Tawan at the Centara Duangtawan Hotel:
by Mark Whitman
Busy restaurant bucks the trend in the city centre
During the past year I have remarked here and in Life in
Chiang Mai on the lack of business in hotels, restaurants,
shops and entertainment venues. How then can one explain the
success of the Tawan restaurant on the second floor of this
large hotel? Partly, of course, because of the location near
the night bazaar and also the fact that the hotel itself is
Even so, a regular turnover of 250 customers and twice that
number at the weekends is worth investigating as I did on a
recent Saturday evening where they have a lavish buffet.
This is also offered on Friday evenings and Sunday
lunchtimes. On other evenings there is an a la carte menu
(Thai) in operation.
At the weekends the food on offer (there are at least 50
dishes so please do not expect a full list!) is mainly
Japanese, plus Thai, Chinese and Korean in about that order.
Plus a cooking station (I tried the sea food flambe with
Thai herbs) and a large section of desserts, including
excellent ice cream.
The pricing is kept simple with four options, based on the
buffet. The most popular is at 310 baht with tea and mineral
water. You can opt for the food with a glass of wine or with
sake at 450 or as we did with free flow draft Singha beer
(490), all subject to plus plus.
The appeal of the restaurant seems to be in the relaxed
atmosphere, the range of food and the fact that there is
plenty of it, freshly offered on a non stop basis. Many
tables were in large groups and the eatery is obviously
catering successfully for a niche market, mainly of Thais.
As I remarked in a recent column, Japanese food is very
popular here and this venue has been running for some four
years with increasing success. They also have a Chinese
restaurant on the top floor with panoramic views of the
city. But this I cannot vouch for.
Having reviewed five Japanese restaurant this year out of a
total (I guess ) of over 40, I look forward to finding
another quintet in 2010. What has been interesting has been
the wide variation in style between Asahi, Tengoku de
Cuisine, the Tsunami and Rico de Rica and the latest.
There seems to be no end of choice in Chiang Mai, but in
this last ‘conventional’ column of the year may I ask for
your suggestions or recommendations for next year. Next week
my three favourite discoveries of 2009 and a handful of
others which have remained consistently good throughout the
same period. Meanwhile you can find Tawan restaurant open
each day for lunch and dinner at the Centara Duangtawan
Hotel, near the Night Bazaar.
Garlic and Lime Potato Wedges
Potato wedges are a very popular family dish. They are also
good to serve with pre-dinner drinks, but this recipe adds just a little
something more to the oven fried potato, with the addition of garlic and lime.
Small potatoes, cut into wedges
Garlic finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
Coriander chopped as garnish
Preheat oven to 375, oven
racks in the middle.
In a medium bowl toss the potato wedges with the olive oil, the
chopped garlic, a few big pinches of sea salt and a liberal
sprinkling of black pepper. Arrange the potatoes cut side down on a
baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, turning the
potatoes with a metal spatula half way through.
While the potatoes are baking, squeeze the lime and set the juice
When the potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the oven,
taste, and adjust the seasoning. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a big shallow bowl, sprinkle the Parmesan and coriander
over them and drizzle with the lime juice and present immediately to