The Elizabethan Room
: By Brian Baxter
Traditional ‘Englishe Foode’
comes to Chiang Mai
now, as the saying goes, for something completely different.
Well, certainly in northern Thailand. I know there are
outlets in this city for English food, even fish and chips
and pub grub, although I must confess I have not been to any
of them. But the notion of restaurant fare based on recipes
which had their origins in the time of Elizabeth I seemed a
little more intriguing. If truth be told the food might - in
most cases - be called simply traditional British without
the added history. Still it has given the owners a chance to
decorate the walls with ‘photographs’ from the first
Elizabethan period along with other artifacts, befitting
16th century Englishe fayre.
The food can best be described as hearty and portions are
not for the faint hearted or those with small appetites.
It’s unlikely that many customers (unless a Henry VIII
look-alike strolls in) will go away hungry. In fact my
second salmon fillet was nicely wrapped and put into a
plastic container to take home. Other main course besides
the one I chose included Beef and Stout Pye (250 baht),
Abbots Private Fish Pye and Roasts of the Day (200 baht).
All dishes are served with lashings of vegetables and mashed
I think by now you might have got the message but in case
not, let me mention the fact that wine is available by the
glass (130 baht) or bottle or you can bring your own with a
100 baht corkage charge. But their preference is for you to
drink Olde Englishe Cider or cold Guinness. They go with the
The restaurant comprises a single dining room with just 40
covers. The tables are laid with spotless white tablecloths,
gleaming glasses and cutlery. There’s subdued background
music and the place is unfussy and the host welcoming. No
concessions are made to other food; there are no Thai dishes
or offers of pastas to bulk up the menu. The cook knows her
area of expertise - home prepared, home cooked English food,
with the accent on quality ingredients served piping hot in
large portions. To her credit, I doubt whether she has even
heard the expression ‘boil in the bag’.
By the time this review appears the Christmas and New Year
menu will have been discarded so no chance for you to taste
- as I did - the excellent Christmas pudding. But the menu
which the Mail’s photographer and I sampled will be in use
and from it our cameraman chose the meat Pye, which was
brought to the table steaming and covered with freshly
cooked pastry and an additional jug of sauce. He had
preceded it with a home made soup (60 baht) served in a very
large hollowed out bread roll. As so often, beaten at the
post he opted for a sorbet as his finale.
I should perhaps mention that before your order arrives,
slightly sweet crisply coated bread is served accompanied by
a delicious sauce based around chestnuts. The French notion
of an amused bouche, a little taster to tickle the taste
buds, would be laughed out of court here.
Other starters include liver pate and a ridiculously moreish
Welsh rarebit (55 baht), a dish fit to be set before any
queen, Elizabethan or otherwise. Puddings, apart from the
Christmas variety, are offered in degrees of ‘naughtiness’
along with the option of cheese and crackers (140 baht). Our
meal, including a glass of wine and a beer, with tip, came
to 400 baht each. It would be easy to eat heartily for less
The Elizabethan Room serves breakfast, lunch and Olde
Englishe cream teas (180 baht) as well as dinner. They are
based at 252/1 Charoenwat Road, Chiang Mai, a few yards from
the River Ping Condo. Tel: 053 306 443. To get there, cross
Nakhon Ping Bridge coming from the direction of the American
Consulate and take the first left at the traffic immediately
after crossing the narrow bridge. They are located on the
French Onion Soup
This is probably the simplest way to make French Onion Soup in the world.
Being a French national symbol, countless cooks have given their renderings of
this classic soup, from Escoffier onwards till today. This particular recipe
came from Sue Bett in her long out of date recipe book “Great Ideas Galley
Guide”, and I have also modified it slightly. This makes for a very hearty dish.
French Onion Soup should be served very hot.
Fry the onions in the butter until soft and
transparent in a saucepan. Add the stock and grated rind and simmer for 10
minutes. Remove rind with a fine strainer and add sherry.
Now place a slice of toast in the bottom of the serving bowls and pour the soup
into each bowl. The toast will float to the top, and sprinkle it with the grated
cheese and then briefly microwave to melt the cheese, or place under the
Onions, large, sliced
Lemon or lime rind, grated 1 lemon/lime
Beef stock cubes
in 2 liters water Sherry 4 tbspns
Cheddar cheese, grated 8 tbspns
Whole wheat toast 4 slices