D2 Hotel Buffet: By Neil Robinson
The Moxie restaurant shows how a buffet should be done
In last week’s
column, I told how we try to review and recommend
restaurants that we believe CM Mail readers will enjoy
visiting. Restaurants that we try which do not seem
worth recommending, for whatever reason, we generally do
not waste time returning to and we do not review. As a
consequence of this policy, we end up going to many more
restaurants than we write reviews for. My experience
this week is a good example of the difficulties (for the
reviewer) of this policy.
I started the week by trying a recently opened farang
food restaurant, which had been strongly recommended to
me, with the intention of reviewing it. Unfortunately,
although it shows real potential, it is just not yet
ready. I felt it would be an unkindness to review it
now, since that might damage its chances of survival in
a tough market. Given time, it may well fulfill its
potential. I plan to go back there in a few months in
the hope that they have worked out their problems.
A couple of days later, I tried a buffet, which again
had been recommended. In fact, I tried this particular
buffet some time ago, and thought it might make a
suitable topic for a review. The food this time
certainly was not bad, indeed some of it was very good,
but the general impression (taking into account the
significant cost) was of mediocrity. It illustrated the
reasons why I usually tend to avoid buffets – some items
that simply were not as fresh as they should have been,
or were not served at the right temperature, usually too
cold, or were tasteless or blandly seasoned, presumably
with the intention of not offending anyone. I left
feeling I did not want to recommend it.
So, what on earth was I going to review this week? With
misgivings, I tried another buffet, this time at the
Moxie restaurant in the D2 Hotel. This was one of the
Moxie’s periodic buffets, highlighting different
cuisines. This time it was Mexican food. I spent almost
30 years in California. During this period, and on
occasional visits to Mexico, I ate Mexican food on many
occasions. Unlike in California, so far as I know there
are not that many Mexicans in Chiang Mai, so I did not
have very high expectations going in. I was wrong. Moxie
showed how a buffet should be done, with much freshly
prepared food to order, such as fajitas and quesadillas,
and good clear flavours. The buffet was also very
attractively laid out. There were aspects that may not
have been entirely authentically Mexican, but overall it
was among the best Mexican-style food I have tasted in
many years of eating it.
It may be a while before D2 do a Mexican buffet again (I
hope not too long), so I will not go into too much
detail on the food, just mention a few of the items
which particularly struck me, among the very wide range
on offer. Chicken mole (mole indicates a chocolate-based
sauce) is one of my favourite dishes, surprisingly not
particularly common in Mexican restaurants in
California. This sauce was more delicate, and less
bitter, than many I have had, but this version was
definitely to my taste, subtle and well-balanced. The
tacos, that staple of Mexican fast food, struck me not
only for the filling, featuring excellent beans, but
especially for the taco shell. This was not only really
thin and crisp, but had a distinct corn tortilla flavour
that came through really well. Still on the theme of
tortillas, I enjoyed the spicy, but not hot, tortilla
There were many other dishes worthy of note, but I just
want to mention the desserts. I have never thought of
desserts being a big part of Mexican cooking, with the
exception of flan, arroz con leche and churros of
course. All these were on offer, along with many more,
including delicious lime avocado ice cream, tangerine
mousse flavoured with licorice, and something described
as “tacos filled with fruit and chocolate mousse.” These
last were not like any tacos I have had before – the
shell was sweet and crisp and took me back nostalgically
to the brandy snaps of my childhood in England.
The cost for the buffet was 800 baht and refreshing
margaritas were 150 baht. These prices include both tax
and service. Not cheap, but worth it. I welcome comments
at: [email protected]
Spicy Red Snapper
Snapper is in good supply and is always a
tasty fish. This dish spices up the snapper and is always a favorite with any
Thai guests. The spiciness comes from the garlic, so add another clove if you
want to increase the fire.
Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle the fillets with lemon juice
and let stand.
Heat oil in a skillet over med-low heat. Stir in the bell peppers, garlic and
onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the fillets and cook 1 minute per side. Leaving fillets in the skillet, add
the wine, parsley, basil, cayenne and pepper. Cover and simmer 2 minutes.
Transfer to an ovenproof glass baking dish. Spoon tomatoes over the fish.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and ground pepper. Bake in oven until fish is
opaque, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately with rice.
Red snapper fillets
Fresh lemon juice
Green bell peppers chopped ½ cup
Dry white wine
Fresh parsley chopped 1
Fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese grated ¼ cup
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