The Dining Out Team went to Suan Paak Restaurant for lunch.
This is close to the Airport Plaza, on Airport Road. I was under the impression
that this was a vegetarian restaurant, and I have to admit I was not all that
enthusiastic. While Miss Terry knows that vegetables are important part of all
our diets, I am also a card-carrying carnivore! However, I could not have been
further from the truth - Suan Paak is a normal restaurant, but one with very
first aspect to impress you is the gardens. Trees, umbrellas, fountains and
ponds, bushes, pergolas and trellises abound. You walk into a veritable garden
nursery. At the rear is another important part of the restaurant, but not for an
idle wander - a complete hydroponics area growing their own special vegetables.
To the right, as you walk in through the covered walkway, are
some undercover dining areas, very tastefully decorated, but with the crisp
mid-day sun in Chiang Mai, we decided to stay in the gardens, choosing one of
the many tables covered by a large umbrella.
menu begins with a small explanation of their salad dressings, being creamy, or
a sweet and sour oil and vinegar or a French style oil and vinegar. The
hydroponically grown vegetables are free from pesticides and other toxins, and
feature highly in the fare offered at Suan Paak.
There are 14 salads, with the majority around B. 115 and
range from vegetarian styles, through sausage, ham, tuna, chicken, pork, beef
and shrimp, as well as the expected Caesar salad.
Next on the menu are the breads with whole wheat and French
bread predominating. These are followed by sandwiches, mainly around B. 75 and
then some interesting soups such as Chinese black mushroom (B. 50). There is
also a stand-alone dish called khaow-ping at B. 90 which has fried rice with
These are followed by a group called “Specialities” with
the majority under B. 100. These include spaghetti, a chicken curry with rice,
roast chicken with BBQ sauce and even an ox tongue stew.
Hot and Sour Thai salads follow at around B. 100 including an
interesting (Thai?) sausage, ham, bologna with chilli lime and shallot.
Suan Paak steaks get a page on their own and come with either
mushroom, pepper, lemongrass or Northeastern Thai sauces. These come with
vegetables and ham steaks are B. 150, pork chops are B. 200 and sirloin steaks
are B. 320.
There are a couple of pages of beverages with many fruit
based shakes, beers are around B. 60 for a small bottle, and fruit milk shakes
at B. 65. Of course there are ice creams (B. 35) and cakes and pies (B. 60) with
blueberry cheesecake or blueberry pie and tiramisu featuring highly.
We began with the shrimp and chicken salad with a Thai-style
dressing that was very good (and spicy), and this was followed by German
sausages (full and meaty) with mushroom sauce (very bland) and then their Suan
Paak sirloin steak with pepper sauce and a tossed salad as well, which had the
French oil and vinegar dressing.
The vegetables made the meals for me. Truly delicious
veggies, which had me going back to the salad bowl for more. I honestly do not
remember when tomatoes tasted this good. Even the cooked vegetables with the
steak were excellent. We were all very impressed!
We finished with a strawberry drink that Madame was still
talking about an hour later. Scrumptious was the word I think she used.
Lunch at Suan Paak was brilliant, and I would go as far as to
say that it was the most enjoyable garden restaurant experience I have had in
the past 12 months. The food was excellent, the service likewise. The lunch was
superb, and I can honestly say it was the first time I have gone digging in a
salad, hoping to find more tomatoes, a vegetable I am not normally all that fond
of. Very highly recommended.
Suan Paak, 61 Moo 3, Airport Road, Suthep, Chiang Mai,
telephone 053 201 690, fax 053 201 692, email [email protected] Secure
parking in the grounds. Open 11 a.m. till 9 p.m.