DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

No Name Cafe

If you can’t think of a name for your restaurant, then the No Name Cafe is probably as good as any. Fortunately the proprietors do have names, in this case, Frank and Kratai (call her ‘Tai’ for short).

The restaurant has a double shophouse frontage, but in keeping with the “No Name” concept, the signage is not all that easy to spot, so look carefully on the left coming down Ratvitee Road before you cross Radchapakinai Road, heading down towards the Three Kings monument. No Name has hanging baskets with flowers along the street frontage too.

The decor is also hard to give a name to, but eclectic might just cover it. There are Northern Thai wall hangings with large photographs of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy (is someone having a joke here?), Bruce Lee, Kurt Cobain and the members of the band Nirvana.

There is a bar area in one corner and a pool table in the other, while the rest of the space is taken up with rustic style furniture. We chose the rustics nearest the street, as it is always fun to ‘people watch’ while lunching.

The menu is simply enormous, with 193 items (probably more if the menu continues on the way it is going)! There are also some photographic menus, which I always believe is a good idea when you have an international mix of customers, such as No Name Cafe has. You may not be able to read the English names, but in these instances, pictures are definitely worth more than 1,000 words.

The monster menu begins with a choice of breakfasts including a Big American, a Big Brit or a Big Healthy Vegetarian, all around B. 80. Next are the many soup choices at B. 50-55, then Western Salads again at B. 50-55.

The next section has the quaint name of Bitchin’ Burgers, all the usual varieties and only B. 80-90. These are followed by Super Sandwiches that will set you back between B. 40-100, with a steak sandwich at the top end. Spaghetti and macaroni pastas at B. 70-95 lead you to a full page of Chef’s Divine Dinners. These are B. 140-150 and cover steaks, meatballs, pork items, chicken and fish.

After all these Euro style dishes, it is into the Thai menu, and this is again enormous. There is a full page of Vegetarian Entrees, for example, at around B. 40, Soups and Curries B. 50-60, Spicy Salads B. 45-70 including Chiang Mai sausage, followed by Northern Thai Specialties with most around B. 50. And still it goes on (gasp!) with Individual Dishes at B. 40-55, Fish (B. 75-130), Stir-fries around B. 50, then Snacks, Desserts, Juices, Cocktails, Beers and even cigarettes! This is one comprehensive menu!

Tai and Frank suggested they bring out some samples of their fare and we began with a very nice fish and boiled potatoes that got the immediate approval from us all. Next up was a dish with Danish meatballs in red wine sauce and mashed potatoes. This was excellent. My pick of the day, in fact.

These were followed by an Italian Pork Piccata with saut้ed potatoes and this was Madame’s dish, the tenderloin pork fillet being very tender. There was no let-up, they followed this with a large hamburger and chips. Again a very good example of the art of burger making. I also congratulated the chef on being able to present potatoes done in four different ways, and each cooked correctly!

We left No Name Cafe definitely knowing we were more than a little full. There is a name for this condition. It is called gluttony! We all enjoyed the food and the serves were large. The fare is much better than the average ‘pub grub’ offerings, and the items are cheap enough to be considered ‘back-packer’ prices. The place for a good solid meal without breaking the bank. Recommended. (I’ll be back even if just for the meatballs and mashed potatoes.)

No Name Cafe, 25/5-6 Ratvitee Road (on left heading towards Three Kings Monument from the moat), Tambon Sripoom, Chiang Mai, telephone 09 558 0676. Street parking. Open from 8 a.m. and kitchen closes at 11 p.m.