The Garden Bar: By Brian Baxter
Friendly Restaurant with Thai, Western and Lebanese Menu
someone asked me recently, had I never thought about
reviewing The Garden Bar and Restaurant, which is a place I
eat at with modest regularity and pleasure - at least once a
month. A good question, and especially apt since the
sensibly modest menu has been expanded in the past months. I
guess part of the answer is because one thinks of it firstly
as a bar and also as an adjunct to a hotel, the Lotus - a
place to eat conveniently on their monthly quiz night,
(arranged by none other than the Mail’s chief photographer -
that man gets everywhere!) or when visiting people who live
Certainly, it is worth a visit, not least because the
clearly expressed menu comes in three sections: Thai,
western dishes and Lebanese, of which there are some 20
choices in the first group and only slightly less in the
others. The Thai food includes such staples as chicken with
cashew nuts, fried rice with prawns, (95 baht), some salads
and soups. The western choices range from such things as
hamburgers, with a plentiful side order of French fries and
pork chops with ginger at 145 baht. For the more unusual
Lebanese options one may start off, (excellent to share and
then move on to individual main course), with hummous with
pitta bread or the same classic bread grilled with
mozzarella cheese, each at 100 baht. The main courses come
plentifully garnished, with potatoes, rice and vegetables.
Naturally, since the centre piece of the courtyard and
garden restaurant area is a very well stocked bar, drinks
are in plentiful supply and wine may be had by the glass or
bottle. Beers include Singha at 60 baht and others including
Heineken, plus a stock of spirits and soft drinks. There is
a small, rather prettier, eating section to the right of the
bar near the hotel entrance and some larger wooden tables
around the bar itself. This is the more convivial area,
since it is open and. if one is eating alone, one is likely
to see familiar faces around and - happily - some fresher
As you’ll have gathered from the few prices given, this is
not an overly expensive place and the food is cooked to
order - the menu says up to 30 minutes cooking time, but
this has never been the case from my experience. And
starters arrive especially promptly since they require less
preparation - waiting time is therefore minimal.
This is an unpretentious restaurant with exceptionally
friendly staff and a pleasant ambience. I think that many
people - myself included - take it for granted. In one
version or another, the hotel and its associated bar and
eatery have always been with us. I certainly recall that on
my first ever visit to Chiang Mai, (could it be some 20
years ago? Or more?), I certainly stayed at the Lotus.
Whether I had food there other than breakfast, I certainly
cannot recall. It’s rather like an old friend… taken for
You will find The Garden Bar and Restaurant at 2/25
Viengbuk, Chotana Road, Chang Puak. Tel 053 215 376.
Bell Pepper Oysters
Oysters are plentiful and cheap in Thailand. You can buy a
bottle of shelled oysters at your local fish market for less than B. 100. This
recipe calls for the oysters to be baked at 450 degrees, so no worries about
eating raw oysters either. The alternative name for this dish is ‘Oysters
Put a layer of rock salt along the bottom of a baking dish.
Embed the 24 oyster shells on the rock salt and now place the oysters on the
shells. In a small mixing bowl, cream butter; blend in onion, parsley, and green
pepper. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Spoon butter mixture on to oysters and top each with a small piece of the
partially cooked bacon. Bake at 450 degrees until bacon is crisp and oysters
have curled at the edges. Serve with additional lemon juice.
24 oysters and
Chopped fresh parsley
Green bell pepper finely chopped
Bacon, partially cooked, cut in quarters 6 strips
Fresh lemon juice
Salt and cracked black pepper
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