Ban Chiang Restaurant
Dress code: Smart/casual
Reservations: Recommended for dinner
14 Soi Sriviang, Surasak Road, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 0-2236-7045, 0-2266-6994
A charming, fading wooden two-storey house from the 50s set in a lush garden. A folksy, cosy room is filled with dusty knick-knacks while the largely western diners appreciatively tuck in at marble-top tables et with elephant-patterned tablecloths. Outdoor dining is also available.
The menu provides a good range of traditional Thai cuisine together with some inspired personal creations with fragrant curries and aroma-rich nods to other Asian cuisines. As Ban Chiang is quite popular among westerners most offerings are mild, so do not be shy about specifying your spice level. Minced chicken wrapped in Chinese kale is a delicious start: the chicken is tasty, the kale fresh, but the presentation is ordinary. Salted prawns with garlic and white pepper is a signature dish, and is tasty and quite original in its preparation. Sauteed crab claws in Madras curry and green onions disappoints, with little curry evident but sundried white fish served with mango dip is delicious, surprisingly light and aromatic. Sauteed salted fish with Chinese kale is quite good, the kale sharp and fresh, and the spicing interesting. Banana fritters with coconut ice cream is a great finish, the batter light, the bananas sweet and tasty, and the ice cream scrumptious and fresh.