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Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Cherry Picks 2011


My Dozen of Cherry Picks

In 2011, I posted more than one hundred and twenty Bangkok's restaurant reviews here, from a selection of around five hundred restaurants when I dined out. Some restaurants offer mouthwatering treats while a very few eateries serve eatable rubbish.

During this festive season, I would like to conclude with a list of a dozen of restaurants that have been reviewed in 2011 and I am delighted to eat there everyday - if possible.

1. Krua Apsorn / Thai / Dusit / 02.241.8528
What: This is a pioneer eatery in Bangkok serving authentic and impeccable old-school Thai cuisine with a bit of Thai-Chinese dishes to offer. Clientele from the likes of royalty, high-ranked civil servants, politicians, foodies to all of us who cherish real (Thai) food; oops, also residents in the Samsen neighborhood when their housewives want to have a day off!
Why : The food is solid. Simple menu and basic dishes; they just make my mouth water. It's hands down one of the best Thai restaurants in Bangkok.
Krua Apsorn

2. Khao-tom Pla Ha-Dao / Thai-CN / Yannawa / 02.675. 2598
What: A rice soup (khao-tom) specialty eatery, with good quality fish (or seafood) khao-tom at reasonable price. The eatery enjoys a mixed customer base; they are from all walks of life, whether they arrive in their Mercedes-Benz sedans or alight from a public bus (also a Mercedes-Benz), a bowl of running hot rice soup is a treat.
Why : The MSG-free scrumptious slow-simmered broth and ultra fresh seafood ingredients made this hawker style dine-in khao-tom joint shines. Very reasonable price too!
Khao-tom Pla Ha-Dao

3. Tab Chang / traditional Thai / Ladprao / 02.530.7002
What: Tab Chang tends to offer retro Thai cuisine with an ancient royal count recipe, and use fine ingredients with traditional charcoal stove cooking techniques in the kitchen, that will make our familiar Thai dishes taste better. According to the owner, food served at Tab Chang is a combination of "sumptuous, fragrance and design".
Why : And it is! Plus stunning ambiance and good service. Only we need to bring a bottle of mosquito repellent before we head there!
Tab Chang

4. Yoo FishBall / Thai-CN / Samphantawong / 089.782.7777
What: Compared to other renowned gourmet joints in Yaowaraj that have a reputation for at least half a century, Yoo, a fish ball specialty cum noodle house, is a newbie indeed. But Yoo has been very busy since the first day the eatery has been opened, due in thanks to the inherited (home-made fish ball) recipe from her grandparents, a century-old fish ball specialty vendor in Yaowaraj.
Why : So it is about a bowl of hearty soup with bouncy fish ball on bed of silky rice noodle (or other noodle choices), served in the comfy air-conditioned canteen.
Yoo FishBall Yaowaraj

5. Boon Restaurant / CN-Cantonese / Silom-Chongnonsi
This is a noisy CN Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) style kitchen offers authentic Cantonese cuisine; thus Boon promises diners a chance to rerun the taste of Hong Kong's dai-pai-dong (open-air cooked-food stall) eating just like in the old days. Eating there we expect real Chinese Cantonese dishes, if we are willing to sacrifice a nice ambiance and decent service.
Why : Not just the food is very Guangzhou but also the ambiance, thanks to Boon's clinetele and its location in a shabby sub-soi off Bangkok's main road in the C.B.D.. Of course people come here solely for the (good) food, but not to greet friends who are frequently being reported in the Thailand Tatler.

6. Hi-Chin Yentafo Noodle Shop / Thai-CN / Samyan
What: A noodle specialty shop with home-made fish balls and rice noodles to offer. Hi-Chin claimed that her fish balls are made from a mix of three kinds of sea and fresh water fish ordered directly from the Mahachai Market (a major fishermen port in the Central region), that yield a texture of depth and naturally sweet taste of the fish in her fish balls.
Why : People come here for the bouncy fish balls and aromatic yentafo soup noodle. Whether the soup noodle comes in a clear broth or yentafo (fermented bean curd paste), they are both a treat by the sidewalk, at a very cheap price.
Hi-Chin Yentafo Noodle Shop

7. Grossi / Italian / Rajprasong intersection / 02.656.0444
What: This restaurant, named after Australia's celebrity chef Guy Grossi, is no stranger in Melbourne. Not only have his restaurants have received numerous gourmet awards in Australia, but also was awarded in Italy. In 2009, InterContinental Hotel Bangkok teamed up with Guy Grossi and brought in Grossi Trattoria to Bangkokians; soon this unpretentious Italian trattoria became Bangkok's wine & dine canteen for the foodies.
Why : Some award-winning restaurants only 'cook' for the members in a (award) judge panel or VIPs but ignore their customers who are everyday supporters. We are lucky that the food at Grossi Trattoria Bangkok is solid; so far I couldn't find a dish that didn't justify the bill I paid for.
Grossi Trattoria and Wine Bar

8. Sai Nam Phueng / Thai-CN / Asok / 02.258.1958
What: Sai Nam Phueng Chicken Wings Noodle Shop, at the beginning of Sukhumvit Soi 20 (Soi Sai Nam Phueng), is a noodle joint renowned for her braised chicken wings and soup noodle in nice broth. Budget 'white collars' with their offices in the vicinity, Sukhumvit's high-so(ciety) residents, our big-wig aunties (and our uncles), and foodies are the regulars there.
Why : The open-air, cheap-eat, small eatery with street-side tables setting may easily lead people to misunderstand that it is just a place for a quick bite; eventually it is a gourmet noodle house for our ultimate palate enjoyment. For me, one bowl is never enough, and not even two; each visit to Sai Nam Phueng I eat (at least) three bowls of her soup noodles, fish balls and of course chicken wings!
Sai Nam Phueng Chicken Wings Noodle Shop

9. Espresso / Int'l buffet / Rajprasong intersection / 02.656.0444
What: Espresso is the coffee shop of the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok; besides a regular a la carte menu just like any hotel's coffee shop does, the Espresso also serves three buffet meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) a day. For their dinner and Sunday brunch buffet, the chefs intend to lure diners into a carnival of a scrumptious feast through the wide selections of quality food.
Why : These days, many hotel buffets have shrunk their selections and quality, but raise the price. For many years, from Le Meridien (formerly) to InterContinental (present),
Espresso is one of a very few restaurants where their buffet has always lived up to expectations and the price is justified as to the bill. For instance, the roast prime rib there is arguably the best in a regular buffet deal (in Bangkok).
Espresso buffet

10. St. Regis Bar / afternoon tea / Rajdamri / 02.207.7777
What: The St. Regis built a hotel in the heart of downtown Bangkok, with a refined atmosphere and gracious service, it made the St. Regis Bangkok the ideal venue to dine and to meet friends. It has one of the best hotel restaurant line-ups in town, among them the St. Regis Bar which serves the world's first Siam Mary, the Thai version of St. Regis' own Bloody Mary, alongside with premium spirits, Champagne, classic cocktails and fine snacks.
Why : Although the St. Regis Bar is renowned for her booze and caviar, the bar with a soaring ceiling, floor-to-ceiling window wall, and a panorama racecourse and Bangkok skyline view that is twenty-three stories above the ground level tempted me to settle for her afternoon tea set in this relaxing ambiance, though afternoon tea (normally) serves at the Drawing Room adjacent to the St. Regis Bar.
St. Regis Bar and the Drawing Room

11. Artur / steakhouse / Chidlom / 02.658.6288
What: With a career background from the Ritz of Paris, Artur
Kluczewski relocated to Bangkok in the 90's; from Ma Maison (Nai Lert Park), New York Steakhouse (J.W. Marriott), Prime (Millennium Hilton) to the Pacific Club, Artur is now a household name (in the high-society community) equal to fine steak. After building a solid reputation in the higher-end culinary scene, two years ago the veteran restaurateur Artur opened his own steakhouse - the Artur.
Why : I still enjoy a piece of excellent steak prepared by Artur and his kitchen team, but for the first time I don't have to pay a five-star hotel dining cost for it. Especially during lunch, the good value lunch set is a steal for gourmet lovers. Even if one doesn't eat (red) meat, Artur has very nice protein selection from the ocean to offer (that is cooked to perfection), so there is no reason not to love Artur and his steakhouse.
Artur Restaurant

12. Ruea Thong / Thai / Thonglo / 02.185.2610
What: This is one of a few very small Thai restaurant that has been honored by time; in the Bangkok east high-so(ciety) Thonglo community, Ruea Thong does not have a fancy facade and interior, but the home-style cuisine served from the kitchen kept this old name standing strong in the area for decades.
Why : While the mid-Sukhumvit section's restaurant scene is dominated by hip restaurants and foreign cuisine, old gun Ruea Thong is the last fort to preserve old-school Thai cuisine in the area. The food is the down-to-earth kind, yet classic, and the price is very affordable for all walks of life.
Ruea Thong Thai Restaurant

Those are my twelve picks from Thaisclub's 2011 posts, and no doubt I will continue to eat there frequently in the Year of the Golden Dragon.


Thailand Club said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 to all of my dear friends and readers!

Nina Tan said...

Happy New Year to TC too! In 2012 I expect more mouth-watering posts in your blog.

in the sea said...

Happy New Year too! Thanks for all the nice slide show and photo and postings!

Stella said...

Hi TC,
Oh I see you in this card.
Thank you for this cute HNY card.
Thank you for this nice blog.
Thank you for the nice slide shows and the nice posts.
Thank you for sharing all the good food, good trips and your good friends with me.

Happy New Year to you, your friends and all the readers here.

Wish you all the best in Year of the Dragon.

Tommy Leung said...

Hahaha the card is so cute, oh yeh I see TC in the card too. Happy New Year TC and his friends!

Paranoid Android said...

Happy New Year, Mr TC! May the coming year be filled with more good food and good health! May Happiness and Good Fortune follow you through the year.

Yai said...

Happy New Year p'TC, when you come back please call me, go to eat good food with you.

Sam said...

Happy New Year TC! Thanks for many good food to share with us.

Fillet-O Fish said...

Happy New Year to TC and your friends, may the year of dragon bring you strength and wealth! And lots of fish dishes in the reviews. Thanks!

Queen William said...

Many good things to you, Happy New Year to you, TC!

Anonymous said...

Thanks TC, this is by far the most interesting and honest blog to review Bangkok's restaurants. Happy New Year and wish more gourmet posts to come in 2012! KK

Thailand Club said...

thanks everyone for ur greetings, i wish u all to hv a really extra super wonderful year of the Golden Dragon and win Super Lotto (Mark 6 too small money)!

in the sea said...

Changed title to Cherry Picks... Look forward to the list. :)

J Chou said...

Oh Cherry Picks again, wanna see the list. Happy New Year TC!

Anonymous said...

Look forward to the cheery pick.

Stella said...

This sounds fun now.
Hope that at least I have been to one out of the twelve.

Anonymous said...

Oh Happy New Year now changed to Cherry Picks. Ok I will follow the other 10 picks also. William.

in the sea said...

Naturally the 2 announced ones should be local Thai restaurants.

Anonymous said...

I have followed the 2010 Cherry Picks and eat at some restaurants, they are all good. Much appreciated this blog. And now I wait for the 2011 version. Thanks TC!

in the sea said...

Note that the list is with some sweat, might and main. Really eating hard as there are so many to filter out. :)

Tommy Leung said...

TC is eating more Thai food now, as I notice that his 1st 4 Cherry Picks are already Thai food.

Stella said...

This is like another Michelin or Zagat Food Guide.

Nina Tan said...

I have been to none of them yet. So TC you have a lot of gourmet tips in your treasure box!

in the sea said...

Maybe there will be another list for foreign cherry picks .... :)

Stella said...

Yes different list for different folks.

BKK is really an unlimited gold mine of good food.

Either cheap and simple food or high end and expensive food is all good in BKK.

Stella said...

So far don't know about these restaurants yet.

in the sea said...

Besides Grossi, I remember the no. 5 & 6 as the selected ones. :)

Stella said...

OK, at least I have been to #9 here.
Yes the buffet at Intercontinental is good for its price.

in the sea said...

Sai Nam Phueng is in! SS, you also went there, beside no. 9.

Stella said...

Oh you are right SEA. I have been to the chicken wing/fish ball noodle place too. This place reminds me of those "Da Pai Don" type of eatery in HK.
So #8,9,10 I have been there.

Tommy Leung said...

Thanks TC now I have 12 restaurants to eat this year.

Stella said...

I have 9 more not tried from here.

Nina Tan said...

Thanks TC to share the 12 best meals in 2011, and we can follow your footprint to eat.