Published on August 12, 2007
It's been a while since we talked about our favourite restaurants. Thanks to the increasing number of restaurants opening up in Bangkok, I've recently discovered a few new places. Here's my latest list of favourites:
l Cyan - Cyan is decorated in the same minimalist contemporary theme as the building that houses it, the Metropolitan Hotel. The food on the menu is mainly Mediterranean-style, and wholly delicious.
l Le Beaulieu - Chef and owner Herve Frerard serves up the best Mediterranean dishes with a French twist. Superb value for money at lunchtime, the place is very popular with locals and expats alike. The quality and quantity in dishes for the highly discounted set lunch is every bit as outstanding as the a la carte menu. Whatever price you are prepared to pay, the food is worth it.
l Enoteca Italiana - A charming small Italian eatery with only eight tables, but a wealth of delicious Italian wines. Nicola Bonazza, the son of the owner, greets his guests in a warm and friendly Italian manner and gives excellent wine recommendations. The specialities of the house are the cold cuts, regional cheeses and delicious pasta dishes.
l Eat Me - This place has been around for a long time, but a recent visit reminded me of the excellent cuisine the restaurant offers. The menu is probably best described as "fusion", as the dishes are a perfect combination of East meets West. The puddings are also fabulous.
l Madison - The Four Seasons is perhaps the only hotel in town where I love to dine at every one of the restaurants. Madison serves a comprehensive selection of top-quality steaks, with accompanying side orders that are equally wonderful. If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss out on the desserts.
l Liu - I just love the ambience at this, the Conrad hotel's Chinese restaurant. It offers a traditional yet elegantly stylish Chinese setting. In my opinion, Liu also has the best lunch-time dim sum, with attentive service. If you're looking for fine Chinese dining in a refined environment, this is the place.
l Siam@Siam - Located on Rama I Road, this is a recent addition to Bangkok's hotel scene. This cleverly designed modern hotel and spa is an ideal place for the younger generation to hang out. There's only one restaurant so far, but it's large and offers a fun, and tasteful dining atmosphere. The menu is international, perfect for trendy, cosmopolitan youngsters.
l Secret Garden - Housed in an old property on South Sathorn Road opposite the entrance to Convent Road, this restaurant serves traditional Thai food as well as an excellent range of western bakery fare. The house speciality is the Crepe Cake, so good it's addictive! If you fancy buying some to take home, order 24 hours ahead.
l Yum & Tum - This casual restaurant is situated on the ground floor of Q House Lumpini, on the corner of South Sathorn and Rama 4 Roads. Extremely popular with office workers, this place specialises in "Yums" (Thai salads) - the variety is huge, and so are the serving portions. On weekdays you'll find yourself waiting for a table at lunchtime unless you arrive before noon.
Last but not least is a down-to-earth, unassuming Chinese eatery. I don't know the name, but it's not difficult to find. If you approach Soi Langsuan from Ploenchit, it's on your right-hand side, just before the Millennium Building. Among the delicious northern-style home cooking, my favourite dish is the stir-fried lamb with young leeks.
Idon't mean to sound like a crotchety old man but when I was younger I was very good about my diet. I ate fruit for breakfast and watched my calories the rest of the day. I had lean protein and as much whole grain as possible. I ate tons of vegetables. I practically didn't drink alcohol.
But then something happened. I lost will power. I began to find that juicy, rare steaks would call to me from across town. There I'd be at the vegan restaurant in Chatuchak and a craving for profiteroles would overcome me. And, in that sure sign of becoming an old fart, I began to be able to tell the difference between pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon.
It was all downhill from there. I hit my late 30s and gained about 25 kilos. I don't recall the last time my waist size began with a two. I consider myself lucky that it doesn't begin with a four.
And so, since it's that time of year we tell readers about our favourite restaurants, I find they seem to be those serving either red meat or spicy Thai food. I can honestly say that I can't remember the last time I had a grilled chicken breast with salad.
l Coffee Beans by Dao, Phloenchit Road
The black pepper shrimp noodles here are to die for. So is the rest of the menu. The best part is the desserts, which beckon to you from a glass case at the door.
l Greyhound Café, Emporium and Central Chidlom
My favourite is the salted fish fried rice. The "sandwich in a bowl" is actually a good tuna salad with plenty of dressing that gets soaked up in some hefty croutons.
l Indus, Sukhumvit Soi 26
Indus has become my favourite Indian eatery in town. Very rarely can I say this about a restaurant: everything on the menu is good.
l Le Dalat Indochine, Sukhumvit Soi 23
The spring rolls, both fresh and fried, are delicious and I really like the pho, soupy noodles that come in a strong broth.
l Nara, Erawan Bangkok
Simply the best noodles for lunch in a comfortable setting. Have the Sukhothai noodles. You won't regret it.
l New York Steakhouse, JW Marriott
I know that there are a lot of copycat steakhouses popping up but this is the first in Bangkok that really made hunks of red meat popular. Book at least three days in advance.
l Prime, Millenium Hilton Bangkok
I consider this the strongest competition to the New York Steakhouse. I love the view and actually like the mixed seafood appetiser here better than anywhere else.
l Jim Thompson Restaurants
I go most often to the branch on Saladaeng, but they all share the same menu. Most of it is innovative Thai food that tastes right.
l Sui Kin, Phloenchit Rd
They do home-made tofu here. That should lure most Asians.
l Taling Pling, 60 Pan Road, Silom
Once again, this is the best Thai restaurant around. The food is actually not that spicy. But the combination of flavours is unbeatable. Whenever I want to take some visiting friends out to show them Thai food, I come here.