The Guitar Man Restaurant

The Guitar Man Restaurant received its name from owner Duenpen’s husband, a man who loves to play guitar. It had not been open long when we made our ‘official’ visit, but Duenpen seemed more than ready to accommodate our three person team.

The restaurant is divided into three distinctly separate areas. There is an outside section under umbrellas (under the stars), then an interior area close to the dais with the musical instruments, and then further round the corner there is a long narrow section with a sit-up bench along one side and tables along the other and a bar at the end. There is also a pool table in the corner, but to be frank, there is not enough room to swing a proverbial small pussy cat, let along wield a cue on the far side of the pool table.

The tables and chairs were fine, with tablecloths and raffia placemats plus candles on the tables. The decor is eclectic. And at least covers blank spots on the walls. The staff were also appreciative of our visit and if enthusiasm counts for anything, they scored high marks there.

There are two menus. The first is the smaller ‘breakfast menu’ that begins with the Euro style brekky for 59 baht with fruit juice, toast, butter and jam and coffee/tea and the American number for B. 79 which has the addition of ham/sausage and egg and bacon. After these two come the Thai breakfasts with 27 choices, all ranging around B. 45-50. In the middle of these, hidden away from unsuspecting diners are three steaks done different ways for B. 150.

The main menu is not divided into sections, though the third side seemed to be mainly western food, but put aside some time to read through. The vast majority of items range between B. 50-80, and even the pepper steak or t-bone is only B. 180. An interesting item that caught my eye was one entitled ‘Best Ever Fried Fish’ and at only B. 80 it would be worth ordering it just to see if it is!

Beverages are at the end of the menu, with small local beers B. 45-70 per bottle and large ones B. 65-100. Softs are around B. 20 and cocktails B. 90.

Duenpen had arranged a sample evening of some of their fare, and we began with a crab cake, done in slices with a plum sauce that was a pleasant appetizer for the evening. We also tried the tom kha gai (chicken in coconut soup) which was presented in a clay fire-pot (a mini dao tarn). This had a nice bite to it and I noted that they were following the authentic recipe using galangal. We also had a prawns with lemongrass, which was spicy and a chicken with cashews that was not. To go with our meals we tried their fruit shakes which were also very pleasant. Unfortunately we could not wait till 9 p.m. for the music as we had another engagement.

This restaurant is trying to be all things for all people. Indoors, outdoors, open-air, bar, music, karaoke, different cuisines on offer, the works. It is a recipe that cannot be kept up, but I am sure that the Guitar Man restaurant will eventually find its true niche in the crowded Chiang Mai marketplace. The food was fine, the service totally attentive, the venue was also fine, if somewhat cramped inside.

The concept of having live music is good and the idea that you can join in and warble or even bang a drum makes this a fun restaurant. I have always said that eating should be fun as well as nourishment, otherwise we may as well all stay at home. Duenpen and her guitar man husband are to be congratulated on trying to offer something a little different. Whether it hits the right note with the diners will only be seen with time. Put a few people together with some musical aspirations and give it a try.

Guitar Man, 68/5-6 Loi Kroh Road, T. Changklan, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 818 110. Open 8.30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 1 a.m. On street parking.