Rydges Tapae Business Lunch

Perhaps the best value business lunch in Chiang Mai

There’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ anymore, goes the well known adage. Businessmen know this too, which is why entrepreneurs these days like to combine business and lunch. It may not be free, but you can get big rewards later. To do business, you need the right ambience, and the Dining Out team went along to Rydges Tapae to see if their business lunch buffet was conducive to do just that - business over lunch.

The daily business buffets are held in the Chillis Restaurant, in the far right of the ground floor foyer. The first item I noted was that the tables were large enough to be able to support lunch, libations and business papers. The second, and also very important feature, was that they were far enough apart to be able to discuss business matters without being overheard by the next table. No ‘security’ leaks here!

The area has a central circular buffet area, as well as some live cooking stations along the far wall. Large padded seating at each table which is covered with heavy linen tablecloths and contrasting throw-overs. The cutlery and glasses are also of good quality. The impression is that of class, not a caf้.

The range of items in the buffet changes every 10 days and there are six different menus, so the diners will have enough choice. On our lunch there were more than 40 items on display, plus the sauces to go with them.

The management of the Rydges Tapae has not been mean with the items either. Salmon as well as sushi, plus Miss Terry’s favourite wasabe were up for grabs (and by that you can take it that this part of the buffet was visited more than once!).

Appetizers included assorted cold cuts, terrines and pates and cheeses including blue and brie, edam and cheddar. The salad bar had a great range of salad greens plus other items such as Nicosia tuna, shrimp, seafood, Russian egg and Swiss sausage salads. Soups are there as well, including a live cooking station doing a braised duck noodle soup and condiments.

There were Thai appetizers as well, including tod mun pla (deep fried fish cakes) and a spicy mixed fruit salad. In fact, there is a good mix of Thai cuisine and western fare, with fried chicken and ginger, and fried squid with black pepper sauce for example as Thai offerings, plus fillet of snapper doria or coq au vin chasseur and German pork leg available in the carvery section. Other Asian styles are also on offer, with a mee goreng (Indonesia), soto ayam (Malaysian soup) and Japanese stewed beef curry.

A vegetable corner is incorporated in every buffet, so if you are doing business with a vegetarian, they are not going to go hungry and leave you with the business contract unsigned!

Desserts are not forgotten, with an insulated container of ice cream, many cakes (including cheese cakes) and seasonal fruits - and strawberries were still on! And cream!

We tried many, many items, and we were not disappointed in any way. There was no doubting the quality and the range of food on offer for the business lunch. We all had our own favourites, and we all ended up with strawberries and cream. One of our number also going back for more ice cream and cheesecake as well. The even better news was the price - an all you can eat deal at B. 200 + +. Personally I think it is underpriced, so perhaps go now, before Rydges Tapae realizes!

On re-reading this piece I just realized that I was looking forward to some of the cheeses, but was sidetracked by the fresh strawberries and cream! There’s no way around this - I’ll just have to go back, and at B. 200 (plus, plus, it’s a hotel remember) cost is not a factor to stop me. Very highly recommended. (And you don’t have to be a businessman either.)

Rydges Tapae, 22 Chaiyapoom Road, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 251 531, fax 053 251 721, email [email protected], website www. rydges.com. Secure undercover parking (140 spaces) with direct access to the hotel foyer.