When you think of eating in Bangkok you probably don't think of Indian restaurants, but they for sure are some of the cities' best eateries.Â In Little India we often have eaten at a small spot called Standard located down a grungy alleyway, but well worth finding this family run favourite spot.
Tantalize your senses with the tastes, smells and sights of PahuratNuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul
Home to the Thai-Indian community, Pahurat is one of those rare districts in Bangkok that can give lovals culture shock. The narrow lanes of the Pahurat market labyrinth bustle with shoppers looking for a bargain, and upon entering the market, wafts of spices transport you to India, as sari-clad vendors tempt passers-by with vivid silk garments and handcrafted accessories. Youâll overhear conversations in Hindi as well, but to make the experience complete, you must sample the food on display here. How can you resist the delightful scents of pungent curries, the freshly-made naan and sugary bite-size sweets?
Tucked away in an unassuming alley opposite the ATM Department Store, Royal Indiaâs faux brick walls, heavy curtains and cramped tables are hardly appealing. But the delicious Northern Indian food more than makes up for the setting. The seven-table eatery is recommended by Lonely Planet and The Asian Wall Street Journal, so itâs a favorite among a mix of Indian regulars and a steady stream of Thais and tourists. Also, try its Rambutri branch (02-282-6688).
Eat this: For less than B500, two people can stuff themselves with fabulous Northern Indian specialties.Chicken makhani (B80), boneless tender chunks simmered in taste-bud-teasing spicy red curry, is a luscious treat. Topped with deliciously dense sauce, mutton vindaloo (B105) stands out with robust flavors and tender meat. Freshly-made garlic naan (B40) and paneer naan (stuffed with cottage cheese, B45) are just as addictive. For hesitant diners, opt for set menus (B170 for vegetarian, B210 for non-vegetarian).
â 392/1 Chakraphet Rd., 02-221-6565. Open daily 10am-10pm.
This worn out shophouse is a teatime hangout for local Indian regulars. Two displays, in the front, showcase homemade Indian sweets while the inside houses six tables with almost zero dÃ©cor. Old ceiling fans make funny noises, while a TV blares out Thai soap operas. Interestingly, the grandma owner and her family can hardly understand Thai, except for the friendly and talkative grandson.
Eat this: As the name suggests, the cafÃ© offers standard Indian sweets (B10/piece) from gulab jamun (brownish round dough soaked in a flavored sugar syrup) to jalebi (a deep-fried, syrup-soaked pretzel). Be warned, though: a little bite of any Indian sweet can send your blood sugar spiraling, so you should order a hot tea to offset your treats. Fresh cow milk is also available.â 95/47 Chakraphet Rd., Pahurat Market, 02-623-8620, 086-708-1375.
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Of course ne can't pass by some of the hot-spots of various cuisines including Thai, Korean, Japanese, and even a Texas steak house.Â
Tucked away inside the concrete jungle of Surawongse, this petite oasis is a bit tricky to find. But donât judge a book by its cover or a restaurant by its location. Be ready to be dazzled by RuenUraiâs serenitywhen you enter its lush green garden, very Thaiâas suggested by the name.
Built during the reign of Rama V, this 100-year old, two-story house has a homey and nostalgic feel. The ground floor is a more postmodern dining room, with dark furniture and antiques. But if you prefer a little more privacy, head upstairs. (Youâll be given a pair of golden silk slippers for your effort.)
The food here really does adhere to Thai culinary principles: each dish must be pleasant to both taste buds and eyes. We recommend ghai yaang dta krai sauce makham (B280), chicken marinated with lemongrass and herbs then grilled to perfection.
It bursts with flavors: sweet, sour, spicy, and feels crispy yet juicy. Salmon satay (B180) and bheek ghai RuenUrai (B120), boneless chicken wings, are not to be missed. If you are not up to stuffingyourself, opt for appetizers like tung thong (B120) or kratong thong (B90), which come in generous portions.
If youâre thirsty, owner Khun Navamintr recommends pairing your Thai food with an Alsatian Hugel GewÃ¼rztraminer (B2600). No meal is complete without a good dessert. We recommend the bua loy RuenUrai (B80).
RuenUrai at Rose Hotel, 118 Surawongse Rd., 02-266-8268-72, www.rosehotelbkk.com. Open noon-11pm.
Jazz music and Indian food may not be a common match, but Jazz Mahal proves that the two can be heavenly together. Thawatchai âKongâ Champhio, the owner of Jazz Mahal explains, âEverything in the world can be mixed and matched. Jazz is a distinctive music and India is a country with a unique culinary culture. The mix makes a pleasant and unusual alternative to whatâs out there.â
Set in a two-story building, Jazz Mahal dazzles visitors with its sophisticated dÃ©cor. Sofas, curtains and chandeliers deliver a sense of multicolored exoticism. You can even dine outside by a lovely pond, but the air-con dining room with its high ceilings is just as nice.
The restaurant is not situated where most people flock for Indian chow (Sukhumvit). So Jazz Mahal serves Indian dishes that Thais are familiar with: samosas, chicken or lamb served crisp and stuffed with potatoes and peas or ground with spices (B80-160), and the inevitable tandoori (with chicken, prawn or lamb, B300-380).
The recipes hail from Delhi and the northern part of India, and Kong guarantees that the food is as authentic as can be, with no compromising on the spices. Still, for less adventurous diners, thereâs a small offering of Thai dishes.
The Trio jazz band plays live 9-11pm, Thu-Sun. If you prefer to do the singing, head to the private karaoke room that seats 12.
Jazz Mahal. 60/11 Wipawadee Soi 42, 02-558-0050. Open daily 6pm-1am.
Red Red hot dishesBrooke Pearson
Without looking at the menu, you might not know that Red even serves Indian food. Contagiously enthusiastic 29-year-old chef, Gagan Anand, is here to remind us that India has given rise to a new generation interested in combining old-world traditions with a modern sexy flair. Gone are the old-style northern Indian eateries with faded Taj Mahal postersâprinciples of Feng Shui governed design decisions in the three dining areas, while Indian house music wafts through the garden.
Linger here with friends and sip one of Redâs 16 creative cocktailsâplus a daily âRed Zone Drinkâ that changes with the whim of the bartender but always promises to be red. Strawberry, raspberry and blueberry lassis (B90) served in cool Thai terra cotta mugs are further evidence of Redâs efforts to break the mold.
Hot and spicy home-style potatoes (masala dusted French fries) are served as soon as you sit down, along with the standard trifecta of Indian chutneysâbye bye pappadams! Donât miss the melt-in-your-mouth adraki boti lamb kebabs (B450), marinated and slowly braised for over six hours and served on a hot slate that keeps things warm. Anandâs innovative hybrids are also a hit. Try the pasta in makhani and mutton kebab sauce (B350) and the gucchi aur khumb risotto (B350) that combines morels and three other mushrooms with creamy Arborio rice. Fish paturi, a staple at any Bengali wedding, substitutes salmon for traditional super-boney Bengali varieties (B600).
This is not fusion: itâs dressing your grandmother up in a miniskirt, heels, and a billowy Pucci shirt. Red is for anyone who appreciates well thought out cuisine and is interested in tryingsomething newâeven if you think youâve tried it all.Red. 124 Thonglor Soi 9, 02-259-7590. Open daily 11:30-2:30pm, 6pm-12am.
Egs Nuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul
Set on the new Balcony on 3rd of CentralWorld, EGS (pronounced e-g-s) appeals to the five senses.
Sight: The hanging lamps and colorful paintings spruce up the otherwise typical mall restaurant, while the floor-to-ceiling glass partition makes EGS a good place for people-watching. Also pleasing to the eyes is the colorful foodâeach dish is whipped up with various ingredients of five different colors. âItâs good to add a variety of bright ingredients to your meal because each has different beneficial effects to your health,â explains owner Kino Byun Sang Yub. âRed food helps strengthen memory function, lower cancer risks and cleans blood. Yellow ingredients give a boost to our bodyâs immune system, while green items battle fatigue and stress. White food is to build up body resistance, and black ingredients improve the bodyâs basic functions.â
Hearing: Pop Korean soundtrack fills the air. On the TV screen are music videos of such Korean eye candies as boy band Dong Bang Shin Ki and pop princess Boa.
Smell: The menu is a mix of authentic Korean recipes and fusion specialties. EGSâ Sizzle Sizzle Beef Bibimbup (B190) is fragrant with hot Korean chili paste and spices, while Japanese-inspired rice omelet topped with spicy and sweet shrimps (B140) is subtly aromatic.
Touch: Keep your hands off the brass bowl used to serve the bibimbap. Itâs hot! While it might hurt your hands, the brassware helps maintain the temperature of the food at the preferable level. EGS also believes the brass bowl helps get rid of the bacteria that may cause food poisoning.
Taste: Staying true to its roots, EGS makes sure that the authentic recipes like the sizzling Korean-style pork that should be fiery are truly fiery. Those who prefer something milder to the palette should try its fusion menus like Japanese bibimbap (B150). The must-have is Best of Best Bibimbap (B200), which is rice topped with sautÃ©ed greens, seafood, beef, egg slices and chili paste.Initials for Everyday Great Smile, EGSâ wait staff serves up a big broad one along with the food. âHopefully, the customers will leave here with a smile, too,â beams the Korean owner.
Kinnaree Gourmet Thai Nuttaporn Srisirirungsimakul
Kinnaree is a mythical half-bird-half-woman, residing in Himmaphan Forest. But now diners can think of an entirely different sort of Kinnaree tucked in Sukhumvit Soi 8 and serving up a delightful combination of authentic Thai flavors with western presentation. Set in a spacious two-storey house, Kinnaree Gourmet Thai evokes the mystical Anodard Pond with its cozy contemporary Thai dÃ©cor and lotus plates and napkin rings. The outdoor bar is enveloped in a small garden, enhanced at night by hundreds of fairy lights. The restaurant is planning to open an al fresco BBQ area on the terrace and a full-scale bar on the second floor by the end of this year. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s hard not to be dubious about upscale Thai restaurants since they usually trim down the flavors for tourists and farang diners, who they believe canÃ¢â¬â¢t take spicy food. But Kinnaree is breaking the mold. Owner Wanasnan Kanokpattanangkul, though opting for western presentation, is intent on never compromising on authentic Thai tastes. To kick off the meal, the highly recommended starters are mee krob (crispy noodles in sweet and sour tamarind sauce, B100) and yam som o (spicy pomelo salad, B120), which blends the refreshing tang of lime with the sweetness of coconut milk. Nua pun saparot (grilled marinated beef strips wrapped on pinapple sticks, B120) is another must-try starter, thanks to its zesty sauce and tender meat. Yellow curry with shrimp (B350) makes an impressive entrance to the table with big, juicy prawns evenly spaced on a pond of yellow curry. On the sweet side, there are two signature desserts, Kinnaree custard apple ice cream (B90/scoop) and Kinnaree fresh young coconut cake (B90). Dinner is usually bustling with foreign diners who frequent the restaurant for a nice lingering dinner and after work drinks. Book the table in the garden if you bring a date.Kinnaree Gourmet Thai. 43 Sukhumvit Soi 8, 02-256-0328. Open daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-midnight. MC, V.
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