One of the newest venues in Chiang Mai is the Rachamankha,
still in its ‘soft opening’ period. Yet when you first drive in, you think
you have just discovered one of the oldest, with the buildings done in an old
Thai style. As you drive in, you will see the main hotel buildings are on your
left, and the restaurant is straight ahead.
Inside, the fully air-conditioned restaurant is long and
narrow, with a very high ceiling. One side looks out on to a quadrangle, through
glassed-in ornamental carved wooden doors, while on the other side are windows
with rattan blinds, and traditional Thai and Burmese artworks in between.
The tables are totally covered with white linen, with another
white linen tablecloth over the top and heavy white linen napkins. The cutlery
is bespoke and heavy polished stainless steel, good glasses and the crockery in
traditional pattern. The service staff are decked out in Lanna style outfits,
reminding you of the fact that you are in the heart of the Lanna civilization.
menu (called Thai Gastronomique) begins with tom yam soup with prawns at B. 185
and a beef masala at B. 150. These are fairly standard items to lead you into a
new culinary level, with sour tamarind flavoured red chilli soup with fillet of
red snapper or prawns and mixed seasonal vegetables, all for B. 130.
After these there are some curries, generally around B. 100
and some stir-fries, including a wonderfully sounding golden-fried bell pepper
stuffed with minced pork. Next page offers more Northern style dishes, all under
It is after this that the menu really starts to come into its
own. Entitled Thai Lanna Fusion and European it offers poached apple slices with
a sweet basil dressing (B. 70) and cantaloupe cubes and grated mozzarella cheese
with orange cream dressing (B. 105) as examples of this style.
The following page has items like cheese stuffing roasted
chicken breast with kamfoy grass sauce (B. 315) or a cheese lasagne with young
gourd leaves (sayote) stuffing (B. 240) or a Northern style egg noodle ossobuco
We began with the shrimp salad with hanglay cream dressing
and I was immediately enraptured. The tiger prawns and the hanglay cream were
made for each other! Two very smooth and distinct tastes. Brilliant! We then
tried the pounded pork which was again a very different (and spicy) item, which
came with several garden vegetables and was one that I found later from the chef
was actually a Thai Yai dish.
Two other dishes sampled included the ossobuco, done in a
‘kao soy’ style with the fried crispy noodles on top. The meat was cooked to
perfection, and the garlic in the ‘soup’ certainly gave the dish some
spiciness. The other was a grilled lamb chop on a tamarind sauce and was another
Finally we had the Tommy Tang’s sticky rice with mango
which is either steamed or fried. Both were delicious!
It had been a gourmet lunch. It was no less than fine food in
fine dining ambience. Probably the most impressive new venue I have been to in
Chiang Mai. There are an accepted few well-known top restaurants in Chiang Mai.
The Rachamankha is right up there with any of them.
The food was simply superb, with new tastes and a sensible
use of the ‘fusion cuisine’ concept by the Rachamankha chef. For me, the
shrimp salad with hanglay cream dressing was the dish of the day, while for
Madame, it was the ossobuco, with its skilful blending of the kao soy
ingredients and their adaptation to the European dish.
The Rachamankha will become one of the top choices for
visiting gourmets. This is a restaurant where you can show your guests a glimpse
of Chiang Mai of yesteryear with cuisine as fresh as tomorrow. You must try this
place. You will not be disappointed, the food is conservatively priced and the
ambience exceptional. Highest recommendation possible.
The Rachamankha, 6 Rachamankha 9, T. Phra Sing, Chiang Mai,
telephone 053 904 111, fax 053 904 114, email [email protected] Secure
parking within the compound. Open from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m.