Maze 2 Opens: By Brian Baxter

Same – same, but different (location)

With Maze 1 well established, it was logical for the ambitious people behind that and other restaurants to open up Maze 2 in the popular Nimmenhaemen Road – home of so many eateries. They describe the style as ‘simply modern Thai and international food’, and the original café – their preferred description – at Boonruangrit Road has already proved very popular with young(ish) Thais. Oddly, it attracts less tourists and resident farangs than it should. Partly I think because it is not that easy to get to without transport (there is plenty of parking space) of one’s own or by tuk tuk. The location is about 3-400 meters along from the Chiang Mai Ram hospital and coming from the busy junction at the bottom of Huay Kaew Road necessitates a walk against the traffic on the moat side and then a precarious march across the busy main road. Take a tuk tuk!
Maze 2, between Soi 8 and 10, at the ground level of the Vien Ping Condo is situated on the more pedestrian friendly Nimmenhaemen Road (not that friendly of course – this is Chiang Mai!) and as a consequence only offers two parking spaces. If you already know the original, there are few surprises in store. After all if it ain’t broken, why fix it? The extensive menu is exactly the same. The ‘tough’ architecture, with the accent on concrete, wood and subdued colors is equally striking and attractive and the friendly and efficient staff even boasts a couple of members from the other branch. As there, a disc jockey comes in around 21.30 until closing time.
Maze 2 has a (noisy) terrace with just eight tables and room for about 40 customers inside and is therefore somewhat smaller than big brother a couple of kilometers away. I went there on a Tuesday with the Mail’s photographer and his friend who was sporting an even bigger and smarter camera. They were so busy chatting about the lens sizes, they let me choose the food. For drinks, we had two large Singha beers (90 baht) and two soda waters.
The meal began with two appetizers: a spicy tuna salad and some deep fried fish patties (85 baht). The ‘mains’ (along with four portions of rice- the friend has an appetite as big as his telephoto) were equally tasty. A dish of Rambutan with spicy prawn salad (95 baht) deep fried morning glory with a spicy topping, seafood in red curry and deep fried fish with herbs (90 baht). The total bill for this substantial meal came to 350 baht a head, including a tip, which is exceptionally reasonable given the quality, quantity and the overall surroundings.
The menu is well laid out, very clearly printed in both Thai and English and so extensive that it is impossible to do more than list a few items – all of which I have tried at Maze 1 (they offer a special 10 % discount card for 200 baht by the way) –and enjoyed. They include Seafood with spicy chili sauce (150 baht), ticinella pasta with clams (85 baht), stir fried prawns with palm hearts (100 baht), stir fried asparagus with prawns and oyster sauce and a tom yam soup with sea food, which comes in a brimful steaming bowl and is the perfect brunch to cure any hangover – for under 100 baht.
Talking of which I should mention the drinks menu, which is also large and includes a cocktail list, most of which are around 120 baht, wine by the glass at 130, by carafe at 480 and no less than 26 different bottles at 1100 baht for imported and 800 baht for the Thai wines. Coffees, soft drinks and juices and cocktails are too numerous to list. I have not tried any of the so-called European dishes or the puddings, but the latter include chocolate mousse (75 baht) tiramisu (70 baht) and mandarin cake (60 baht). And they sell the best yoghurt which I have ever tasted and which is the highlight of their breakfast menu, served with pancakes and honey. The Wa-We coffee is also excellent.
I hope the residents of the Vien Ping condos realise how lucky they are to have Maze 2 on their doorstep. Let’s hope the people behind the venture find it a successful notion and start looking for other Condotels in need of them. Next stop the ground floor of Hillside 4 on Huay Kaew Road. Please!!!!


Fish fillets with garlic potatoes

You can use most kinds of fish fillets for this week’s recipe, just ensure that you very carefully fillet the fish, or that your supplier has done so. The flavor is quite delicate and you should be able to enjoy the garlic, both in the sauce for the fish and through the potatoes as well.

Cooking Method
In a skillet, deglaze with extra virgin olive oil, and sear fish on both sides until golden brown. Remove fish from skillet and place on a draining stand then cook in 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.
In the sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter plus capers, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon garlic and onions. Deglaze with white wine, add 3 teaspoons of chopped parsley. Reduce liquid by one third, add vinegar.
Prepare mashed potatoes by boiling, then add 2 teaspoons of minced garlic during the final mashing.
Serve the fish on the top of the potatoes and drizzle the sauce over the fish.
Garnish plate with 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley.Serve the fish on the top of the potatoes and drizzle the sauce over the fish.
Garnish plate with 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley.

Ingredients                 Serves 4- 6
Fish fillets                                  600 gm
Potatoes (steamer size)              500 gm
Garlic minced                              ¼ cup
Capers                                    4 tbspns
Onions diced                               ½ cup
Dry white wine                            ½ cup
Butter                                      250 gm
Tomatoes diced, peeled              ½ cup
Fresh parsley chopped             1 bunch
White balsamic vinegar               30 ml
Salt and pepper to taste