Vol. III No. 21- Saturday May 22 - May 28 2004
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House of Palm

The home of some incredible Thai food

One imagines that local Thai restaurants would originate in Thailand. This is usually the case, but not for this one, the House of Palm. This was originally a restaurant called the “Jitlada” and was situated in Hollywood, in Los Angeles. It was famous for its food and for the clientele that included the Sultan of Brunei and assorted movie stars. It was a restaurant that gained rave reviews in America, and after 17 years in LA was a Thai institution, but the owners Tim and Montri, like so many Thais, wanted to come home. And home is Doi Saket.

With our Magellan compasses we set sail. It is not that easy to get to, but is 13.2 km north from the superhighway in the direction of Chiang Rai. 2 km before you reach Doi Saket, on the left opposite Doi Saket hospital there is a mini-mart called IMF, turn left there and the entrance is 50 meters along the soi.

We went at night and the ambience is wonderful, with palm trees around the lake, manicured lawns, the fountain playing and cool breezes. We were impressed before we even sat down. Montri met us and ushered us into the air-conditioned private area, while his wife Tim attended to our food.

The menu has 80 items on offer, and they are 80 separate items, not the same dish using four different meats. It begins with 10 different appetizers, with the majority B. 80 and includes mee krob, shrimp rolls and fried won-tons, either shrimp or pork.

Soups are next, again generally around B. 80 and cover the classics as well as a won-ton soup and kang leang. These are followed by Thai salads, generally B. 80 again and has the spicy dancing shrimp, Thai sausage salad, spicy salmon, Phuket salad and even a California chicken!

Next up are 15 mains selected from beef, chicken and pork, with the vast majority B. 80 once more. This covers traditional Thai curries, garlic and pepper dishes, omelettes but Texas style baby back pork ribs are B. 160.

Several seafood choices are next, with many dependent upon market price, but those that are not were B. 120, and this included spicy scallops and assorted saut้ed items with shrimps, squid and clams. The eight choices of shrimp dishes were also B. 120, plus a couple of market price specials.

These are followed by vegetable dishes and fried rice choices and noodles. Finally desserts and beverages, with local beers B. 50-60 for a small bottle and house wine B. 120 per glass. There is also a wine list with all bottles very moderately priced.

We had a wide selection of dishes and right from the appetizers we were hooked. Shrimp rolls that were soft and succulent, deep-fried prawn won-tons and mee krob, the crispy noodle dish. This was followed by a superb tom kha talay, which had imported NZ mussels and plump prawns in the coconut milk soup. This was really something special, and one I will have again!

For mains we again had many choices, with the Chiang Mai duck being very, very good. “We used to call it Bangkok duck when we were in Los Angeles,” said Montri! The grilled prawns were enormous (check the photograph) and the presentation of every dish was superb. There was no getting away from the fact that this was exceptional Thai food.

Perhaps difficult to find first time, but after one visit you will be back. Sensational food, in fact some of the best Thai food I have tasted in this country, and sensationally under-priced. This is the best new restaurant I have tried this year. Very highly recommended. Do go. You will not regret it.

The House of Palm, 162/6 M. 5, Tambon Rongnau, Amphur Soisaket, (13.2 km north from the superhighway in the direction of Chiang Rai. 2 km before you reach Doi Saket, opposite Doi Saket hospital there is a mini-mart called IMF, turn left there and the entrance is 50 meters along the soi.) Telephone 053 291 401 or 01 950 8559 (in case you get lost). Open 11 a.m. till 11 p.m., closed Wednesdays.

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