Charming Lanna style restaurant offers amazing value
This Thai restaurant opened earlier in the year
on the site of a place called the Golden Ball. It is
next to the Santitham Guest House and well worth seeking
out. I’ve been there three times since getting back into
town and can confirm four things: the food is very good,
it offers exceptional value, the service is swift and
polite and the décor and overall ‘feel’ of the venue is
both elegant and cosy.
So, let’s work through those four plusses.
The food is exclusively Thai with a comprehensive menu
divided into three sections, the largest of which
comprises some 40 plus choices of ‘main’ courses,
ranging in price from 60 to 120 baht. There are also
‘starters’ or smaller dishes and a range of single
choices, including various stir fried rice, (pork, fish,
chicken etc.), at 35 baht each. They offer stir fried
vegetables and stir fried morning glory with garlic also
at 35 baht. Portions are perfectly adequate, including
the steamed rice.
On my most recent visit a Thai friend and I opted for a
whole fish, with a piquant red curry sauce. This was
moist and very tasty and cooked to order. With it we had
the morning glory, two portions of rice and one of
shrimps with cashew nuts, (79 baht). Because we had
ordered the fish, (120 baht), we were given a
complimentary serving of a pork dish, which my friend
enjoyed. With a well deserved tip the food came in at
exactly 300 baht.
True, we bumped up the overall cost with glasses of wine
at 100 baht, but they serve carafe water and if you want
other drinks, fruit juices and soft options at around 40
baht. Singha beer is just 75 baht for the large size and
50 for the normal bottle. Heineken is 60 baht. Now I
will agree that plenty of Thai eateries can undercut
those prices and that often the food will be equally
good. But. And in that word lies the difference.
I doubt whether few if any of the alternatives offer
such an attractive setting and, if you get pleasure from
dining out rather than just eating, then this is a place
for you. There are two seating options: about 20- 24
conventional covers at large tables with comfortable
chairs and a similar number in ‘Japanese ‘style – low
tables and floor seating with banquettes and other
supports. There is a bar situated away from the dining
area and on another side a large kitchen which does not
impose itself on the diners.
Traditional Thai music occasionally gives way to some
conventional western songs but none of it is too
intrusive. The over all feel is one of tranquillity,
with wood and soft fabrics in abundance and a very large
courtyard area in which you are seated and, except for
one section, well under cover during this rainy season.
As already mentioned, the staff are a busy crowd. Menus
are promptly presented, along with a dish of crudités
and iced water and midway through the meal we have – on
each occasion – had an enquiry about the meal and
whether everything is to our liking. The only fair
response is yes, followed by empty plates.
You’ll find this attractive venue round the corner from
the guest house at 65 Santitham Road, Chang Puak. Should
you get lost, phone either 081 885 1329 or 089 951 4554
or you can go on to the web site at www.
sabeideesanthitham.com This has certainly been my most
pleasant discovery during the past few weeks and seems
to be an ideal place, offering decent food at fair
prices in a really pleasant setting. Who could ask for
Elephant and onion stew
This recipe is one I bring out every couple of years or so,
and it still makes me smile. It was given to me by David Levine, a chef who had
been in Thailand for some time, so was au fait with the ingredients. The
principal constituent is freely available in Thailand, and in fact, you would
probably be in line for a city administration grant if you took a couple from
the streets any night. The rabbits are harder to find, but I believe you can get
them on special order at supermarkets. It is not a quick stir-fry in the wok on
the street behind the kitchen, but apparently is worth the effort.
Cut elephant into bite sized pieces - preferably put aside
around four months for this part. Cook over a kerosene fire
for three months, or until tender. Now add onions, salt,
pepper and flour and cook until done, generally around two
days. If more people arrive than expected then add the
rabbits at this final stage (do this only if necessary, as
most people don’t like hares in their soup)
Elephant 1 large
Pepper ½ pail
Salt 2 pails
Onions 4 bushels
Water 93 gallons
Flour 6 pails
Rabbits (optional) 2
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