Thai café grateful for community support after Covid opening

Ton Thai Street Food opened for takeaways in February and its owners are ‘really excited’ about offering sit-down dining

TONGWYNLAIS’S newest café and takeaway opened last month, and its owners are looking forward to expanding its services beyond takeaways when they are allowed to.

Ton Thai Steet Food Café, located on Merthyr Road, opened on February 18 but has had to overcome challenges raised by the pandemic.

The café, which offers a daytime menu and an evening menu, is operating on a takeaway-only basis because of Covid restrictions.

The restaurant is managed by Huw and Ploy Yearsley, who live in Tongwynlais. They made the decision to open the café shortly after Ploy’s mother passed away in Thailand, and once a unit on Merthyr Road became available.

Huw, 47, who is originally from Caerphilly, said: “My wife lost her mum last year. Her mum fell ill and, because of the travel restrictions, she was unable to visit during her illness.

“Between my wife needing something to take her mind off her grief, and the fact that we’d had a restaurant or takeaway in the back of our minds for quite a long time, we decided that now was the time to press ahead with it – even though starting a business during Covid has been very difficult.” 

Ton Thai’s food is cooked by chefs who specialise in Thai cuisine.

“Our food is very authentic. We’ve got an exceptionally good chef, Chen. He’s a true Thai chef, that’s all he’s ever done all his life. He learnt his trade in Bangkok before coming to the UK, and he specialises in Bangkok and south Thai food,” said Huw.

“Our sous chef, Kandra, specialises in north Thai cuisine. Our food is very authentic in flavour and it’s true to Thai recipes, rather than being geared up for Western tastes.”

The café’s site required a lot of work before it was ready for use. Ton Thai’s opening was delayed for around two months while Huw and Ploy waited for a site survey and arranged dates for gas and electricity fittings.

“When we took on the unit, the services weren’t there. We had to have a new gas line installed and a new electrical cable installed so we had our own service supply,” said Huw.

“We spent a lot of time in the early stages waiting for paperwork to come through so we could get on with other things.”

When Ton Thai was able to open for takeaways, the café’s owners and staff members were delighted by the response from customers.

Huw said: “The community of Tongwynlais has been marvellous. They’ve exceeded my expectations in how warm, friendly and supportive they’ve been.

“Everyone has been excited about our opening and said that they couldn’t wait to try the food. I’ve been very grateful for the support.”

In April, the Welsh Government will consider re-opening parts of the hospitality industry, and Ton Thai is looking forward to expanding its services.

Huw said: “We’re really excited about offering sit-down dining to our café customers, particularly because we’ve got a nice outdoor seating area.

“We’ve perfected our coffee skills, so we’re really looking forward to serving morning coffees. When the weather breaks in the spring and the summer, I think the outdoor seating will be gratefully received in the village.”

  • Ton Thai is located at 2D Merthyr Road, Tongwynlais. To see the café’s menu, visit its website HERE.