Ruen Tamarind at Tamarind Village: By Neil Robinson
Appetizing Thai food in peaceful, charming surroundings
Tamarind Village hotel is near the centre of the old city,
but so discreetly set back away from the road, that I had
not even realised it was there. When you enter the grounds
it has the feel of being out in somewhere quietly rural (but
without the cocks crowing and the other noises that usually
make a real village far less peaceful). A huge, old tamarind
tree shades one of the courtyards. Lanna and Spanish Mission
are two of my favourite styles of architecture. The hotel
combines them in a successful blend, with Lanna style roofs
and shady cloisters and rough stucco from the other side of
the world. In the restaurant you sit on an open, shaded
terrace looking along the swimming pool and towards the
surrounding courtyard. The effect, particularly at night
with the courtyard softly lit, is charming. No real village,
of course, could ever look as attractive!
The menu is predominantly Thai food, but also includes a
range of Western food. I was pleased to see that vegetarian
versions of many dishes are also offered. We tried the Thai
food, which is the restaurant’s speciality. In among the
menu items, in addition to more standard or central Thai
dishes, are dishes from the north and from Isaan, together
with some more Chinese-influenced offerings. As anyone who
has spent any time in Thailand knows well, the same word can
be transliterated into Roman letters in many different ways.
To avoid confusion, I will use the names of dishes as they
are spelled on the menu. Please note that all prices quoted
below are plus tax and plus 10% service. We specified
“spicy”, when there was a choice, but the restaurant will
prepare medium or milder versions of the dishes, if you
We started with three dishes as appetizers. Tord Man Goong
(190 baht), crispy fried shrimp cakes, had a nice light
texture. Sometimes, when I have eaten this elsewhere, the
texture is good, but I am disappointed with the bland
flavour. This was not the case here - there was a good,
clear, but not overly strong, seafood flavour. Spicy scallop
salad was indeed spicy and flavourful, served with tasty
basil leaves. Som Tahm Moo Yang (160 baht), green papaya
salad with pork, was spicy hot, as som tahm should be, with
good tender roast pork.
We followed with Nam Prik Goong Klang Dong (180 baht). This
was a paste of shrimp, garlic and chili, served with fresh
vegetables, and was described as the chef’s signature dish.
I found this the most interesting dish we ate. The texture
was excellent, more crispy than I expected, from the dried
shrimp, and it had an appetizing combination of strong
Tom Kha Gai (180 baht), chicken in a coconut milk soup
flavoured with kha (galangal) and lemongrass, is a staple of
Thai cooking. This was a tasty version, with a clear flavour
of galangal, so necessary to this dish, and sometimes
lacking when I have eaten it elsewhere.
For curries, we tried Hor Mok Talay Maprao On (250 baht),
seafood red curry in a whole coconut, with young coconut
meat. This is one of my favourite curries, and they did it
well, flavourful but not too spicy hot. Our second curry was
Kang Ped Yang Linchee (320 baht), sliced roast duck in red
curry with lychee. Duck and lychee in curry is a somewhat
unusual combination and, although the flavour was
interesting, this was, to my taste, a combination that did
not quite work out.
I tried their two house white wines, “special” (250 baht a
glass) and “premium” (300 baht). I found the premium very
drinkable and worth the extra 50 baht. The wine list is the
largest I can remember seeing in a Thai restaurant, with
wines from all over the world. Prices start at 900 baht for
Monsoon Valley wines from Thailand, which go well with the
spicy flavours of Thai food. Some may be surprised to hear
that Thailand is a wine exporting nation, but I understand
that Monsoon Valley export much of their production, most of
it to be sold in Thai restaurants under the slogan “Thai
Wine for Thai Food”.
If you are looking for a very pleasant place to enjoy both
appetizing Thai cuisine and attractive surroundings, then
Ruen Tamarind is well worth trying. The address is 50/1
Rajdamnoen Rd. The website is www. tamarindvillage.com. I’d
like to hear from you on your experience of this restaurant.
Please contact me at: [email protected] Next week will be
something different, a wine bar which serves light food, but
where the emphasis is, of course, on the wine.
Satays make an ideal BBQ food. Speared on a
stick or skewer, you can eat single-handed while holding a drink in the other!
To make the best satays, marinade, marinade, marinade! To make these pork satays
memorable, marinate the meat in a zip-lok bag in the fridge overnight and
prepare the skewers the next day. It is messier, but the result is better. By
the way, use the commercially available satay sauce you can get in the local
Cut the pork into flat, bite sized pieces. In a large bowl,
combine the garlic, onion, coriander, brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and
vegetable oil. Now place the pork meat into the bowl and thoroughly mix each
piece in the marinade. Pour the meat and marinade into the bag and leave in the
Before cooking, thread the meat on to skewers that have been soaked in water for
30 minutes and cook over a hot BBQ or on the griller. Do not overcook pork.
Serve the satays with commercially available peanut sauce.
Ingredients Makes ten 12 inch
½ large onion
Coriander (fresh) minced
Lime juice from