One of the newest restaurants in Chiang Mai is Palaad
Tawanron, and is one of the few restaurants that might feature in the Guinness
Book of Records! But more of that later.
When we called in to review the establishment, it had been up
and running for only nine days, so we were not surprised to see building
activity still in progress, but by the time this review is printed, Chiang Mai
will have yet another interesting choice for dining out.
Getting there is simple. Go along Suthep Road until you see
the signs to the zoo, or the signs for Palaad Tawanron itself, and turn right.
Follow the twisty little road up the hill and you will see the restaurant on the
right hand side. You cannot miss it.
The restaurant has two main areas, an air-conditioned section
which in turn leads out on to a wooden terrace built over the hill slopes and
overlooking the large reservoir. This is particularly attractive, with trees and
orchids, umbrellas, natural wood furniture and a real atmosphere of communing
with nature. I was also advised to try the toilets which have an even more
commanding vista. A sort of ‘loo with a view’ if you like.
The menu is large and very comprehensive, and is mainly of
Thai cuisine, though the German pork knuckle (only B. 220) has the addendum
It begins with some chef’s recommendations which include
the pork knuckle, with most items being around the B. 120 level, such as the
steamed home-grown chicken with Chinese liqueur.
There are several choices of sea bass, cooked in various
ways, with all of them under B. 200. Again, the prawns can be ordered several
ways, with the majority only B. 150, while crab dishes are B. 350. Still on the
seafood theme, shrimps, fish and mussels are offered with more than 20 choices,
ranging in price from B. 70-180.
Other sections include deep-fries mainly around B. 80, grills
all under B. 150, vegetarian items (B. 50-80), Thai salads and papaya salads (B.
50-80), dished in hot pans (B. 100-150), soups rice and more!
There are also beverages, including several fruit juices, as
well as beers (bottled and draft) and spirits.
The food was brought to our table by young and enthusiastic
service personnel, smartly turned out in Lanna style tops and blue trousers. It
was obvious that they were eager to please, something that one does not always
We tried a mix of dishes, beginning with a German style pork
knuckle. This was huge and so tender I did not need to call for a knife.
Interestingly this turned out to be Madame’s pick of the dishes, although
being Thai and a devoted chilli fan.
The crab dish was very well presented and pre-cracked.
Despite my assertion that crab represents too much work for too little return,
this was a very flavoursome dish, saut้ed with black pepper.
We also had a steamed sea bass which was very, very good, and
was my pick from our lunchtime repast. The presentation was again superb,
complete with quivering swan vegetable sculpture.
We had gone at lunchtime to do the review and it was
delightful sitting outside. ‘Maitresse d’ Annette told us that at night
there are lights in the trees, and around the reservoir, to produce a very
romantic atmosphere, and I am sure that would be the case. The food presented to
us was excellent, both in taste and presentation, and spanned both Thai and
European cuisines, and was very moderately priced. This is definitely one
restaurant to try and another good addition to the Chiang Mai dining out scene.
Ah yes, I almost forgot the Guinness Book of Records. You can
go elephant trekking as well, and they have ‘potty-trained’ the elephants to
use a custom made loo, the largest flush toilet in the world! Another first for
Palaad Tawanron and Chiang Mai.
Palaad Tawanron restaurant, at the gateway to Chiang Mai Zoo, telephone 053
216 576, fax 053 217 073, email [email protected] Open seven days, 11
a.m. until 11 p.m. Ample secure parking outside the restaurant, or within the
zoo itself. Just avoid the elephants!