Chianginn Hotel’s Western Grill

A buffet lunch with something for everyone

The Dining Out Team went to lunch, and being of several nationalities, a buffet that could cater for us all was in order. We chose the Western Grill buffet lunch at the Chianginn Hotel.

The restaurant is inside the hotel complex, and as the name suggests, has a western theme. Wooden split log walls and wooden ceilings, Wild West photographs on the walls, including a tribe of Indians looking most uncomfortable in suits!

The tables are covered with bright chequered tablecloths and the chairs are heavy wood with padded bottoms. It amazes me that so many restaurants still offer their diners hard bottomed chairs, not conducive to relaxed dining. The Western Grill is not one of those, I hasten to add.

The restaurant is spacious (on the lunchtime we were there it appeared to seat well over 100) with cooking stations in the far corner and buffet tables set up along one wall. We were the guests of Khun Kanyarat Crueawatanakul, the assistant managing director, but being a buffet, there was no ‘special treatment’ possible for the Dining Out Team.

Take your time to walk around the buffet tables before making your choices – the range of food is staggering. The kitchen is overseen by a local Chiang Mai chef, Khun Ittithep, and the individual items also change every day.

The four main cuisines covered are European, Thai, Chinese and Japanese. On our lunchtime, the items offered included Japanese sushi with the wasabe (pow!), Thai spicy curry, another deep fried chicken with lemongrass, an Isaan pork larb and a very interesting looking spicy and sour mixed fruit salad.

In the Bain Marie’s there were pork, beef and fish items, plus vegetables and saut้ed potatoes. Chinese dishes included braised pork leg in soy sauce, egg noodle and chicken and a roasted chicken and grape in white wine sauce.

Desserts? These take up a whole table and included Thai, oriental and European favourites. And chocolate balls!

Being a buffet, we all began at different ends with Madame and I both beginning with the Khao Soi, which was authentic in its taste, and in the fact that the chicken pieces were not filleted. It was well cooked, however, and one did not need surgical training to extract the meat from the bone.

Madame returned to try the khao krieb pak moh, the Thai pork and peanut dumplings, eaten with coconut milk and fried garlic. This has a somewhat ‘gooey’ texture, but a beautiful meld of flavours, and was Madame’s dish of the day.

Miss Terry went for the European items trying the pork with raisins in a dark sauce (flavoursome), the plakapong fillets in white cream sauce and the fillets of beef in pepper sauce. Pick the thicker ones if you like your beef medium. A steak knife would have been handy here (you can ask for one, K. Kanyarat told me later), but the meat was quite tender.

Desserts? Well Miss Terry never eats desserts (unless they are chocolate balls) and you have to be quick for these, a very popular item (I stole two from one of the other member’s plates). Madame had the homemade mocha ice cream and enjoyed it too.

The Dining Out Team came away from the Western Grill’s buffet very full (buffets are always an invitation to gorge one’s self, aren’t they) and satisfied with both the range and the choices available and the quality. Other than the steak knives there was very little to complain about. It is a place for any hungry group of any nationality, and a place to try tasting different cuisines without having to order full portions. The cost is reasonable and when the variety of the international items is taken into consideration it makes it very reasonable. Definitely worth a lunchtime visit. (There is an a la carte menu at night and we will review that another time.)

Western Grill, Chianginn Hotel, 100 Changklan Road, Chiangmai, telephone 053 270 070, fax 053 274 299. Visa and MasterCard accepted. Security parking at the hotel and they even put sunshades on your windscreen to keep your car cool for your return.