Mo’c Mo’L - “Monkey Club and Moon Lover’ : By Danny B.

Relaxed dining in a stylish setting

The clever people behind this spacious restaurant and bar have achieved something remarkable. They have carved out a large area and created several distinct eating and drinking areas, plus a café, which offer different facilities while blending seamlessly together. The architects and designers are to be congratulated. So, happily, are the chefs.
This column concentrates on food but it would be remiss in this case not to elaborate on the overall concept. Mo’C Mo’L is to be found on the left heading up Huay Kaew Road, about 400 meters past Canal Road and just before some CMU buildings.
It has a very large wooded parking area and to the right of that is the separate Coffee House which serves breakfast, snacks and coffee, etc. from 9am until 10pm.
Straight ahead is the main building approached via a tiny bridge over a stream bulging with exotic fish that are definitely not on the menu. To the left is the popular I- Yaah, which offers nightly live entertainment. This is a smart lounge area, crowded late evenings and serving cocktails, spirits, wine and beers as well as the occasional soft drink. It attracts a youngish, mainly Thai clientele who can be seen through thick, semi opaque glass which serves to cut out the noise of the energetic performers.
The restaurant proper divides into two areas. The larger of the two is more enclosed and somewhat noisier thanks to a small group who sing and play popular Thai and western standards. Pass through this bustling and expansive section and to the right is a large verandah which looks on to a huge ornamental pool with three tranquil fountains.
This more rustic area, with its surround of trees and plants is altogether quieter and with its candle light and subdued hanging lanterns lining the pool has a romantic and more leisurely feel to it. I usually opt for this section in what is without doubt one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Chiang Mai.
In fact the menu is not exclusively Thai, although I have not tried the other options. There is a small European menu, which includes meat and a range of pastas, some quite exotic and others more mundane sounding including Spaghetti baked with Ham and Cheese (85 baht). There are some puddings, many based around ice cream including one with rich chocolate sauce which I tried once and found delicious (100 baht). More interestingly there is – when available – Fresh mango with a sweet and spicy sauce (60 baht or 95 baht for a double portion, which like the ice cream is enough to share).
There is also a larger section devoted to Japanese cuisine, offering 30 – 35 different dishes plus eight set menus at around 180 baht. This may account for the large number of Asian customers alongside the predominantly Thai and some western diners. The extensive menu is a model of clarity in defined areas from appetizers to desserts with dishes printed in bold type in English and Thai. Unsurprisingly, there is a substantial drinks menu ranging from soft drinks, through a variety of beers including draft Heineken (110 baht for a jug) and beer Singha (110 baht for a large bottle) and Tiger at 10 baht cheaper. The huge range of spirits goes right up to Johnnie Walker Blue Label at a whopping 9000 baht plus per bottle, but before that you will find drinkable white and red wine by the glass or bottle that will not bankrupt you.
When my photographer and I went recently on a Tuesday evening it was quite busy but on the previous Sunday when I’d gone with a Thai friend it was quiet. Be warned though, at weekends in high season it is packed and you may well wait a while for a table allowing for an aperitif in I-Yahh. Our meal was spectacularly good that Tuesday evening with the best dish in my opinion coming first in the form of a spicy mackerel salad, with the ingredients including minced cashew nuts, chili and shredded raw vegetables wrapped in spring roll paper (75 baht).
A second more substantial offering was deep fried toasts and these would be better shared among four people as they were slightly heavy and in generous numbers. The other great success was a steaming dish of sea food in a red curry sauce, served in a banana leaf bowl. This was wonderfully tasty without taking off the roof of your mouth (90 baht). An accompaniment of deep fried Morning Glory with a Spicy Salad plus plain rice (15 baht a portion) left no room even to consider a tempting pudding. All this was washed down with two beers apiece.
Service can be a little erratic with the young staff not always designated to concentrate on specific tables. Also, Thai style, dishes can arrive haphazardly, although the menu does state if there is a long preparation time as in the case of our curry (20 minutes). The best bet is to latch on to one member of staff as we did in the case of the smiling Tom who proved attentive and efficient. With his tip the total bill came to 700 baht, including drinks. This is without doubt one of the best value places in town considering the stylish ambience and the quality and quantity of the food, which entices you to relax and enjoy it and not rush as is too often the case in some eateries.


Oysters Kilpatrick

Oysters have been given cult status over the years, and have ascribed aphrodisiac qualities, although it has also been said that the bravest man of all time was the one who ate the first oyster. Purists will say that oysters should only be eaten as Oysters Natural, with a slice of lemon and ground black pepper, but Oysters Kilpatrick is a popular alternative way to indulge. It is also a way you can offer your guests oysters, but very cheaply from the local markets. With local oysters less than 100 baht a bag, here’s a way to the high life - on the cheap! All you have to do is to have saved the oyster shells from a previous dinner.

Cooking Method
Put cleaned shells on a baking tray and heat in a moderate oven. Mix Worcestershire sauce and cream. When shells are hot, place two oysters on each shell. Use tongs to handle the shells, as they get very hot. Add a little of the cream mixture to each shell; sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Top the oysters with chopped bacon and fine breadcrumbs. Place baking tray under a salamander and grill until bacon is crisp but not burnt and oysters are warmed through.

Ingredients                    Serves 4
Oysters                                           48
Oyster shells                                   24
Worcestershire sauce                 1 tspn
Cream                                        1 cup
Pepper and salt
Bacon rashers, chopped finely 250 gm