Charming and inexpensive Italian – Thai Restaurant
Entering the Oregano one immediately has
a sense of welcome, well being and optimism. True
appearances can be deceptive and the bottom line is going to
be was the food good and was it fairly priced? Well to
answer those points briefly. Yes and yes: in fact, not just
good but very good and excellent value. More of that later
along with details of the location etc.
The approach to the restaurant is off
Canal Road into a leafy area called Nandakwang Garden Mall,
which also boasts a Thai restaurant, some houses and
offices. You’ll find Oregano directly facing you on the
ground level of a spacious modern house, with the kitchen to
the right of the dining area. There is a verandah with a
seating area for those wanting to dine al fresco.
Inside the restaurant there is seating
for about 24 people, with sturdy, reasonably spaced tables
for two, four or six people. The actual room is delightful.
With its very high ceiling and long stemmed fans. The walls
are a creamy white and the whole sense is of freshness – and
dare I say this, especially in print? –proclaiming a woman’s
touch; pretty pottery and filled jars on a white dresser,
exceptional cleanliness and pleasant background music
complete the picture.
I could not help thinking of the contrast
to a Hong Kong style eatery which I went to for a review
only the week before and could find nothing to recommend,
with its dingy room, clattering tables on bare boards and
greasy food. At Oregano I was immediately predisposed to
enjoy the evening and the menu completed the sense of
It is clearly printed on loose leaf pages
(in Thai and English) and divided into simple choices:
appetizers, various tapas, pastas, pizzas, a limited choice
of Thai dishes, vegetarian options and a small selection of
desserts. Plus the drinks pages: soft options, various beers
(Chang at 60 baht, Singha at 80 baht) and red or white wine
by the glass (70 baht) or by the bottle.
We settled for a glass of white wine with
the starters: a generous portion of home made chicken liver
pate for my Thai friend and some grilled pumpkin and baby
tomatoes for me, served with a little bowl of balsamic
vinegar. With these came half a dozen small warm rolls which
were absolutely delicious. The pate was exceptionally tasty
and the vegetables ditto. Both were a snip at 75 baht. Water,
by the way, comes ‘free’ and is served in carafes.
For the mains we each went for a pasta;
vongole for Song and for me a favourite – spaghetti with
olive oil, garlic and chili. Sensible portions cooked al
dente and accompanied by a glass of the very drinkable house
red. We finished by sharing a vanilla ice cream with a shot
of espresso poured over it. The total bill for two came in
at exactly 600 baht: amazing value for the quality of the
food and wine. A real find, so a thank you to the
knowledgeable friend who recommended it.
Oregano has a distinctly ‘home made’ feel
to it. The rolls, I imagine, baked on the premises and the
nice choice of puddings also prepared on the premises not
bought in. These were limited to ice cream, panna cotta with
a strawberry coulis and a chocolate mud pie. The six or so
Thai dishes were also limited in number and concentrated on
food that can be pre prepared such as a massaman curry and
other non ‘stir fry’ options. Very sensible. The result is a
menu which appeals to a range of Thai and farang customers.
The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, but reasonably
stylish. They close quite early so make sure you phone
beforehand if you want to arrive much after 8p.m.
Oregano is open six days a week (closed
Mondays) for lunch and dinner; 11- 2p.m. and from 5p.m.
until 9p.m. for last orders. Tel: 089 759 2992. You will
find the restaurant at the Nandakwang Garden Mall, 99/8
Kongcholpratan Road, Suthep. To get there from either Huay
Kaew Road or Suthep Road, turn left into Canal Road and
drive until you see the large modern B2 Hotel on the right (this
was formerly the Best Western). Make a U turn immediately
after the hotel and pass it going back into the city. The
Mall is the first turning on the left and is well sign