I seldom read food review for this garden restaurant in the suburb of Bangkok. Simply because it is not a 50 Baht taxi ride away or we are not angels?
Suan Thip, literally means Garden of the Angel, set in the midst of an enchanting tropical garden landscape with traditional Thai houses on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi, Bangkok, away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok city scene.
Suan Thip Baan Chao Phraya Thai Cultural House (yes, this is its full name) is divided into 3 parts, the Garden they grow herbs and vegetables, the Main Thai House with air-conditioned section for comfort dining and outdoor terrace seats overlooking the lush garden for scenic dining, and the Sala Thai (Thai Pavilions) dotted around the sprawling tropical garden for al fresco dining by the river for a memorable special occasion. There is an additional option to dine under the shade of the leafy canopy or under the stars on a moonlit night on the lawn. From dawn to dusk, the sound of rustling leaves is punctuated by cheerful bird song, while cicada serenade fills the night. No matter where chosen to sit, we are dining in heaven on earth.
The food is authentic with the feature of many unique signature recipes from their homemade-cuisine collection with herbs and vegetables grown in the garden as well as traditional Thai dishes.
On our revisit to Suan Thip one afternoon, we started with Suan Thip Appetizer (pork satay, spring rolls, minced pork in flour shell, and khao tan) and Pomelo Salad with Prawn, followed with Somtum Thai (green papaya salad) set with Grilled Chicken. The Appetizer was so-so but my friends liked the khao tan (crispy rice cakes with shrimp paste) and pork satay. The pomelo salad with pungent heat from the chili and balanced sour and sweet taste from the pomelo was a nice starter. I prefer restaurants fried the prawn of which promoting better aroma and Suan Thip is one. Somtum Thai is my friend must-eat dish in Thailand, it is a dish of salad with raw papaya slice, small dried shrimp, tomato, roasted peanuts, flavor with dried chilies, bird eyes chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and sugar. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was what I think of eating somtum in Suan Thip.
For something a bit more filling, we had Deep-fried Prawn Cakes, Fried Garlic Prawn, Deep-fried Pla Samlee (king fish), accompanied with Pineapple Fried Rice. The prawn cakes were as good as the first time I sampled them, almost 10 years ago, and became my must-order dish in Suan Thip. The fried prawn in garlic yield a strong and welcoming aromatic garlic scent with the prawn firm (not hard) in texture, naturally sweet in taste, while the deep-fried samlee king fish was tender and delicious with the help of the slightly spicy and sweet mango dip.
I don’t have praise in Thai desserts as they always over emphasize in coconut cream and palm sugar. I am in weight control! My friends did try the Herbal Jelly and Ice Cream. Same quality you can easily find some on the street.
Service was attentive and prompt even waitpersons had to run a distance from the kitchen/main house to our pavilion. Overall my friends were impressed having lunch in Suan Thip especially while the ambience was taken into account. There is no comparison to Suan Thip, at least in Bangkok.
After lunch, we went to the Koh Kret (Kret Island) where we observed the ancient pottery making by the master artisans and experienced craftsmen, visited the ancient temple ruins, a 70-year old Thai traditional house overlooking the river and to a fruit orchard. Khao chae (chilled jasmine-scented rice soup) ethnic Mon people style shouldn’t be missed on the island, try them near the Paramaiyikawas Temple.
From the city (Bangkok) access to Suan Thip is easy, by Expressway Stage II exit on the Chaengwattana Road, heading toward Pak Kret. Suan Thip shall be the one-in-a-lifetime dining experience in Thailand for tourist and an ideal venue for memorable banqueting functions, special events and Thai theme parties.
Our Ratings (1 to 5 the higher the better): Suan Thip has [4.1]
(Ratings are based on Food, Service and Ambience, with Price taken into account in relation to Quality) Food =3.5, Service=4, Ambiance=5, Value=4
Price range for two without drinks (incl. local water) in Thai Baht = BBB
(B=below 200, BB=201-500, BBB=501-1,000, BBBB=1,001-2,000, BBBBB=over 2,000)
Details: Open daily from 11:00 am - 11:00 pm (last order 10:00 pm)
Suan Thip Baan Chao Praya (Restaurant), 17/9 Chaengwattana Pakkred 3 Road, Bangpood, Pakkred, Bangkok; Tel.: 02-5834540, 02-5833748 http://www.suanthip.com