Some old favourites revisited:

And Moxxie’s at D2 – still ‘king’ of the buffets

By Brian Baxter

After a trip back to the U.K. and a few weeks return to Chiang Mai it’s been reassuring to find that that despite the absolutely catastrophic state of the tourist business in the City a few of the established favourites are still open for business and hanging on, albeit by their finger tips in a few cases, and even making a few improvements to their menus and general ambiance.

Moxxies at D2 offers a special buffet near the end of each month, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

So a brief mention of a few places that you may have read about in the Mail or can look up on the net. The absence of two or three regular favourites, suggests that they have not maintained standards. It is an odd fact that when business is slow some owners allow quality to fall and prices to rise: hardly intelligent entrepreneurship.

First a mention of not an old favourite but of Krok Mong, which I reviewed not so long after it opened on the Super Highway, about a couple of kilometres before the Grand View Hotel as you approach the Rin Kham intersection. They have improved their sign posting and also enclosed their previously open kitchen. They have added a roof to the eating area, in anticipation of the rainy season and turned down the music. The attractive Isaan style menu and inexpensive prices remain the same.

Krok Mong is a reasonably priced popular Thai restaurant for those craving Isaan food on the Super Highway.

At the Café de Nimmen at the Rooms section on Nimmenhaemen Road has a new, less cumbersome menu, though with a still wide range of excellent Thai food. They have new seating in the interior section of this popular restaurant and some more comfortable seating outside. It seems more spacious now. Quality and prices remain, happily, as before. Don’t forget should you go there, to walk on past the restaurant before or after dinner and have a drink and the friendly and elegant The Glass Onion, which opens from 8p.m. and serves some of the best wine and cocktails in Chiang Mai.

Mentioning wine bars reminds me that The Box is fairly new and well worth a visit. You will find it at the top of Soi 5 on Nimmenhae men Road. They serve many other drinks besides wine and have a good – if noisy – band. There is eating outside and upstairs. It makes an ideal place to visit before or after one or other of my other favourite eating places: the Koh Lanta Pizza house and next to it the very stylish (but sensibly priced) Rico de Rica.

Both these are a little way down on the left of Soi 5. The Japanese restaurant offers a few Spanish dishes along with its excellent main menu. I have been there twice recently with friends and we all agree that it offers some of the best food in the City, in a most attractive and unpretentious setting, with a pleasant staff overseen by an attentive owner.

I’ve also been a couple of times recently to another stylish venue, the Mokador coffee bar opposite Wat Phra Singh. It seems that they have decided not to open for their occasional evening sessions in the low season, but still offers some of the best coffee in town and a variety of food and set ‘breakfasts’ all day. Not only is it comfortable but, all too rarely in Thailand, they bring the coffee to you hot, not lukewarm.

And lastly a mention of an all-time favourite of mine, Moxxie’s restaurant on the ground floor level of the D2 hotel. As you may know they arrange a special buffet towards the end of each month, running for three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. These celebrate various national cuisines and their most recent one in May was – I think – their best ever. Dedicated to French food, it also had the attractive option of ad lib wine. The Chardonnay was superb and all too quaffable.

The range of food at these events is quite staggering. There are cold choices galore. And here the accent was on seafood, including oysters from both New Zealand and Chile. Plus superb salads and other foods as well as excellent cheeses and puddings. There were also numerous hot dishes and specially prepared food. It was a veritable feast. Nowhere in Chiang Mai, that I know, offers anything of comparable range and quality. Nor has more smart and attentive staff.

Their next event is on 24, 25 and 26 June and has the rather odd name of World Cup Cuisine Night in celebration of that event. It comes down to the fact that their indefatigable chef is going to provide a buffet based around South African food (sadly without wine this time, despite the fact that the country in question has some excellent wines). Now quite how this will work I have yet to discover but no doubt with the huge range of dishes they offer at these events we shall all find many things to please us.


Curried Chicken Squares

This is very similar to curry puffs, but instead of puff pastry you use slices of bread, like the English toasties. This is a fun recipe for children.

Ingredients      Serves 4-6
Soft white bread           18 slices
Minced cooked chicken  1/4 cup
Roasted shelled peanuts 1/4 cup
Minced green onion        1/4 cup
5-spice powder              1/8 tspn
Curry powder                   1 tspn
Sugar                           1/4 tspn
Dash pepper
Soy sauce                       1 tspn
Chopped parsley          2 tbspns
Egg yolk, slightly beaten         1
Oil for frying

Cooking method

Remove crusts from bread; cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap to keep soft. Make crumbs from crusts by putting a few at a time into a blender.

Combine three tablespoons bread crumbs with chicken, peanuts, green onion, 5-spice powder, curry powder, sugar, pepper, soy sauce, and parsley; mix well.

Roll bread slices very thin with a rolling pin. Cut each square in half, place a teaspoon of chicken mixture on each piece. Brush edges of bread with egg yolk; fold in half to form a square. Pinch to seal, trimming if necessary.

In a deep fryer, heat oil. Fry three or four chicken squares at a time, turning once until desired brown color is reached (about two minutes). Remove from oil and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat until all squares are cooked. May be served with mustard sauce. Makes about 36.