sizzling sea bass w/ red curry, and mixed seafood (snapper, prawns, squid, etc.) sautéed w/ chilli & wild ginger, though acting like an animal is no way to prove you have a soul. Meanwhile, rice-noodleyness accompanies papaya pad Thais, wok-fried chicken in oyster sauce, beef in its own broth, and spicy seafood w/ holy basil, a very exotic transubstantiation for Cardinal Hume!
There's also a full bar for 'tails like Blue Dragon Punch (vodka, dragon fruit, blueberries, Champagne, and a blue curacao drop); the Bloody-esque Wake Up Call (vodka/ horseradish/ holy basil/ chillies/ tomato & mango juices/ balsamic); and, mixing Thai rum, Thai tea, lemon, sugar, and egg white, the Bangkok Sour -- or the taste left in American tourists' mouths when they found out Bangkok was Dangerous.