There is something about the Lanna style which I find
very attractive. It may be the extensive use of wood in the buildings, or
the decorative features, but for me the design recaptures the “lost”
Kingdom of Lan Na, where King Mengrai and his army reigned supreme. But
then, of course, I am an incurable romantic!
To cater for this unbridled romanticism we went to the
(currently being developed) Dhara Dhevi Resort and Spa to have lunch at
their Le Grand Lanna Restaurant. As you swing in through the gates you have
just stepped back in time as you look at the teak wood buildings surrounding
you. Walk through the lush green gardens around the pool and there is
nothing to suggest to you that King Mengrai has long since gone.
There is a choice of air-conditioned rooms, or outside
dining on the wooden decking built high above the gardens. The atmosphere is
superb. If you think I am going a little ‘over the top’ wait till you
see it yourself. I spent a very pleasant 30 minutes out of our lunch, just
to walk around the gardens with a camera. (By the way, the murals in the
loos near the swimming pool will show you that the Lan Na people knew how to
We chose the sumptuous Colonial room. All teak with two
Garudas to look after us. Plus several waiters! A large wooden table covered
with Thai silk, hand wrought polished cutlery and hand painted Thai silk
placemats. Even the water glasses were cut glass tumblers. We sat on large
chairs, complete with an extra cushion for our backs. Our hostess was Khun
Niramol Udomsilp and the Dining Out team is very appreciative of her efforts
at short notice. One of those “nothing fazes” kind of people.
The menu is extensive, beginning with Appetisers 100-280
baht including the traditional sai-oua (Chiang Mai pork and herb sausage)
and running into the typical Lanna dips (B. 100-120), salads (B. 150-220)
and soups (B. 120-280).
From there it is into the curries (B. 120-350) including
gaeng ga-ree gai, one of my favourites, and stir fries. There is one section
covering rice or noodles with various dishes (B. 120-300) then a dedicated
vegetarian menu (B. 100-150) and even a small selection of western items
(but I wonder who would be so crass as to ask for fish and chips while
dining Lan Na style)!
We began with fresh raw salmon tossed with lime, garlic
and mint leaves, presented rolled up in cones on banana leaf. The
presentation was superb and the taste exquisite. This was followed by
several dishes and included a Chiang Mai curried pork, delicately flavoured
with garlic and bean sprouts. This was one of my favourites and I backed up
The famous Chiang Mai sausage was also on our table, but
watch the sauces if you are a little nervous of the total chilli experience!
We also had the som tam farang (a guava salad with prawns and cashew nuts)
which had a wonderfully ‘crunchy’ texture as well as the sharpness from
the som tam. To complete our lunch we had a BBQ’d pork with a wonderful
smoky flavour and a very meaty chicken and coconut soup.
How do you sum up a meal served in circumstances that
made you feel like one of the Royals? Served with such style that you felt
like ‘wai-ing’ to the waiters in appreciation of their total dedication
to you, the gourmet diner. It was dining in the ‘grand manner’ on food
that was meticulously prepared and served in circumstances that took your
breath away with its grandeur.
If you are ever feeling down, then go for a meal at Le
Grand Lanna - you will come to the end of the meal totally requited and
feeling like royalty. The highest recommendation possible for this dining
out experience. This is a place for special occasions or for taking overseas
visitors to so that they can understand something of the culture of the
Le Grand Lanna, 51/4 Chiang Mai - Sankampaeng Road, M.1,
Tambon Tasala, Chiang Mai, Tel. (053) 262 568-9, email [email protected]