Thai food in an ‘imaginary jungle’
Contributors to this column have – over
many years – reviewed every style of eating place from the
local Thai stalls and hide-aways and would-be bistros to the
upper reaches of Tengoku de Cuisine and the smart dining
rooms of five star hotels. Few can have reported on anything
quite like this very large eating place which is found in
the Hang Dong area: (location and contact details are given
at the end of the column).
Khaomao-Khaofang is a venue which aims at
offering more than just good Thai food and sensible prices.
Its design offers a feeling of space (tables are well set
apart) and a sense of being far outside the city. Behind the
large parking area set off the main road, they offer in
their own words ‘an imaginary jungle’.
The central eating area (which is flanked
by more ‘discreet’ annexes and a large air conditioned
‘coffee lounge’) is inevitably artificial since the ‘trees’
support a vast domed roof, with a water feature in the
centre. The surrounds include a lake, some pretty waterfalls
and the ‘jungle’. Minus any marauding animals, that is.
The seating potential is high, but in the
current low season the concentration was on airiness.
Recently there was a party of 30 to 40 boisterous students
on the far side of the restaurant but they caused little
concern. My Thai companion and I were seated nearer the
water and thanks to many fans and the openness it seemed
cool. Apparently in high season (remember that folks from a
few years ago?) it attracts many Thai and tourist groups.
With a drop of some 80 per cent in visitors to the Rose of
the North that is not the case at present.
Service was professional and attentive (rather
annoyingly so, since we first ordered drinks and then found
that the waiter stood poised at the table whilst we wished
to check the large menu before ordering) though inevitably
it lacked the personal touch of more ‘local’ style eateries.
Our Singha beers came quickly and the food followed soon
after, piping hot and quite plentiful. There was no wine
list on show but I noticed later that Italasia had a display
of wines and there were some on the counter. Still we were
happy with the local brew.
We chose stir fried vegetables, a soup
for my friend, deep fried fillets of fish with mixed herbs
and a curry with prawns. Plus rice, of course. The bill with
a tip and including two large beers came to 700 baht and
seemed – given the quality and the ambiance par for the
course. I guess this is an ideal place to take out of town
visitors or perhaps a family or other group who might feel
crowded in a conventional restaurant. That said there are
plenty of ‘cosy’ sections for dinner ‘a deux’.
They are open from 11a.m. until 10p.m.
each day and the phone numbers are 053 838444 or 053 441908.
They have a website at www.khaomaokhaofang.com and the
location is 181 Moo 7 Ratchaphruek Road, Nonglaval, Hang
Dong, Chiang Mai 50230. They are a few minutes drive from
the Airport area and about three kilometres away from the
Hang Dong Big C.