The Spirit House Restaurant review
It is with concern and much disappointment that I read Mr. Brian Baxters’
review in your paper of the Spirit House restaurant.
I have been in Chiang Mai for two weeks, staying at Viangbua Mansions. One
night I ventured into Spirit House for dinner and have now been back on six
occasions. In the interests of fair play and accurate reportage, I would
like to relate to your readers that I have found my experiences to be at
polar opposites to that which Mr. Baxter wrote in his disparaging review.
Mr. Baxters’ assertions that Spirit House is devoid of choice or diversity
in the food that they offer is simply untrue. Steve, the owner / chef, has
created a quaint and quirky atmosphere which is very warm, friendly and
extremely accommodating. The menu is hand written daily and offers a range
of dishes from ingredients that Steve has sourced fresh that day. I have
eaten the food of some the worlds greatest chefs (Paul Bocuse, Jean-Georges
Vongerichten, Tetsuya Wakuda), and whilst I am by no means comparing what
Steve does to that rarefied company, what I can say is that
Steve serves tasty, home-style dishes that are well presented
and flavoursome. We are not talking Haute Cuisine here, we are talking
excellent renditions of old favourites that use fresh ingredients and are
presented simply but elegantly. Furthermore, where else does the
chef personally come to your table and ask if there is anything special that
he can prepare for you. But the beauty of Spirit House is that Steve does
this to every table. This sort of personal touch is just so
exquisitely bespoke, and it is this that is the charm of
Spirit House. So I implore your readers to take the review of
Mr. Baxter with a large dose of salt. The best and most accurate review that
they will attain is to go and try Spirit House for themselves.
Ed: May I invite Mr Hayward to re-read my review of The Spirit House
with rather more care and may I also be immodest enough to suggest that it
is rather more subtly flattering about the restaurant than he concedes. My
aim - as always - is to write about more than the food, (unless it is of
quite exceptional quality), and to convey something of the overall
experience, the ambience, staff and service, value and the ‘style’ ofthe
place. In other words, will it suit the reader?
I use as few adjectives as possible but a run through the text, beginning
with the headline I provided describing it as ‘atmospheric’ will yield the
following: ‘something of a rarity’, then delicious, (twice), inexpensive
(drinks), handy, intriguing, (artefacts), large space, cheap and cheerful,
Friendly, (staff), comfortable, decent, (his speakers), exotic and finally
‘out of the ordinary for Chiang Mai ‘. I also wrote, ‘it would be churlish
to complain at the cost’, quoting the reasonable average of 200 baht per
head including a beer. My, (seemingly unsuccessful), attempt at humour and
mild irony obviously eluded Mr Hayward, but I am genuinely surprised that my
overall review should have been interpreted as anything else than positive,
as a less hasty reading would have shown. In conclusion may I suggest that
seven visits to one restaurant in two weeks - though flattering to the place
-shows an astonishing lack of interest in the literally scores, possibly
hundreds, of worthwhile eating place in this wonderful city – not excluding
The Spirit House, of course.
Tennis courts deteriorate –
does anyone care?
Dear Khun Phitsanu:
I hope that your newspaper will look into the condition of the tennis courts
at the 700-Year Stadium, half of which (those on the south side) are in a
disgraceful state of disrepair. Many of the nets are torn, and most of the
court surfaces are badly cracked and full of holes and other surface
irregularities, large and small.
I first played tennis there in early 2006, and I assure you that since that
time nothing, or almost nothing, has been done to them by way of upkeep and
I spoke with a young lady there the other day who I believe was the
manager’s assistant, and she told me that there was no money for repairs and
maintenance because the “government” was not sending them any.
My question is: which governmental authority(ies) are responsible for
funding the stadium budget, and why has this disgraceful situation been
allowed to continue?
The “Party of the Year”!
We want to thank you so much for your wonderful coverage of our birthday
party.It is very flattering and special to have our ‘event’ written up and
your readers. Everyone had a lot of fun, and you have made it especially
memorable for us.
Tananan and David Wilson
Ban on alcohol - what’s forbidden, what’s allowed?
I am trying to arrange an anniversary party for two close friends. Their
Anniversary is on the same day as HM The Queen’s birthday. I have asked
several venues - pubs, restaurants etc if they are serving alcohol. Nobody
has been able to give me a definite - including 2 of the 4 star hotels here.
I do not want to be either disrespectful or break the law - but I wish the
law was a little bit clearer - so we know if we should or should not do
Maybe your editors could print the days which alcohol is banned - in advance
- so your readers will know. It must be awful for the alcoholics - not
knowing their favorite bar is going to be closed.