White Lotus Restaurant

A bar that sells food, or a restaurant that sells beer?

The Dining Out Team was invited to the White Lotus Restaurant (and bar) during the week of the Chiang Mai Sixes. It became very obvious, even without the banner welcoming the Chiang Mai Sixes, that this was a bar/restaurant that was heavily into cricket. Glass fronted notice boards with cricket fixtures and photographs of chaps in cricketing whites dominated the ‘bar’ section of this venue.

The venue seems to be in sections. There is the ‘inner sanctum’ that includes the bar proper, but there is also a small open courtyard area with a bas-relief scene along one wall with a herd of elephants and a fish pond. There is also an “L” shaped section (around the inner sanctum) that appears to be set up for dining, that is open at the side walls, but with a novel system of water running down threads that causes a drop in temperature through evaporation, resulting in cool temperatures, without the need of air-conditioning. It does, however, have fans for air circulation.

We ate in the L section which sports large tables and large comfortable cane chairs, with cushions! (Miss Terry hates getting a ‘cane chair’ bottom!) You will need to be comfortable, because the menu is rather large, with around 150 items, so best sit back with a beer and start going through the choices.

The menu begins with all day breakfasts ranging between the Continental at B. 75 and the American breakfast at B. 120. You can also order a la carte breakfasts B. 25-80 for the various makings. Next up are Euro style soups at B. 70 and then salads (B. 50-90) and sandwiches, burgers and spaghetti, all between B50-100.

Still in the ex-pat style food there is a page of steak choices (B. 200-250) all served with french-fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and vegetables. These are followed by a page of international dishes (B. 100-220) and includes a mixed grill at the top end and grilled pork sausages with french-fries and vegetables at the bottom. There is also a bangers and mash for the Brits and fish and chips (for everyone!).

Still only one third through the menu, we come to the Thai food, and eight pages of choices. These begin with spicy salads and there are 14 all under B. 105, with most around B. 60 and covers Isaan style, as well as the more usual som tams. Pork, shrimp, chicken, beef, seafood or Thai sausage - they are all there.

From som tams, it is into noodle dishes (around B. 60), then stir-fries (around B. 70-80), Thai soups (up to B. 130 for a large ‘family’ size, hot Thai curries (again up to B. 130 for a large family serve). Finally there are eight choices in rice based dishes all under B. 65 and ice creams at B. 25 for a single scoop.

We had samples of many items from the Thai menu, with a red curry beef, pork with ginger (which I was very impressed with), a good pad Thai and a garlic and pepper pork. It was typical Thai food, properly cooked, nicely presented and inexpensive. There was absolutely no complaints from either of us as far as that was concerned. Good food and good value. I have to say that we did not try the European food, as the White Lotus had chosen the items.

Of course the question is really, was the White Lotus a bar that sold food, or was it a restaurant that sold beer? In actual fact, I think it was a little bit of both. The dedicated ‘bar’ section inside obviously has its own persona and trade, while the dedicated dining section also has its own following. The menu with both Thai and European food has enough variety to keep diners from boredom, and the food we experienced was good and not expensive. Better than ‘pub grub’ it represents yet another choice for the hungry in Chiang Mai. Recommended for cricketers in particular!

White Lotus, 68/3 Charoenprathet Road, Changklan, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, telephone 053 818 108, email [email protected] Open 8 a.m. till midnight. Street parking outside.