DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Doi View Coffee Shop

Doi View pride themselves on being the first serviced apartments in Chiang Mai, and also on their restaurant, the owner having previously had a restaurant in Beverley Hills in the US. While we were staying at Doi View recently, the GM, Swan Kwaenthaisong, suggested the Dining Out Team might like to try their Japanese food from the coffee shop.

The coffee shop is on the first floor (UK nomenclature, so is the first floor above the ground). The ambience is immediately Japanese, with rectangular forms in natural light wood being predominant. The area is also open on two sides, so it is very airy and with a waterfall outside, the sounds of running water add to the Japanese feel. Light coloured tiles on the floor, and the tables have black ceramic tops. Again the contrast between light and dark and the overall minimalism looking very Japanese.

The menu is quite comprehensive, and since it is a coffee shop servicing apartments, begins with breakfasts. The Continental is B. 75, the American B. 95 and the Oriental B. 75. Next page has the starters and sandwiches and range in price between B. 40-70. These are followed by the Thai (spicy) salads, with a choice of 11 of the som tam items between B. 60 and B. 90. These are all Thai hot, I was informed.

Next are the fries and stir-fries, with a huge 19 item choice and includes such diverse items as sea bass, catfish, frog and spaghetti! Prices range between B. 45-120. While still in the Thai/Chinese mode the next 12 items come under the heading of soups and curries (B. 65-120) and includes both ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ curries and the northern hang lay curry as well.

Getting away from the local cuisine, there is also an extensive ‘Special’ menu with Euro and Japanese items. The four soups (B. 55) are all Euro, including a consomm้, but moving into the appetizers (B. 60-80) the sashimi is offered. Euro style salads are next (B. 65-120) and then 12 main courses (B. 85-220) with New Zealand beef or salmon commanding the top numbers. Finally it is drinks, with softs around B. 15 and local beers B. 50-80.

We made our visit at lunchtime, and Khun Swan suggested the Osaka style suki, but also threw in a steak and a salmon steak from the Euro menu, both of which were large servings.

But it was the Osaka style suki that was the star on the menu we had come to try. The steamboat is up to the minute - and electric, and heated the soup stock very quickly. The ingredients were brought to the table, and fortunately for us, the waiter handled the production of what to add and when. The items involved in the suki included beef, glass noodles, asparagus, onion, bean curd and another couple of vegetables and spaghetti.

While the ‘stock’ was cooking we were given a soup with bean curd that was very pleasant. When the time was ripe and the suki was ready, we were given the eggs to crack into our plates (the waitress did mine as I looked a little lost). After cracking, you give it a whisk to mix the yolk and the white, add items from the steam boat, and enjoy!

The Osaka style suki at B. 120 for two people has to be considered a bargain. The suki style of cooking at the table is very popular, and Doi View should be considered as another option to the commercial suki chains. We enjoyed the fact that every time we looked helpless (which was often), the waiter or waitress would come and show us what should be done, and that went right from the loading of the steamboat to the cracking of the egg into the bowl. Good ingredients and you cook it yourself. A final word of warning - the supporting frame for the table tops is very low and farang sized people can bang their knees very easily. We did - often! But then again, maybe we are slow learners!

Doi View, 9 Soi 9 Nimmanhaemin Road, Suthep, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 895 575, fax 053 895 568.