Saturday, March 24, 2012

be Organic (Organic & Macrobiotic kitchen by Lemon Farm)

The Lemon Farm supermarket has existed in Bangkok for quite a while now. It was the market where you went if you wanted healthy or organically grown & produced Thai foods. We heard that Lemon Farm recently opened another branch on soi Langsuan.

However; we were very interested to see the new modernized Lemon Farm market because they incorporated an Organic Restaurant where they use all the fresh organic vegetables, fruits and food products of Thailand. I liked the sound of the so we had to try.

The be Organic (Organic & Macrobiotic kitchen) restaurant was simply decorated with different styles of chairs and tables with different colors. The restaurant had lots of natural light…which is very good for being in a supermarket.

Actually; there was nothing special about the decor or ambiance of be Organic. It seems like the space was not designed to be a restaurant and it was just an after thought.

My friend's starter was Organic pumpkin soup (65 baht). The soup was creamy & velvety, the pumpkin flavour was rich. Simply...the very good taste, quality & price of the pumpkin was all in all a great treat.

My friend's drink was iced Matcha green-tea (60 baht). The matcha green-tea drink was refreshing and tasted very nice.

My starter was the Tofu Paradise Salad with Ginger Spice dressing (95 bath). The tofu salad was a huge portion (a very good thing). I thought 5 pieces of tofu was being on the stingy side but the tofu did taste nice and was firm & dense. The organic salad & vegetables were very fresh and had great colour. A vibrant dish that was value for money.

My drink was iced Chrysanthemum tea (60 baht). The chrysanthemum tea was light but tasty.

The Lemon Farm healthy & organic supermarket. We always like to see what is new & yummy in the world of organic produce, home care & body care. On top of that...all made in Thailand (I did kind of went overboard after lunch and I bought tons of things).

My friend's main dish was Steam organic brown rice with stir-fried tofu sweet & sour organic vegetables (105 baht). The stir-fried tofu with organic vegetables were very fresh and tasted very good; however again, they were very stingy on the tofu and vegetables. The amount of food would probably not have been enough to feed a mouse. Thank goodness for the organic brown rice (which was very good) to fill up my friend's tummy.

My main dish was Spaghetti beetroot sauce (145 baht). This dish sounded very interesting when I read it in the menu due to the beetroot sauce (I like beet root very much(). The dish did turn out to be very nice. The beetroot sauce was rich in taste and thank goodness the sauce was not too watery. The vegetables added textures and colours to the dish. The dish was not very filling but I did like the idea of a totally organic vegetarian spaghetti dish using fresh organic ingredients.

Overall; be Organic was not bad at all. The food is very fresh. The portions are not copious so it would be wise to order several dishes to share. However; the prices are very reasonable so ordering several dishes to share will not be a problem.

The atmosphere or decor of the place is nothing special; but we did not mind because the food was good and the service was friendly & attentive. After lunch; the fun part began with shopping in Lemon Farm for healthy & organic Thai products. There is never anything wrong with being healthy and supporting the Thai organic movement at the same time.

Address: 1 floor The Potico
soi Langsuan (150 m. from BTS Chidlom station)

Telephone: 02-652-1975

Open daily 11:00 - 21:00

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Burger Factory

Another gourmet hamburger joint just opened. Burger Factory just opened on Ekamai soi 10. I passed by the construction of the place everyday going to and coming from work. When the place was done; it looked really interesting and I really like their slogan (which will be announced later in the post). We decided to try the place for lunch. Since they just opened; they were giving 10% off the price of all hamburgers…wooohooo!

We liked the decor of Burger Factory. The theme is industrial chic; lots of steel, from the walls that decorate the open kitchen, the tables & chairs and even the very cool hanging lamps. The designer of this place had good ideas which we seldom see in restaurant design.

My friend had the Classic bacon cheese burger (265 baht). The burger was accompanied with lettuce, tomato, red onions, ketchup & mayonnaise. The burger patty was fresh and compact. The burger was cooked correctly at medium. The bacon was crisp, the bread was unmemorable…but I would probably say that about any burger bun (home-made) and the vegetables were fresh and vibrant in color.

All burgers come with your choice of house-made potato salad, french fries or seasoned curly fries. My friend ordered potato salad but the waiter returned to the table and told us that they did not have any ready yet because they were still making it…ummmm; bad kitchen preparation or bad organization??? Anyways; we ordered the curly fries…they were cooked to a golden brown and were very crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The seasoning was a combination of spicy and salty…very nice.

There is a small outdoor dinning terrace for those who need to smoke. I did not particularly like it since it is smack next to the soi where cars & motorbikes are constantly passing by with their noise and fumes.

I had the Factory burger (290 baht). The factory burger was a 'classic cheese burger' but was accompanied with caramelized onions, fresh sweet onions and a spicy kick from home made sauce (available in beef or pork patties). My burger was the same as my friend's except there was no mayonnaise (thank goodness because I really despise the stuff).

I did not realize it but my friend and I ordered pretty much the exact burger. I should have been more experimental with my choice because Burger Factory has other interesting burgers such as the 'Black Label burger'…a blend of rib-eye, sirloin & chuck patty on a toasted brioche bun with roasted garlic mayo, truffle oil and parmesan crisps…550 baht (ouch). "Sunny side burger'…homemade country pork sausage with a shiny sunny side egg topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on a toasted English muffin…265 baht (more affordable). 'Lamb burger'…jouciy ground and marinated lamb served with tomato relish and yoghurt-cucumber sauce…325 baht. etc. etc. Next time…I will be more adventurous.

The restaurant is not large; but is lovely space. Lots of natural light from the large floor to ceiling glass windows. The main color theme flowing throughout the place are greys, whites and rustic black.

The Burger Factory's motto says it all…"In Beers & Burgers We Trust"…very cute.

Overall; the burgers were proper, tasted good, prepared & cooked well. Nothing to complain about at all (maybe the bun). Another very nice gourmet hamburger joint in Bangkok and I can only see it doing very well. The staff is so friendly; actually ours was so friendly that he started explaining every burger to me before I had a chance to read the menu. The prices are pretty much the same for all the other gourmet burger joints in town. The space, decor & ambiance is really great. The industrial design is coming back in trend but Burger Factory added a new twist to it; at the same time; its relaxing and cozy. There is parking because Burger Factory is located in a mini-shopping mall on Ekamai across from Health Land. All in all…very nice.

Address: 3 soi 10 Ekamai, Bangkok 10110

Telephone: 02-714-4249

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bottega di Luca

One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Bangkok…I never get tired of going to Bottega di Luca. The place is so popular now that we have to always call to reserve a table. This is Bangkok for goodness sakes; reserving a table? But; the sad truth is yes, we have to because Bottega di Luca is so good in so many ways.

One of the key reasons why we are repeat customers at Bottega di Luca is their outdoor dinning terrace. The outdoor terrace's atmosphere & ambiance is charming, cozy & always buzzing with happy people eating, drinking & talking. Even if it is raining the sliding cover/roof allows us to eat outdoor. But there is nothing as nice as eating pasta under the stars.

There are three choices for your seating pleasure…the sofa, the normal dinning table & chair or the high table & chairs. We normally choose the high table & chairs. We do not find eating dinner on a sofa very comfortable.

My starter was Tuna tartare (390 baht). Tuna tartare with the real "Bottarga di ton no" tuna salt cured egg from Sardinia (express smoked on request). I was sad with the small portion I was served; but, that is a personal thing since I eat like a pig and what I consider a good portion probably can feed a family of 5. The tuna was fresh & hand chopped nicely into chunks. The salt cured eggs (a great treat to find in Bangkok) added a lovely satiness & texture to the dish…a good balance of acidity, salty and sour. Very nice dish.

My friend's starter was Veal carpaccio (490 baht). Imported Italian free-range veal carpaccio Albese style covered with flanks of Castelmagno D.O.P. cheese. The veal was sliced so thin that you could actually see through it (how do they do that?). The veal was so fresh, tender and tasty. The rocket & dried tomatoes added great flavor; but the Castelmagno cheese added amazing richness & flavor to the dish. A simple dish but so complex with flavors.

My other friend's starter was Grilled Scamoza (380 baht). Smoked mozzarella cheese wrapped in speck ham with a side dish of sautéed mushrooms. This was the first time anyone in my gang ordered this dish; so I was excited to try it. The smoked scamoza had the most incredible texture because it was so fresh and the smoky taste was heavenly. Thank goodness the speck ham did not make this dish too salty. It just added even more flavor. Just lovely.

My main dish was Acquerello with porcini mushrooms (360 baht). Premium quality risotto with porcini mushrooms lightly sautéed in white wine sauce. Its very rare to get Acquerello here; so we had to have it. The risotto was cooked perfectly, the mushrooms were so soft & tender, the white wine sauce was rich & creamy. The combinations made this dish outstanding.

My friend's main dish was Pici with leg of lamb (440 baht). Pici-homemade-spaghetti, with leg of lamb slow stewed in red wine sauce. We had no idea what Pici was so we had to ask the chef and the waiter to bring out a sample (just being curious). Pici looks and feels like Japanese udon (or visa versa). Pici originated and is a specialty of the Sienna area. Pici is a bit more dense & chewy than normal spaghetti. The slow stewed lamb leg came in squared chunks and was very tender & moist. I personally thought it was lacking in saltiness; but that is the only fault I could find in this delicious dish.

My other friend's main dish was Spaghetti with fresh sea urchin (540 baht). Spaghetti with fresh sea urchin imported from France, in cherry tomato covered with grated mullet bottarga. We know how expensive sea urchin can be; but also know how yummy it can be. So my friend decided to go for it. The sea urchin gave the spaghetti a very unique flavor…nothing else gives this kind of flavor; it's really hard to describe. Its almost a metallic flavor to it (I mean this in a good way). Thank goodness because this dish was absolutely amazing.

Inside the restaurant; they have choices of anti pasti and charcuterie in plain view.

Overall; Bottega di Luca has everything going for it to make it one of the best restaurants in Bankgok. Great atmosphere, the service is outstanding in terms of efficiency and also friendliness, the food is delicious consistently and the monthly specials are always unique and stuff you rarely see or get in Bangkok. Oh; and there is always parking (very important).

The owner/chef Luca is simply a nice guy. Always in a friendly mood & high spirit. He is always willing to explain anything on the menu or just have small talk.

The only issue I have about Bottega di Luca is that too many people know about it…damn!

Address: Terrace 49
Sukhumvit soi 49, Bangkok 10110

Telephone: 02-204-1731

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Open Table Tokyo Cafe @ Central World

My friend and I watched a movie at Central World; when it finished we decided to have a something small to eat in the shopping mall. What was amazing to me when we tried to find a place to eat was that every food establishment was packed with people and some places had a long queue of waiting customers. We decided to go to Open Table Tokyo Cafe because it had the shortest queue wait.

Open Table Tokyo Cafe is an open air restaurant…meaning it is situated in the middle of the hallway and it has no walls or ceiling. The decor has marble tables & wooden chairs, industrial style hanging lamps and faux wooden floors. Open Table Tokyo Cafe specializes in 'fusion Japanese & Italian food'…I should have know better when I read the menu. I was skeptical; but, I was hungry and did not want to wait any longer.

The first dish we shared was Open Table salad. The salad had fresh salad leaves, cranberries, feta cheese and almond slices. The salad had a Japanese salad dressing. The salad had a good mix of textures and flavors; nothing wrong with the salad just for the simple fact that it was boring. Oh and it had no connection to either Japan or Italy…I thought this was a fusion Japanese & Italian restaurant.

The second dish was shared was Ebi tempura roll. I think the person who created this dish had good intention in trying to make sushi a bit more different & interesting. However; in my opinion, it was simply weird.

Let me go from bottom to top; the rice was decently cooked, the smoked salmon was undistinguishable & flavor-free, the slab of cold cream cheese did add a creamy texture, the ebi tempura was crispy but was a tad over deep-fried, the industrial mayonnaise was simply disgusting in terms of color, texture & taste (so so yucky) and finally the slice of asparagus to top off only added a green color to the dish. What on earth happened here?

The third dish we shared was Ebiko tempura pasta. The pasta was a bit sad. The cooking of the noodles was good; but from there, everything went downhill. The restaurant was stingy on the ebiko, the sauce was watery and had no taste. The fried ebi tempura did add contrast of texture but did not add anything in terms of taste. Oh my oh my!

Overall; my suspicions of this place was very correct. The service was dreadful; but then again, the place was overflowing with customers, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt at how awful the service was. However; it did not help that the service girls were brain dead and the simple order of another bottle of water was a painful experience. I was still hungry but I did not want to waste more time trying to order more food from these girls.

Open Table Tokyo Cafe had gazillions of customers who seemed to be enjoying what they were eating. Eating at Open Table Tokyo Cafe; made me wonder if I truly know what I am eating and can I truly trust my taste buds. Yet; there I was pondering how on earth can these people be paying for food like this. Are my taste buds so arrogant that I cannot even enjoy this type of food?

I finally snapped out of pondering and decided…YES, I know what I am eating and NO, my taste buds are not arrogant. I do eat all types of food at all types of price ranges and when it is good.

I will never ever condemn people for what they like to eat and what they consider to be good. Open Table Tokyo Cafe is just giving what most Thais want; affordable, asian infused with western food in a environment that is easy-going. Nothing wrong with that. So; all I can say is that Open Table Tokyo Cafe was simply not my cup-of-tea and that I will not return.

Address: 6th floor Central World
Ratchadamri Road; Bangkok

Telephone: 02-613-1558

Saturday, March 03, 2012


I am in love again with Indigo. The food at this lovely French restaurant is really really yummy again. I have not been to Indigo for a while for the simple fact that, I thought the food was not as good as it used to be. Then we heard that Indigo got a new chef. I went back three times and I have to say that all three times were just perfect.

One reason why I like going to Indigo...the lovely garden terrace gives diners a unique atmosphere of eating under the stars and trees. When it is not too hot; sitting in the open garden ads such charm and the atmosphere is so comfy and relaxing.

My friend and I had the same starter... Frisée salad with home-made sausage with pistachio (420 baht). Anytime there is a frisée on the menu; I normally take it. Its so hard to find this lovely salad on menus in Bangkok. The slightly prickly and bitter frisée was a beautiful contrast to the richer & flavorful sausage. So simple this dish; but so much texture and flavors.

My other friend had the Lobster mousse (240 baht). The mousse was velvety, soft & light. The lobster flavor was intense and the cream was rich & creamy. All together; the textures and flavors made this dish heavenly.

My friend's main dish was Boudin noir (420 baht). The blood sausage had a soft, tender & rough texture. The blood sausage's typical ingredients of onions, lard, apples, fatback, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, cream, egg, salt & pepper (not sure if there is any other secret ingredients Indigo uses in their blood sausages)…made the sausage very tasty.

My other friend had Venison (590 baht). The portion was huge, the venison was so tender and had a lovely gamey taste to it. The sauce added lovely flavors to the meat but did not overwhelm the meat (which is a very good thing).

My main dish was Beef stroganof (480 baht). The beef was tender and the sauce was creamy & rich which added the right balance of acidity, salty, peppery and sweetness to this hearty dish.

For dessert; we shared a Pear tarte (190 baht). Actually; I thought this was the weakest part of our dinner. The portion for the dessert was big, the pear tarte was indeed fresh, it had good flavour and it was not overly sweet; but I found it to be too dry.

Overall; the food is tops at Indigo; the quality of the food is the best, the portions are enormous and the prices are incredibly affordable for the amount and quality we got. The wine list has amazing choices and again so affordable. The service is always friendly and attentive. The atmosphere of garden dinning is just lovely. I am so so glad that Indigo is really yummy again. Will be going back and back again.

Address: 6 Convent Rd., Bangkok

Telephone: 02-235-3268

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Tables @ Grande Hyatt Erawan

Tables opened about two or three years ago (no idea)…we tried it two times: the first & the last all the same time. The food was just ok but the experience was dreadful..all because of the Swiss-German wicked witch of a manager. Be patient with me…I will try to make a long story short of this evil witch.

Here were some personal reasons why Tables did not work for us and I am sure for many people from the start:
1. They did not allow card holders of the 'Card at the Hyatt' to be used at Tables. One key reason why the F&B is popular at the Grand Hyatt; not only is the food good but the card gets people to return.
2. The prices at Tables were too expensive; though Tables was saying due to the quality of the imported products; the prices had to be high.
3. The Swiss-German 'meanie'…she was very mean to the staff; which is non-of-my business, but when she scolds them and is being mean to the staff in front of customers…then that becomes my business. I do not want to see or hear this drama while I am eating. And; on top of it, I did not think the staff deserved it.
4. The Swiss-German 'know it all better than the customers'…we were served a bread basket but the bread tasted and felt like they were stale (could have been sitting out too long in the humidity). Which we thought was strange because every time we ate at the buffet the bread was fresh. So; we told her about the stale bread and asked if we could have fresh bread. She replied; "We bake the bread daily and we serve only fresh bread". Here is the kicker…"Do you know about bread? We in Switzerland make very good bread and this is how it should be".

Ummmm; all I asked for was a basked of fresh bread…not her scolding of what fresh bread is and how it should be. All she had to do was say sorry or let me see if we have a fresh batch to give you. We even told her that the bread at the buffet is very good as a hint…she could have said, 'let me get you some from the buffet'. Whatever; but not tell us 'we do not know what bread is'. It was really incredible!

So; that was our last experience at Tables at the Grand Hyatt. After that experience, I knew Tables was not going to work. For the simple fact that the place was too snobbish and the evil manager.

Several years later; we heard there were several changes at Tables. We heard that there is a new chef and new manager. On top of this the 'Card at the Hyatt' was now allowed to be used like every food establishment at the hotel…a wise decision. We also heard that their Sunday brunch was actually out of this world. So with the combination of new chef & manager, Card at the Hyatt was being allowed to be used and that the food was suppose to be incredible…we decided to return and try Tables.

The concept of Tables is that in the evenings for dinner; the chefs come to your table and cook in front of you….hence the name of the restaurant; Tables. But for the Sunday brunch there are several cooking stations where each station will have a chef who will specialize in a certain type of dish.

The decor is a mix between art deco & a modern cigar lounge. Lots of chrome, glass, copper, leather & wood. The ambiance is relaxed refinement. The space is enormous; half the second floor is dedicated to Tables.

The Pasta cooking station.

The Champagne with truffle or seafood risotto cooking station.

The Lobster bisque or pea soup cooking station.

The cold cuts station.

The meat (beef & lamb) carving station.

With your Sunday brunch you have a choice of one hot main dish. We ordered the Lobster thermidor. The portion was just right, the lobster was very fresh and it was cooked nicely. This was a delicious dish.

The cold appetizers on display.

The fresh oyster & scallop station.

The Beef bourguignon cooking station.

The cold & hot dessert station.

The lobby of the Grand Hyatt.

Overall; we did not get to try all the cooking stations (I did not post photos all the cooking stations; for example the fish cooking station). There was so much food to try and my stomach did not have the space; but believe me, I did want to try everything…next time.

The food was outstanding. The selection of foods was amazing. The quality of the foods was very good & fresh. The chefs at the cooking stations were professional and cooked the dishes nicely. The service was perfect and very friendly. The new manager was attentive and also very friendly. And due to the 'Card at the Hyatt'; the cost of this meal was also very reasonable & acceptable.

The only problem now is that getting a reservation for Sunday brunch at Tables is very difficult. it has become very popular…good for them.

We are for sure going to return to the new incarnation of Tables…it was a lovely afternoon.

Address: 494 Rajdamri Rd. Bangkok 10330

Telephone: 02-254-1234