GREG BURNS eats at Blue Orchid Thai restaurant and bar,in Amersham Telephone: 01494 432 245

IF YOU are a lover of Thai food like me, the Blue Orchid in Amersham is definitely worth avisit. This sophisticated restaurant and bar has a relaxed and friendly ambience and you can almost imagine you are in the land of a thousand temples when you enter the restaurant with its exotic palm trees, orchids, ornate wood carvings and waitresses in colourful Thai silk tunics.

The menu is impressive, with a wide selection of specialities covering starters, soups, grilled dishes, chef's signature dishes, curries, seafood, stir-fried dishes, rice and noodles.

If you are finding it hard to make a choice, there is also a number of set menus offering a selection of courses to make it easier.

Opened in 2002 by proprietor Amir Khan, this popular 62-seat restaurant, with branches in Berkhampstead and Milton Keynes, provides an authentic selection of high-quality Thai cuisine at reasonable prices, which explains its popularity. It also has a takeaway service, which is equally busy.

Having decided to try it out, I went there for Sunday lunch with my wife and two sons. With so many enticing dishes on offer, it really is difficult to decide what to choose. However, the friendly and attentive staff are on hand to guide you through the dishes, which makes the experience more enjoyable.

Having made our selection, we started with satay chicken (£5.50), soft shell crab (£6.50) and ped ron (aromatic shredded duck served with pancakes, salad and Thai-style hoi sin sauce, £6.95).

Our main courses included a selection of dishes, such as ped peaw wan (crispy duck with vegetables in Thai-style sweet and sour sauce, £9.50), kao phad sup pra-rod (special fried rice with tiger prawns and chicken, tossed with pineapple and cashew nuts, £6.95), hoy malang phu phad hola-pha (stir-fried half-shell green mussels with chillies and sweet basil leaves, £10.50) and peaw wan (lightly fried chicken, stir-fried with vegetables and Thai style sweet and sour sauce, £7.95).

Each dish was absolutely delicious and imaginatively presented.

Desserts are available. However, after such an amazing feast, we didn't have the room and just had coffee.

The restaurant has won much praise from food critics, including a highly coveted restaurant award by the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

Judging by the freshness, taste and quality of its food, plus the high standard of service and friendly staff, it is easy to see why.

It is definitely one of the best Thai restaurants I have come across and is highly recommended.