Cambodian Lemongrass Restaurant Camden Town London
Welcome to Lemongrass restaurant.
Thomas Tan and Marilynn set up Lemongrass in 1988 in Camden, serving South East Asian food, with the emphasis on Cambodian cuisine. Thomas’s native country is Cambodia, where he was born and brought up in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia map
In the 1970’s, Cambodian cuisine was almost wiped out and forgotten during the horrors and atrocities of the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia, where tragically more than two million people died, including thousands of traditional chefs; sadly taking many Khmer culinary secrets to their graves. Thomas, however, has introduced his own style of Contemporary Cambodian dishes he remembers eating with his family, based on pre Khmer Rouge cuisine. Thomas is the grandson of Mr Tan Pa, who refused to be the Japanese puppet prime minister of Cambodia during the Japanese occupation of Cambodia in World War II. His entire family was imprisoned and due to be shot. Fortunately, on the day of execution, Japan surrendered. After the war Mr Tan Pa became the close confident to King Norodom Suramarit and served under Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The Tan Pa family built and donated to hospitals, schools and temples in many parts of Cambodia.
From the outset the restaurant was recognised as, ‘A Unique Gem of a Place to Eat’ by the local people. In those early years, Lemongrass was open for lunch, as well as for evening meals, and word quickly spread further afield via word of mouth and favourable newspaper reviews. Among the food critics who visited and heartily ate there, were, Fay Maschler from the Evening Standard and Ken Livingstone the former London Mayor.

Cambodian Lemongrass Restaurant Camden London
It is hoped that you will decide to eat at Lemongrass. Each dish will be brought to you straight from the wok; nothing is pre-cooked, so you can enjoy the delicious food at its best. Thomas is still the only chef, who cooks in the little kitchen space at the rear of the restaurant. What he achieves is quite remarkable, especially when everyone arrives at the same time. There will be a wait for your food at these busy times, and patience and understanding is appreciated. He cannot cook any faster; even balancing two woks simultaneously; sometimes even three! However, good food is worth waiting for, and the food at Lemongrass is truly delicious.
Whilst he cannot bring you fresh fish from the Mekong River, however, with the fresh ingredients sourced in this country and with the emphasis on simplicity and freshness, contrasting flavours and textures – a meal at Lemongrass will be an exciting culinary experience for you and your guests.
Lemongrass Restaurant Party Bookings
Lemongrass is the ideal place for your office parties, birthday celebrations and reunions. We can also prepare and cook a wonderful selection of buffet food for your office party, or to entertain at home. Just leave it all to us. We can seat up to 24 people. The chef has put together a choice of affordable Set Feasts for you to choose from, and we ask that you speak to him prior to your dinner to confirm your booking, choice of set menu, and pay your deposit. Whatever the occasion, we will do our best to make your celebration a success and will hang appropriate banners and balloons to mark the occasion.

Valentines Evening at Lemongrass RestaurantLemongrass Party take out take awayParty celebration at Lemongrass Restaurant

Customers have held many happy celebrations parties here.
History of Lemongrass Restaurant
In 1992, Thomas and Marilynn had a son, Jobi. Regular customers say they can remember him as a small boy; sitting in the restaurant doing his homework. He started taking an interest in cooking as a teenager and would observe the cooking skills of his father; and under his watchful eye, was soon mastering the technique of cooking with the Chinese wok. Much to his father’s delight, his son learnt very quickly. Thomas also has a lovely daughter, Chelsie

Thomas Tan and his son JobiThomas teaches Jobi to cookThomas, Marilynn and their son Jobi


In December 1998, winning the award for BEST BUDGET RESTAURANT, organized by THE HAM & HIGH, was, by far the most exciting event for us, during our early years, and we were touched that so many of our customers nominated us. We hoped the judges would enjoy our cuisine when they visited, and the empty dishes and smiles of satisfaction from all our customers, told us they would. Mr Lewin hosted the award ceremony and when he announced Lemongrass as the winner of our category, we were so proud and thrilled.

Cigarettes are of the menu

March 1998, on National No Smoking Day, a daring decision was made to make Lemongrass a NON SMOKING RESTAURANT. This caused disapproval among the regular smoking customers. Although Thomas and Marilynn were extremely sad about this, they felt it it was the only way forward, and that the health issues associated with smoking in public places, were a major concern. It soon became a welcome ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ and it was not long before many new customers were eager to eat there, stating that it was a wonderful treat to eat in a fresh smokeless environment. Unbelievably it was 9 long years for smoking in public places to be banned throughout the country in 2007.
Media coverage

Ham and High Restaurant AwardCambodia NW1 an alternative EastHampstead by way of Africa and Asia
Cigarettes are off the menuCigarettes free, banning smokingMixing Thai, Cambodian and Malay
Customer Reviews

Ken Livingstone review of Lemongrass Restaurant
There are, lots of good places to eat, but very few of them stand out as something special. I was recently taken to an interesting place between Camden Town and Kentish Town, which just proves to me that Camden’s real treasures are quirky and almost hidden from view. Lemongrass (243 Royal College Street) is just around the corner from Camden Road over ground station. Eating guides refer to it as ‘Oriental’ and I have it on good authority that it was established by an Anglo-Cambodian team, and should really be described as South-East Asian cuisine. I’m told it can get packed at weekends, I’m not surprised, given that the dining area is tiny, with tables for no more than 15 or 20 people. The real strong point of Lemongrass is food of amazing quality at very low prices, and the simple, welcoming atmosphere. All the dishes used a hint of sweetness to offset the other ingredients. My King Prawn Khmer was a juicy combination of prawns with a tasty peanut sauce....  Click on the Evening Standard newspaper cutting for full review.

Ken Livingstone   1st of May 1998
Review by MATTHEW LEWIN Published: 7 April, 2011

Matthew Lewin review of Lemongrass Restaurant
Lemongrass is one of the best restaurants on the patch, and an almost compulsory destination for anyone who appreciates uniquely clever food – at more than reasonable prices. It’s a small restaurant, entirely without pretensions, with a single Cambodian chef working his heart out in a tiny kitchen too small to produce a dinner for four let alone a whole bunch of tables. But he makes miracles happen in there, and everything comes to the table hot off the wok, stunningly fresh, and wonderfully unusual and appetising. If you are unsure about this sort of cuisine, go for one of the set feasts (for two) that will take you through much that is of interest on the menu. Prices are very reasonable. I started, for example, with a bowl of Cambodian prawn soup –– a multi-layered soup with remarkable depth of flavour, featuring tomato, chunks of pineapple and wonderfully fresh prawns that coruscated in the mouth. My chief culinary adviser liked the sound of garlic lemon mushrooms, and they were indeed superb –– the mushrooms having been lightly fried with an incredible garlic lemon sauce and then sprinkled with coarse ground pepper. Mouth-watering stuff....
Click on the image to read the full review on Camden Review website.
"When off shift, I especially enjoy Lemongrass, which is a Cambodian restaurant (said to be the only one in the U.K.) in Camden. The kitchen there...( review by London’s Finest Cabbies )
Click to read the full review on Refinery29 website.

OMG. I was taken to this restaurant by a friend who used to work there. She raved about the amazing food. I was absolutely delighted when our chosen starter of Crispy Duck arrived at the table - the presentation was stunning and I just had to take a pic! Note the pancakes were beautifully rolled & placed on the side of the presentation platter. I had never seen such a lovely display as this before in any other restaurant.The duck was moist & tender and oh so crispy. My friend said I had to try the Loc Luc steak & the asparagus, & so I did. The steak pieces were unbelievably tender & cooked in an extremely delicious sauce.The asparagus was truly wonderful - crunchy.... “Highly recommended! Would definitely go there again." ( 25 May 2014 )
Click to read the full review on Trip Advisor website.

My partner and I first ordered the special Treats B, as a starter, and we were delighted when a large platter arrived at our table with an assortment of the little 'Treats' - Little mini Somoza's & spring rolls, superb button garlic mushrooms & pieces of leek cake - all delicious and with yummy dips. For our main, I ordered the Loc Luk steak which was recommend as a 'must' to taste and was tender and delicious.The assorted fresh vegetables which I chose were also amazing. My friend chose Spring Chilli Chicken, which he said was wonderful. What also is amazing that there is just one Cambodian chef at the back of the restaurant....
Click to read the full review on Urban Spoon website.

Contact & Location

Lemongrass Restaurant

243 Royal College Street, Camden, London, NW1 9LT

If you would like to make a reservation, book your party, or to just order a delicious take away,

please contact us on: 0207 284 1116

Opening Hours: Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat from 17:30 till 23:00


Location and Directions
Indonesian, Indian, Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Asian, Oriental, Exotic, Cambodian food, cooking, cuisine, restaurant, parties and take away. Dining Fresh friendly reasonably priced exotic unusual different pan asian beef chicken black bean dinner lunch breakfast cheap restaurant cheap drink kebab grill chips fried fish burger sandwich wine beer