DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

The Tavern

For pub grub and entertainment

One of the newer ventures in the pub scene is The Tavern, which opened its doors in March 2003. This is a family backed business and family member and mein host Michael is a suave Thai-American who switches easily from one language to another. He is so adept at this and so laid back that you get the impression that The Tavern has been there for generations, and landlord Michael for the past decade.

The venue is set up in the archetypal UK pub style. Dark wood, heavy wooden tables and chairs, a wooden sit-up bar along one side and a blackboard for ‘specials’. As well as local beers (Chang /Leo B. 75 for a large bottle) there are also some imports including Erdinger wheat beer, and Heineken is even available in draft. A reasonable selection of spirits is also available, including Pastis and Ricard and a range of Bols, with the peppermint being a ladies favourite.

Close to the door there is a raised dais and DJ booth for live and pre-recorded music. Of course there are also the obligatory dartboard and pool tables in the air-conditioned sports bar area upstairs.

Since it is a pub offering food, on the tables is a wicker basket with a pepper grinder (hooray!), salt, Parmesan cheese, ketchup, mustard, mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce and malt vinegar.

The menu is surprisingly large for a small pub and covers both English/international cuisine as well as Thai items.

It begins with an all day breakfast at B. 110 and then several English pub items such as fish and chips (B. 120), lamb chops (B. 240), English roast beef (B. 220) and steak and kidney or chicken and mushroom pies at B. 120.

Appetizers and Snacks (B. 50-220) feature the Tavern Platter at the top end which has chicken and sausage, shrimp, squid and potato wedges. Bangers and Mash are B. 140, while the cheapest items are the samosas at B. 50.

Nine soups are on offer (B. 45-65) including a Hungarian goulash, lobster cream and minestrone, followed by Appetizers and Salads (B. 60-85) which has tuna, chicken and salmon cocktail. Sandwiches and burgers are an integral part of pub grub and at B. 65-80 are not going to break the bank either.

Next up are 11 choices of mains (B. 155-350) and includes imported NZ rib eye, T-bone and tenderloin. There is also a grilled fillet of sea bass. Finally there are some pasta items at B. 85.

The Thai menu has all the usual Thai favourites with the majority under B. 80.

Michael arranged for the Dining Out Team to sample many of the dishes on offer, and we began with a mushroom soup which came hot to the table, and was very smooth with sliced mushrooms in it. With an enthusiastic grind from the pepper grinder, this was a good starter for the evening.

Next up were some tacos, with crisp taco shells and a slight spiciness only. These were followed by a traditional English Bangers and Mash, with very good sausages complemented by the brown sauce and onions.

We were filled by this stage, but Michael insisted we try the salmon steak. This was very large and came with vegetables and fried rice. By this stage I was so full I could hardly finish my draft beer - but I did!

The Tavern does not pretend to be a fine dining establishment, but has firmly positioned itself as a ‘pub’ and the offerings in its food line-up as ‘pub grub’. To qualify as that, the Dining Out team believes that the food should be substantial and good value. There is no doubting the fact that the Tavern does then provide good pub grub. Large portions of pleasant food at very reasonable prices. With the atmosphere and the entertainment, The Tavern is a worthy addition to Chiang Mai’s pub scene. Worth a visit with a bunch of friends.

The Tavern, 49/4-5 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road (close to TAT office), Chiang Mai, telephone 053 249 231, 09 990 6130. Open 5.30 p.m. till late weekdays and 11 a.m. till late at weekends. All major cards accepted. Street parking.