Vol. II No. 41 Saturday October 11 - October 17, 2003
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DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

The Gallery

Combining history, art and food

There are not too many restaurants that can trace their heritage back 111 years - but The Gallery, along the Ping Riverbank can do just that. The street front building was built in 1892 by the grandfather of the current owner and MD Surachai Leosawasthipong, where it was the family store, selling cotton, silk and household items. In 1989 the store was rebuilt, to house an art gallery (hence the name The Gallery) and the northern style restaurant building was done in teak. Since then, the buildings have received awards from architectural associations, while the restaurant itself has won recognition from world media. It was definitely time for the Dining Out Team to visit.

You enter the art gallery and walk through the assorted objets d’art and then into the restaurant building itself. You can select a table there, or continue through towards the river and sit outside, but under cover, and listen to the water flowing past. You get the impression of being in a tropical rain forest, with the lush vegetation alongside.

We were met by the delightful GM, Pornsawan (Som-O) and seated close to the river at the long tables which are covered with purple tablecloths, complete with locally woven place mats. To complete the Thai feel, the service staff are also wearing Thai outfits with Lanna shirts.

The menu is huge (164 items), so be prepared to have a drink while absorbing the totality of it all! For example, there are 22 appetizers, ranging in price between B. 50 and B. 200, with lobsters at the top end. The individual items are given in their Thai names, with an English explanation underneath. Thai favourites follow and are generally around B. 80 and are noodle based items.

The next sections cover fried rice (B. 50) and the kao tom rice soups (B. 50-120) and then stir-fried vegetable items, generally around B. 70. Keep reading, we are only one quarter of the way through! Chicken and duck items are next (B. 80-180) and then pork and beef (B. 80-150). Prawn and squid dishes are B. 150, cooked in various ways and curries, and then there are 10 fish choices (B. 110-350) covering catfish, snakehead, ruby fish, snapper, red and white.

10 soups follow (B. 70-200 for individual serves), with most of the tom yum (spicy) family and then 10 Thai spicy salads (B. 80-250) including banana flower, mango and dried beef and crunchy catfish.

The next, very large, section is just called Northern delights with most items around B. 120. This naturally covers Chiang Mai sausage and nam prik ong to be eaten with sticky rice. Another section is for dedicated vegetarian items mainly around B. 70.

Finally (gasp!) there are two pages of international favourites, covering examples of French, German, Indian and Italian cuisines and then beef, pork, chicken, fish and lamb steaks, and even fondue items.

The final pages cover drinks, with juices and shakes, cocktails and beers (local brews B. 50-60 small bottle) and all spirits.

We had several dishes which we all enjoyed, and stuck to the Thai cuisine, with the Team being a mixture of westerners and Thais. For me, the Thai duck in red curry with pineapple was the dish of the evening, while the others were divided between the salted sea crab in coconut (for me, the usual problem of too much work for too little return) and the ruby fish in plum sauce.

Dining at The Gallery is a very pleasant experience. The food is excellent Thai cuisine, and there are also enough international choices for those who are not adventurous. The presentation of the food was of a high standard, and the ambience very relaxing. This is not one of the more noisy venues - quite the reverse. It is a restaurant to which you can take any overseas guests and know that they will come away impressed. We did. Very highly recommended.

The Gallery, 25-29 Charernas Road, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 248 601, fax 053 248 602, email [email protected] .co.th, www.skynet/~asiasoft /page4.html. Opens 12 noon and closes after midnight. Security parking close by - look for the guard - who is looking for you.



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