Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roast Coffee & Eatery

We had friends in town and we all decided to meet up for lunch at Roast Coffee & Eatery.  We visited Roast about a year ago when they first opened and there was nobody and so we forgot about the place.  But since then; Roast has built an enormous following.  I was amazed at how packed the place was when we arrived.

The ambiance is bright and airy due to the ceiling to floor windows.  The high ceiling add height & volume to the space.  Bistro like wooden chairs and tables filled the center of the room while bistro like sofas filled the edge of the room.  The structure is a mix of wood, concrete, glass and brick.  All the elements work well together.  

The first dish was Prawn salad (260 baht).  Roasted prawns, tomatoes, celery and red onion dressing.  A simple looking salad but the prawns took the salad to the next level.  The prawns were very fresh and large.  Roasted well where the prawn was still moist & tender inside.  The prawn added good flavour to  what would have been a normal salad.

The next dish was Baby calamari (160 baht).  The calamari was deep fried with oriental seasoning and accompanied with aioli & lemon.  The calamari were fresh so that they were not overly chewy (a very good thing), they were slightly crispy due to the light oriental seasoning coating.  The oriental seasoning and lemon made the calamari tasty and actually the aioli was not needed at all.

The next dish was Buffalo wings (180 baht).  The buffalo wings were heavily coated with the rich house made bbq sauce and was accompanied with a cheese dip & celery.  This was my least favourite dish of the day; not that it was not cooked well, but I thought the home made bbq sauce was too sweet. It could have been that way due to them thinking that is the Thai taste; but for me, bbq sauce should be more spicy and smoky.

The next dish was Spinach dip with house made chips (140 baht).  The dip consisted of spinach, mozzarella, bacon & garlic.  This was not bad at all; very unique...the combination of all the ingredients tasted good together.  I liked the idea of home made chips to accompany the dip.  The chips were nicely done, very crispy but not oily (a very good thing).

My friends main dish was Crab cake benedict (330 baht).  Roast is famous for their breakfast their eggs benedict are also very popular.  The eggs benedict of the week was with crab.  The crab was fresh and abundant (which is a good thing; I hate it when a restaurant is so stingy with crab meat).  All the ingredients seemed to melt together and it turned out to taste very nice.  A unique way of serving this traditional dish but it was a big hit with my friend.

My other friend's main dish was Smoked salmon salad (300 baht).  The salad consisted of rocket, feta cheese, toasted almonds and tangerine vinaigrette.  Nicely presented...the burst of contrasting colours of  the orange salmon, very green rocket and the sprinkle of white almonds & feta cheese.  The combination of contrasting textures and flavours was another reason why this dish was a success.

My other friend's main dish was Roast club (260 baht).  The club consisted of roasted chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato & cheddar.  All the ingredients were abundant, fresh and had good flavour.  The contrast of colours & textures was very evident.  The accompanying french fries were also well done; crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside.  A good choice from my friend.

My other friend's main dish was Ceasar salad (240 baht).  The salad consisted of cos lettuce, grilled chicken, bacon & egg.  The ingredients were fresh and had good contrast of flavours & textures.

My main dish was Cubano sandwich (260 baht).  The sandwich was made with roasted pork, emmental, dill pickles & jalapenos.  The sandwich was grilled like a panini.  I chose this sandwich because I have never seen this type of sandwich.  I was very glad I did.  The sandwich had very nice The sandwich was very tasty.  I liked the extra kick of spiciness from the jalapenos.

Since we pigged out; we all shared the dessert…Strawberry waffle (190 baht).  Since this was one of their signature desserts; we had to have one.  The waffle was toasted to a light golden brown.  It was slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  The strawberries were abundant and had good flavour.  The vanilla ice cream was was of good quality and also had strong vanilla flavour.

Another view of the dinning area.

The view of the counter where the food and coffee were coming from.

The entrance to Roast…it is on the second floor of SeenSpace.

Overall; the place is not bad at all.  I did not have any expectations before we went to Roast and I am glad Roast left a good impression for me.  Roast is really easy-going and relaxed.  The food is a good mixture of unique & basic hearty foods at reasonable prices..the menu is extensive with choices.  It takes it's coffee very seriously; I guess you can tell by their name 'Roast'.  Apparently; one of their own roasted coffee creations was voted one of the best in Asia...that is quite amazing.

Though it looked like there were enough staff in the place; the staff really need more training about being attentive to their own service area.  The staff are very nice; but since, Roast is a large place with many tables, it would make sense that each area have a team servicing it.  However; it seemed like, the staff were just servicing aimlessly.  I am not sure if they were not trained about serving their own area or because the place was so packed that they were helping their colleagues by serving in different areas.

In the end; we had to wave for the staff to notice us for menus, to take our orders, for water (several times), for napkins, for menus (we were really hungry), for coffee, for dessert, for the check.  You can imagine that my arm was going up a lot of times (more than I actually wanted).

Anyways; the service did not ruin our lunch date. My gang were too busy chit-chatting that I was the only one getting annoyed by the service (the job of the blogger to notice such things is never done).  Roast is a great addition to Thonglor's coffee & food scene.  It is unique in its offering which makes it very popular with both foreigners and Thais.  The parking situation is awful; so take a taxi if you can.  Also reserve a table on the weekend; it is always packed!   

Address:  251/1 soi Thonglor 13 (@ SeenSpace complex) Bangkok 10110

Telephone:  02-185-2865

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ni-Yom Phochana

A seafood restaurant that has been on Thonglor for ages is still as popular as ever.  If you ask people who love seafood; "do you know the seafood restaurant on Thonglor?"...they normally answer; "the one with no door?"…then they answer; "its sooooo good!".

We had friends in town and we decided to meet for dinner at Ni-Yom Phochana because we knew we could have great food and bring our own wines and wine glasses.

Ni-Yom Phochana is in a shophouse (you can't miss it; it really has no doors).  There is no decor, the tables are the foldable aluminum kind but they did spend a little bit more on they were the fake leather cushioned type.  The lighting is harsh & bright and it can get hot (though there are fans hanging on the walls).  But in the end; no one comes here for the decor or ambiance…we come for the seafooooooood!

The first dish was Hoi nang rom (fresh oysters).  The Thai oysters were fresh, large, good texture and juicy.  However; they were on bland side.  That is why we had to add lime and Thai chili sauce.  But they were refreshing non-the-less.

The next dish was Oar Suan (oyster hot plate).  They are the specialist on this dish.  I just looovvveee this dish.  It just makes all your sense tingle with joy.  The sound of the sizzling hot plate when it arrived at the table. The steam, smoke and aroma from the frying oysters and eggs.  The beautiful sight of the green, yellow, grey and white of the dish.  Finally; the amazing taste of the oar suan.  A fabulous dish.

The next dish was Gung che nam pla (raw shrimp).  A great way to start any meal...raw shrimps.  The shrimps were fresh, plump and tasty.  A little bit of mint and a dash of the spicy seafood sauce together with the shrimp...heavenly.

The next dish was Pu pad pong garee (curried crab).  This is the house special!  The crab was large and very fresh.  Cooked perfectly.  The curry sauce was thick, rich, and had an intense flavour (and probably very very bad for your cholesterol level).  This is the most incredible combination in the world.  This dish is truly a mess to eat but it is oh so finger licking good.  All the work to dig out the crab meat is so worth it.

The next dish was Taud man gung (deep fried shrimp cakes).  The shrimp cakes were cooked to a lovely golden brown.  They were crispy on the outside but hot, moist, juicy & chunky on the inside. A lovely contrast.  I do not like the sweet sauce that accompanies this dish; it is just so yummy as it is.

The next dish was Pad yod mara (stir fried bitter gourd leaves).  The vegetables were cooked very nicely, had a deep green color and with a slight crunch to them.

The next dish was Pla neung seew (fish with soy sauce).  The fish was so fresh, cooked perfectly (translucent in the center)...we do hate fish that is over cooked.  The meat of the fish was so tender, soft and moist.  The fish sauce was light but had so much flavor with the addition of ginger & green onions.  A lovely dish.

The next dish was Gung ob woon sen (shrimp glass noodle baked in pot).  I simply love this dish.  I could eat it all the time.  The mix of textures and flavours are so amazing.  The textures come from the glass noodles and the shrimp...with bits of pork.  The flavours come from the ginger, pork fat, pepper corns and herbs in the pot.  All cooked to perfection in the pot.  The pot is delivered at the table with the steam & aroma tantalizing all our taste buds.  Soooo nice!

The next dish was Khao pad pu (crab fried rice).  This was the worst dish of the evening which was too bad.  The rice was too mushy & sticky...meaning they used freshly cooked rice to make the fried rice; which is a no no.  There was a good amount of crab and it was tasty; but it was for sure unpleasant to eat since it was like eating oatmeal.  Too bad.

Overall; I am sooooo happy that Ni-Yom Phochana is so close to my home.  What would I do without it?  The food is absolutely fresh.  The service is very good; but the staff could smile a bit more. There is no ambiance; but the food is not only so good but they are the start of all the who needs the decor & ambiance when everyone is so happy eating and talking.  There is no parking; and if you know Thonglor...taking a taxi is a very good idea.

I have to apologize; my gang and I were so happy eating so much and ummmm; drinking so much, that I forgot to take the bill so that I could show you lovely readers how cheap and affordable it is at Ni-Yom Phochana.  Just believe me; the food is so so reasonable for the quality of the food.  

Address:  125-125-1 soi Thonglor Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok

Telephone:   02-291-1517, 02-392-8919

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hai som tam @ Convent

My colleagues and I decided to have lunch at one of the most famous som tam places in town…Hai som tam on soi Convent.  So off we went to enjoy great Isaan food.  Hai som tam is located in a large shop house and has three floors (we sat on the second floor).  The place is always so busy during lunch time because of the office workers on Silom Rd.  So, it is highly recommended to call and reserve a table.

Hai som tam does not have much ambiance or decor (typical for places that serve such affordable and yummy food).  The tables are the fold up aluminum kind and the chairs are the plastic stack type.  The curtains are even gastly (the type in horror movies)…but in the end, no one cared because everyone's focus was on the food.

Som tam thai.  

MaMa seafood salad.

Deep fried pork glazed in oil. 

Roasted Isaan sausage.  

Pork larb.

Pork rib soup.

Grilled chicken.

Grilled pork neck.

Pork nam tok. 

Grilled fish encrusted in salt.  

Som tam crab.  

Grilled fish encrusted in salt.

The som tam kitchen (facing the sidewalk).

The grilled fish kitchen (which was on the sidewalk).

Overall; the food was very yummy.  All the dishes were fresh, the tastes were well balanced and the dishes were well portioned.  The service is quite amazing.  Even though the place was packed and practically every table ordering the same time.  I salute the kitchen staff on their managing of getting all the orders right and getting the food out at a timely manner.  But not only that; we ordered every dish twice (we had 9 people) and the total bill came to 2,050 baht (including the drinks).  With the food being so good; there was nothing to complain about at all.  

Address: 2/4-5 soi Convent Rd. Bangkok

Telephone:  02-631-0216

Friday, May 04, 2012

No Name Thai-Chinese

When it comes to lunch; my colleagues are very resourceful in finding very interesting & yummy places to eat at very reasonable prices near our office.  Here is one that is simply amazing.  I have to name the place 'No Name Thai-Chinese' because when we asked the owner; she replied, "We have no name; its the restaurant on the corner of Thanon Chan..Thanon Chan soi 6 and across the street from Goodyear tire store".  So; there you have it...good luck finding the place, but if you do; its so worth it!

When we arrived the first thing you notice is the chef and the open kitchen.  The chef is a 55 five year old (I am guessing his age) Thai/Chinese in shorts and slippers.  His ingredients are laid out on the table and he is a master with is wok.  

The sous-chef is looking at the orders with the owner/ wife of chef/ waitress all in one (I am guessing again) and are gathering the ingredients to help the chef.  

The first dish was deep fried fish with tomatoes and garlic.  

The next dish was baby vegetable with crispy pork.  

The next dish was Chinese spinach with eggs.  

The next dish was a Vegetable from the onion family with liver.  

The next dish was Clams with basil and chilies.  

The next dish was Tom-yum with mushroom and shrimp.  

The next dish was deep fried fish in fish sauce.  

Overall;  the atmosphere is a typical shop-house restaurant.  No decor and no ambiance…but the food; my oh my; the food is what shines at this 'no name' restaurant.

It gets hot because there is no air-conditioning...just fans; but we did not mind because the food was sooooooo yummy.  All the ingredients were very fresh.  All the dishes were cooked perfectly with the right combination of flavours, tastes and spiciness.

The food arrived so fast that I nicknamed him the kung-fu chef.  All the tables were full (which is not that many), yet the dishes came one by one but at rapid pace.  I have no idea how he does it with one wok; but he is incredible.

The most incredible thing is of course the price.  The total bill was around 200 baht per person (5 people) = 1,000 baht.  Where else can you get such amazing quality food at ridiculous prices...only Bangkok of course.  

Address:  on the corner of Thanon Chan and Thanon Chan soi 6 and across the street from Goodyear Tire store

No phone number