The Bears Den

Teddy Bears or Panda Bears?

“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise” went the song we all learned at our mother’s knee. Well, guess what? Mum was right. Go down to 233 Jarern Rasd Road, next to Rimping Condo, and you will get a big surprise - they have built a full scale British style pub there, called the Bears Den Pub and Restaurant. This place is so new, the varnish isn’t dry on the wooden walls and the ceiling still needs a lick of paint in the corners. This place is so new that when we went to do the dining out a few weeks ago, the pub did not exist, but the beer garden and kitchen did. However, since Miss Terry was there to try the food, we turned our back on the construction site and looked at the menu.

The pub has resulted from a group of friends including David (the Landlord) and Paul (the Bear) getting together with the pub and restaurant concept. The Bears Den moniker was not deliberate, it was used as a ‘working title’ but they couldn’t think of anything else, so it stuck.

Background music is something that is being dealt with in a novel way. Music from the 50’s to the 90’s is there for your choosing from a large music ‘menu’ and over the weekends there will be live music as well. These Bears Den people impress by making it obvious that they know what they are doing.

The menu begins with soups at B. 95 and then salads (B. 120-180) including the classic Caesar salad. Main courses are next (B. 160-250) including Steak, egg and chips, home made cottage pie, pork chop with apple sauce, or the English Bangers and Mash. Vegetarians have not been forgotten either with veggie quiches, lasagna and casseroles.

The pub meals continue with baked potatoes with topping (B. 100), a range of sandwiches around B. 110, burgers (B. 170-180) and desserts. Finally there is a page called Snacks (B. 65-185) with a Fisherman’s platter at the top end and then other items that British people sometimes find difficult to get such as Welsh Rarebit, English pork sausage bits, Scotch eggs and pork pies.

We experienced a wide range of the items from the menu, beginning with a Tom Kha Gai, (chicken in coconut milk soup), one of my favourite Thai dishes. It easily passed muster, with chunky chicken pieces, no bones and the correct amount of ‘bite’. Next up was your typical English fish and chips, with cod in beer batter and large rough-cut English style chips. Excellent. Two down and two bull’s eyes!

The next presentation from the chef was the archetypal English Toad in the Hole, which came with hot baked beans. The sausages were excellent (locally made by the way) in a Yorkshire pudding type batter. And I loved the baked beans, served hot as they should be. Other pub restaurants please take careful note. Another excellent item.

More came, this time Thai again, and again of a high standard, but by now Landlord David had replaced my beer with another and being totally requite, we just settled back to enjoy the music, the company and the evening.

The Bears Den presented us with a combination of both excellent Thai food and British pub-style items. We were made doubly welcome by the presence of mein host David Strudwicke, a man who has spent some time in the international Delaney’s pub organization, and is a thoroughly professional Landlord. We are quite sure that this new venture will become a central point for those who enjoy a British style chinwag and a beer, and the incorporation of Thai items and Brit pub grub means that those with local partners can spend an evening there without either side getting hungry. Or disgruntled!

A pub venue that will be one of the most popular places in Chiang Mai within six months. They have the staff and they have the product. Highly recommended.

The Bears Den Pub and Restaurant 233 Jarern Rasd Road, next to Rimping Condo, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 260 404, email bearsden_chmai @yahoo.com