DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Karinthip Ville Restaurant

Lanna/Chinese ambience and Indian/NZ lamb chops!

There can be no doubting that Chiang Mai is a ‘happening’ place. Suddenly (well five months ago) a new hotel has sprung up in the middle of Chiang Mai town, close to Wat Chompu where the ‘twin’ of the Doi Suthep golden pagoda is situated. This new venture is the 62 room Karinthip Ville boutique hotel, built around a central swimming pool, and featuring some Lanna/Chinese furniture in their accommodation.

The Lanna/Chinese theme continues into their restaurant, which is in the hotel wing on the left, as you go into the main foyer/lobby area. Dark green painted vertical window frames, the terracotta painted floors and Chinese artefacts abound. The staff are in Lanna style outfits and Lanna background music is everywhere. It came then as a small surprise when Kritsadaphan Wongdao, the general manager, advised the team that their speciality was steak and they had prepared some New Zealand lamb chops for the Dining Out Team to try! Never judge a book by its cover, or a restaurant by its decor, it seems!

As the restaurant is the food outlet for the Karinthip Ville hotel, it opens at 6 a.m. for breakfast, and breakfasts are then the first items in the 70+ item menu. These range from a Thai breakfast with kao tom (boiled rice) at B. 160 to the Continental at B. 180 or the full American at B. 200. You can also order a la carte individual items such as cornflakes with milk at B. 50.

Appetizers include a hors d’oeuvre or shrimp cocktail at B. 100. Soups and salads up next at around B. 60 and then a line-up of sandwiches at B. 90, with some grilled, and a cheeseburger for those who eat American breakfasts.

Main courses are next, ranging in price from a B. 90 spaghetti bolognaise to B. 350 for a US sirloin steak. (The grilled NZ lamb chops are B. 250.) Two pages of Thai and Chinese items follow, with the majority around B. 80 and cover most of the favourites covering stir-fries, curries and some vegetarian items such as four kinds of vegetables with oyster sauce.

We began with a salad, which came with three different dressings for us to try. They are all made in their kitchens and were very pleasant. The vegetables in the salads were crisp and fresh and was a good start to the meal. Madame had an orange juice and said that it was also freshly squeezed.

The mains, which were the NZ lamb chops came on large, and hot, white plates. A small thing certainly, but good hot food should be served on good hot plates! Well done Karinthip Ville’s chef! The vegetables that came with them included boiled potato and carrots and broccoli, with a bed of buttered spinach and some Indian curried vegetables as well. Indian chapati came with it.

Karinthip Ville restaurant did give us some very good lamb chops, very tender and came away from the bone very easily, despite the fact that we did not have steak knives. The Indian curried vegetables and chapati came as a little bit of a culture shock, but was actually very pleasant; however, did tend to swamp the mint sauce! It did not go with the boiled vegetables, however. I noted that in the menu it described the lamb chops as coming with baked potatoes and mint sauce, so perhaps the chef was using some artistic license.

We finished with a very pleasant coffee.

I got the decided impression that this restaurant was still trying to find its feet. The staff are obviously new, and enthusiastic, but need a little more training. As the prices are subject to a 10 percent service charge and VAT, this means that Karinthip Ville is not a cheap dining out venue, however, with an extensive Thai/Chinese menu, as well as Khun Kritsadaphan’s steaks, the restaurant should be able to cater for all tastes. A venue worth watching.

Karinthip Ville Restaurant, 50/2 Changmoi Kao Road, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 874 302-5, fax 053 874 306, website www.karinthip ville. com Open from 6 a.m. till midnight, seven days. Secure parking in hotel parking area.