Galae Restaurant

Munching amongst the marigolds!

The Dining Out Team went for lunch last week on the way to Doi Suthep. Drive out along Suthep Road, over the Chonpratan Canal, and head towards the Royal Project Administration buildings. On the left there is the Galae Restaurant, set in the middle of a many-tiered flower garden. Currently the marigolds are out, making the restaurant situated in a blaze of golden yellow. This really is a garden setting. Looking around I spotted some birdhouses amongst the trees, but closer inspection showed that they were actually loudspeakers for background music in the evenings. (Thank me for saving you from the embarrassment!)

As you wend your way down the twisting paths through the flowerbeds you gravitate (or perhaps I should perhaps say gravity takes you!) down to edge of the reservoir. Choose your table, this should not be difficult as there are 320 of them, and sit back in the rustic settings and relax in the countryside. There are numerous umbrellas to give shade, and the willing young service staff will soon move them to suit your needs. The setting is really conducive to just enjoying the country air.

The English menu (and there is a Thai one too), begins with house specials which range between B. 70-150 including satays, mee grob (sweet crispy noodles), green curry chicken, and kai galae (roast whole chicken in foil, served flamb้ style) at the top B. 150 end.

The next section in the menu is classified as Appetizers but really not all of them should strictly be there. The range is B. 50-120, and includes french-fries (!), tod mun pla, spring rolls, nam prik ong (the famous Chiang Mai sausage with crispy pork skin), and fried fish of various species (catfish, tabtim, and kipper). Six Grills are next, generally around B. 70 with pork, chicken and fish and also a gaeng jued woonsen moo sap, the minced pork soup with clear noodles (at last count definitely not a grill)! Some lunch dishes at B. 40, salads B. 50 and B. 100 (prawn salad), desserts and beverages with softs B. 15, small beers B. 50-60, large beers B. 60-95.

We tried several of the dishes on the menu, all of which came with any particular sauces that should be used with that dish. Amongst the choices was the kai (chicken) galae, the house special. This is a baked dish and includes the whole chicken with cashews and is quite sweet, not spicy at all and very suitable for those who are a little afraid of Thai spiciness. Another dish we tried was the Chiang Mai sausage with crispy pork skin. This was one of those dishes you kept on coming back to - a wonderful appetizer in my book, and spicy.

One of our team fell in love with the mee grob, which came with prawns, bean sprouts and green vegetables and lime. The sweetness of the noodles offset by the sharpness of the lime and prawns. Another contrasting dish was the green curry chicken (gai keo waan) which had a ‘bite’ to it, but not at all overpowering.

Galae Restaurant was notable for its very Thai ambience. This was not a restaurant set up to cater for tourists, rather it has evolved as a place for the residents of Chiang Mai to come to enjoy the days or evenings around the reservoir, and have some very typical Thai fare at the same time. We left, having satiated our appetites on some very typical and flavoursome Northern Thai food. We are sure you will enjoy the experience too. The prices, considering the standard of the food, are also inexpensive. This is not a venue full of fawning waiters, it is a place to take the family for feeding. I think the family would appreciate the lunchtime dining, and perhaps reserve later in the day around the reservoir for a romantic evening meal! Perhaps the only problem is climbing back up the hill after a big meal! Try it. Recommended.

Galae Restaurant, 65 Suthep Road (next to the Administration buildings Royal Project), telephone 053 278 655 or 053 811 041. Extensive parking. Open from 11.30 a.m. till late.