Vol. VI No. 43 - Tuesday
December 18, - December 24, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


DINING OUT - KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK & ENTERTAINMENT
 

Moxxie Restaurant at D2: By Brian Baxter

An oasis of calm in the Night Bazaar

Asked to name the worst restaurants in Chiang Mai a couple of prime contenders would spring immediately to mind. One a short stone’s throw from a 5 star hotel and the other a harder throw from the night bazaar. (I’m not talking about aberrations such as well-known food outlets, which have transformed the culinary art to new levels of indifference and ineptitude, but rather eateries with pretensions). Both these places and others I could think of are popular, mainly with tourists and taste-blind residents, and offer food from conveyor belts at ludicrous prices, served by staff who wish to be ingratiating but end up as condescending. Bad is bad – in any language.
Asked to name the ‘best’ restaurant in the City and I would find that an impossible task. One man’s small change is another’s mortgage. Some like it hot. A person may like a relaxed atmosphere, another prefers formality. The variations are endless. Best in its ‘class’, best value, best regardless of price, best Thai, best Japanese? Each to his own and even then it will depend on the company, the chef’s mood and the choice of dish. So next week and the week after a selection of a dozen or so places that belong on any good food guide to Chiang Mai.
And this week not, perhaps, that impossible ‘best’, but simply the restaurant I most enjoy going to, in what might be called the middle price range. It’s the Moxxie at D2.
A place where I feel comfortable and which I have found completely consistent in its quality of food, service and mood. I have eaten there alone, with Thais, with visiting relatives and friends and in groups attending their memorable buffet nights, notably the Japanese inspired events.
Two points to note: the modern décor, the large entrance and bar and the well spaced tables are not to everyone’s taste and one rather old-fashioned friend even tut-tutted over the ‘outlandish’ staff uniforms, which I find most becoming. Secondly, although the food is sensibly priced, there is no doubt that alcoholic drinks can be expensive, especially the classier wines, and fancier offerings such as Champagne cocktails (550 baht) and the top quality grappa. The prices do not include service or taxes nor those little ‘extras’ such as mineral water so they too can send the bill into a new level. But choose sensibly and the prices are reasonable given the style and quality of the food and setting.
What then of the food and those potentially expensive drinks? Well beers such as Singha and Heineken are 120 baht, cocktails hover around the 200 baht mark and wine by the glass ranges from 180 baht for the perfectly drinkable Monsoon Valley Shiraz or Colombard from Thailand to the slightly more expensive offerings from Chile or Australia. Top-notch vintages, superior whiskies, the aforementioned eau de vie and other drinks are all there for the asking. But staying at ground level, wines range from 800 baht to around 1800 baht a bottle.
The food menu - given clearly in Thai and English - can only be described as ‘fusion’. Thai elements of course, but cleverly integrated with Japanese and other Asian food as well as Italian.
There is a salad/appetizer section, a small selection of soups (110 to 190 baht), pasta and noodles dishes and what are called main dishes, including the delicious snow fish, Australian steaks (around 500 baht) and excellent spicy offerings including fried scallops with chili sauce, bok choy and Chinese crispy noodles or wok fried butterfly prawns with black pepper, mushrooms and jasmine rice (each 350 baht).
My personal favorites are the Royal Project salads and these can be served simply with the classic D2 dressing (130 baht) or variations such as smoked salmon or with walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Alternatively opt for a Caesar salad or the crispy fried trout with banana blossom leaves and Thai betal (230 baht). Or for my money quite the best thing on the menu, the nori wrapped tuna loin, ginger and coriander, with a salsa and wasabee mayonnaise accompaniment. This makes a superb main course to follow one of their very generous salads.
A range of pastas can be had with classic sauces such as carbonara or bolognaise, or more inventively with calamari, basil and roasted garlic or spicy variations (around 250). Curries, noodles dishes are also tasty or you might head for the ‘mains’, which include rack of lamb or pork. But leave room for the desserts if those tempt you. They can be had singly or you might like to taste a mini selection of four different sweets, which make a perfect dish for sharing - as indeed does the ‘signature’ dish from the starters, with four choices on one elegant plate.
It’s worth mentioning that the portions are generous and all ingredients superbly fresh. Tempting breads with dips are served and unless you have a ravenous appetite I doubt you’ll go away hungry. More importantly, your taste buds will have been awakened.
There’s no doubt that the Moxxie offers one of the most satisfying ‘dining out ‘ experiences to be had anywhere in Chiang Mai - and far beyond.
Moxxie at D2 100 Chang Klan Road, Chiang Mai 50100
Tel. 053 99 9999 Open every day for lunch and dinner.

 

Indian-style vegetable soup

This is the cold season, and a hot spicy soup is a great way to start the evening meal. Many European vegetable soups require much cooking and simmering, but this Indian vegetable soup only takes 15 minutes of cooking time. You can increase the garlic to three cloves and add some chilli powder if you want to give it more spiciness.

Cooking Method
Heat the butter in the pot and then fry the onions until transparent. Add the crushed garlic and cook until the onion turns golden in colour.
Add all the remaining vegetables and pour in 1.5 litres of boiling water. Stir well and then cook gently for 12 minutes.
Finally, add the black pepper, turmeric and salt to taste. Stir well, sprinkle on the coriander garnish and serve.

Ingredients                 Serves 4
Onions, large and coarsely chopped 2
Carrot, large julienned                     1
Celery sticks, sliced                       2
Garlic crushed                      2 cloves
White cabbage, shredded       350 gm
Tomatoes, skinned and diced          8
Butter                                 4 tbspns
Black pepper finely ground      1 tspn
Turmeric ground                     1 tspn
Salt to taste
Coriander, finely chopped      1 tbspn



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