One of the ugliest decorated Thai restaurants in town happens to be one of my favourites. I have been going to Wanakarm for ages. It was actually our canteen when we were living on Sukhumvit soi 23. The restaurant was one minute walk away.
Wanakarm (I think) has been open since the sixties because the decor looks like it comes from the sixties. The pink plastic table covers, the heavy teak chairs & tables, the pink plastic roses with fake dew on them and the other kitsch decoration. But; when you put all those things together, there is actually something charming, cute & inviting about the place.
The first dish was Deep fried morning glory. This is an amazing starter to any dinner. The morning glory is deep fried like tempura. They come out golden, hot and crispy. The deep fried morning glory came with a sweet sauce that consists of shredded green mango, peanuts, onions, chillies and dried shrimp. We poured the sauce over the morning glory....my goodness; it was so so good. The textures & flavours are out of this world.
The second dish was Raw shrimp marinated with fish sauce. One of our favourite starters in a Thai/ seafood restaurant. The shrimp were plump and fresh. The shrimp came with a spicy green sauce. Dipping the shrimp into the sauce and with a mint leaf...this little thing turns out to be something big in tastes.
The next dish was Stuffed minced pork omelette. I think I can live on stuffed omelette. Some restaurants make their stuffed omelette too sweet. But not at Wanakarm. The omelette is cooked perfectly; the stuffing of minced pork, peas, onions, tomatoes & spices were cooked nicely and blended so well with the omellete. Who invented this dish? Cause I want to give them a big hug.
The next dish was Tom kha gai. The tom kha gai was done very nicely. The soup had a nice blend of sour, sweet and tangy tastes. The mushrooms & chicken added colour & texture. A really lovely dish.
The next dish was Spicy stewed beef soup. This is our favourite dish at Wanakarm. I think we have ordered this dish every single time we have eaten at Wanakarm (that is a lot of times). The stewed beef is so tender, the soup is rich in flavour and gives a punch with its spiciness. It is really hard to find this soup in restaurants; so when we are in a mood for a mean bowl of stewed beef soup...Wanakarm, here we come.
Overall; the decor might not be to my taste (but I still think its charming), but the food is so so good and the prices are very affordable. The service is still wonderful after all these years. And the amazing thing is that the staff are still the same after all these years.
My only minor annoyance about Wanakarm; is that, I feel that the restaurant is now catering too strongly to the Japanese guide books. Any day of the week; you can go to Wanakarm and the place is full of Japanese carrying their guide books. The menu now is a 'photo album' menu with Japanese/ English & Thai language. I truly hate touristic restaurants; but I can forgive Wanakarm because I do love the food just like the Japanese do.
Address : 98 Sukhumvit Soi 23
Tel. :662 2596499
Working hour : ทำการทุกวัน 11:00-24:00 อาทิตย์ 16:30-24:00