THE HOUSE ‘SPECIAL’
Making you an offer you can’t refuse
There’s something reassuring about ‘fine’ dining
in a well-run restaurant, where all the elements needed
for that experience fuse in an unostentatious oasis of
calm and civility. For a couple of hours hedonism rules
and the noisy outside world is held at bay. Nowhere,
that I know of in Chiang Mai, trumps The House for just
that experience. The key is in its lack of ‘showing
off’. If you’ve got IT, then unlike the character in The
Producers, there’s no need to flaunt it.
I reviewed this restaurant enthusiastically about a year
ago, and apart from a ‘make- over’ of the ground level
dining room little has changed, except for some
developments in the main menu. They are about to start
work on the private dining room and the ‘lounge area’
upstairs, but the adjoining Ginger & Kafe is still going
strong and the tapas menu is available. Adjoining the
bar area is a smart new design shop, Nomad. None of this
affects the actual dining room, so why another review if
the overall concept had not altered?
It’s simply that they have responded to the low (low!)
season by introducing monthly specials. The current one
has just ten days to run, although from August 1 we are
promised a new one and possibly some ‘extras’ in the way
of drinks. The July set menu offers four courses, plus
tea or coffee and a choice of red or white wine at just
900 baht, including tax but subject to a 10 per cent
I’m aware that around a thousand baht a head is above
the norm for the great majority of us who enjoy dining
out, but, should you not have visited The House, this is
a chance to enjoy a full scale meal there at more modest
cost. Naturally the excellent a la carte menu continues
and you can take your own wine with a corkage charge of
As mentioned, this menu is set, offering only a choice
between fish or meat as the main course. If I have one
criticism to make, it is the lack of choice in the
second course, which is soup. This is purely personal
but I would have enjoyed the chance of a salad at this
point, which is less filling before a substantial main
dish. I doubt whether a choice at this stage as well
would tax the kitchen too much.
On this visit, I and my friend and occasional
photographer Neil (he of Bridge to Paradise note), were
presented with the special offering, tartare of tuna,
soup, either pork or red snapper, then panna cotta with
raspberry coulis, tea or coffee. The red and white wines
by the glass were from the Argentine.
The menu is deliberately listed rather starkly, since it
seems attractive enough to stand on its own, as both
balanced and interesting. The excitement as always is in
the detail. It was preceded by a variety of breads and
rolls, accompanied by two contrasted dips and some herb
butter. Mineral water was served with an amuse bouche of
seared tuna - excellent.
The tartare, looking elegantly lonely, came perched on a
large and gleaming white plate and was a classic of it
kind: the finely chopped raw fish, mixed with equally
fine onion and peppers in a spiky dressing that,
together with the salt and lemon, effectively ‘cooks’
it. The pumpkin soup was generously served, piping hot
and was lush, creamy and rather filling. We had both
opted for the breaded snapper and the cut of
whiter-than-white fish was properly cooked so that it
was moist and flaky but well heated through. It rested
on a bed of spinach, with scalloped potatoes around it.
The sweet panna cotta, drizelled with the slightly sharp
sauce, rounded off the meal before the option of tea or
The white wine we chose was a Chardonnay, served lightly
chilled rather than cold, which went perfectly with the
starters. Now I have to be honest and tell you that the
meal was further enhanced by the generosity of Neil who
had brought along a full-bodied Chilean: a Cabernet
Sauvignon, to be precise. This saw us through the meal
including the arrival of a stunning chocolate cake.
When the talented guitarist moved into Happy Birthday, I
glanced around to see who was the celebrant, only to
find three charming, singing waiters heading in my
direction, with a cake bearing a mercifully discreet
single candle. Heavenly. Both the choir and the cake!
And only a couple of days early…
As you’ll gather, the meal was special throughout, but
that alone might not elicit a glowing review, especially
without the extra wine and pudding. However, let’s add
that the service is impeccable: friendly and solicitous
though never intrusive. The room is one of the most
attractive and comfortable dining areas in the City,
with good sized tables, well spaced and subtle though no
longer dim, (a slight fault before the redecoration),
lighting. There are smart artefacts, enhancing the ‘mock
The music is provided by the resident classical
guitarist and contributes to the relaxed mood. Given all
of the above, plus the central location and the parking
area in the grounds, The House offers a rare combination
of convenience and elegance. The present specials add
exceptional value as well. And although I have not
sampled it, since I am not a ‘lunch person’, you could
alternatively try the next door Ginger & Kafe for their
midday special of Thai food at 300 baht if you prefer to
eat during the day.
You’ll find them, (and Nomad), at 199 Moonmuang Road,
only a few hundred yards from Thapae Gate. Telephone
contact is 053 419 014 and the main restaurant opens at
Scrambled eggs - pure and simple
It is amazing just how many recipes there are for scrambled
eggs, and whilst adding cheese, onion, ham, bacon and countless other
ingredients may sound enticing, nothing beats a nicely cooked, fluffy scrambled
Ingredients Serves three
Eggs large 6
Low-fat milk 6 tspns
Salt 3 dashes
Heat a large non-stick
frying pan to a setting just above medium.
In large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and salt. Beat
vigorously for two minutes.
Melt the butter in the frying pan. As the very last of the butter is
liquefying, add the egg mixture.
As the egg mixture begins to cook, break up the larger pieces with a
wooden spatula and push towards the center of the pan.
When there is no more runny mixture, allow the eggs to cook 15 to 25
seconds longer and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.
By the way, you can use soy milk instead of low fat milk, and a
pinch of baking soda will make the scrambled eggs even more fluffy.