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
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.