Nimman Kitchen and La Vie en Rose

And a new Thai menu at West’s Restaurant

By Brian Baxter

Krit’s restaurant, more formally known at Kitchen Nimman, has been established at his current venue for several years now and I reviewed it not long after it opened at Pha Thani ‘square’ just off Huay Kaew Road, across from Hillside 4. A year of two later he opened an attractive bar in the next door premises, called La Vie en Rose, and the adjoining terrace which stretches serves as an extension of this popular Thai restaurant.

The bar serves wine, beers, cocktails, spirits and of course soft drinks and coffee so it is ideal for an aperitif or after dinner drink. From Monday 12 July he will be adding another attraction with the chance to hear one of the most talented singers in Chiang Mai, Ong-Art, a tenor whose repertoire includes everything from baroque classics through to popular songs.

Ong–Art (pictured) will be at La Vie en Rose between about 8p.m. until 10p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There will be no cover charge and customers are welcome to drop in any time during the evening for a meal or simply for a drink or coffee. One Monday the programme will mainly be devoted to a range of popular songs, on Wednesdays to hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s and on Friday evenings to Broadway and other songs from musical shows. But these are subject to variation and change.

As many readers will know Krit’s restaurant has a wide ranging menu including some Northern Thai specialities and it is popular with both Thai and foreign customers. For me a main attraction is the ‘specials’ of the week, listed on a blackboard. About five or six new dishes each week supplement the main menu. Other personal favourites include the Chiang Mai salad, which I have with prawns and the delicious raw salmon served with soy sauce and wasabee. The service is friendly and prices reasonable. Expect to pay around 300 baht a head with a drink and service.


Immediately next door to Krit’s you will find the Australian-owned West’s, which is possibly most famous for its splendid puddings, including chocolate indulgences, lime cake, cream caramel, yoghurt with passion fruit and a wonderful banana ‘sundae’. Ice cream and cream are added as a matter of course to many desserts.

There are set menus and specials and a wide choice of dishes on the dinner (or lunch) set is excellent value at just 190 baht. This offers a salad, a choice of main course – including pastas – and one of the puds. However last week David the owner introduced a new Thai menu following the arrival of a cook from Bangkok.

I have enjoyed it twice in the past weeks and am happy to report – now that it is ‘slimmed down’ from a very large menu - that it offers some good and tasty choices. On my most recent visit with a Thai friend we enjoyed a quite spicy yellow curry with prawns, some al dente stir fried vegetables and a wonderful banana blossom salad. This was accompanied by a couple of large Singha beers and followed by a shared dessert. Good value at 600 baht including the drinks and a tip.

You’ll find these venues open every day of the week not far into the square on the right. The square is busy with many bars and eating places but there is ample parking.

It is directly across from Hillside 4 and Furama Hotel on Huay Kaew Road.


Braised Five Spice Coconut Chicken

The use of desiccated coconut is very popular in Malaysia, and this recipe has its origins there. For authenticity substitute Garam Masala instead of the Five Spice. A flavorsome way to present chicken fillets.

Ingredients                 Serves 4
Chicken breast skinless fillets 500 gm
Desiccated coconut                 50 gm
Onions, chopped                            2
Garlic, chopped                    2 cloves
Coconut milk (canned)            250 ml
Chili paste                              1 tspn
Turmeric powder                      1 tspn
Five Spice                              1 tspn
Spring onion, chopped                    4

Cooking Method

Clean the chicken fillets and dry then pour 50 ml coconut milk over them. Place desiccated coconut in a bowl with 5 tablespoons of boiling water and leave for 15 minutes.

After standing for 15 minutes, place the coconut, onion, garlic, the remaining coconut milk, turmeric, Five Spice, chili paste in the food processor, and puree the mixture, adding water to keep the mixture quite thin in consistency.

Now boil the mixture and put half of it in a baking dish, adding the chicken fillets and then pouring the rest of the mixture over the fillets.

Cover the baking dish and bake in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for eight to ten minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice after sprinkling the spring onion over them as garnish.