Having been here a few years ago for lunch, I was excited to be going back for dinner. This place is on a road that runs between two main roads - Soi Silom and Soi Sathorn. It is also conveniently just a few minutes walk from Surasak skytrain station.
Thanying restaurant offers 'genuine royal Thai cuisine,' The restaurant is named after Her Serene Highness Princess Sulabh-valling Visuddhi, who was once the head cook in the Sukhothai Palace Kitchen for her sister, Queen Rambhai Barni. The Thanying kitchen is now supervised by Princess Sulabh's son.
As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by the front of house who took us through to our table. All the tables were smartly presented with white linen table cloths and individual place settings adorned each one. The place settings were charming arrangements; consisting of a single white flower and a rolled napkin inside the base of a pyramid (see photo at the top).
Subtle sounds of soft jazz played in the background, which made for a relaxing atmosphere. And the restaurant was just starting to fill out as we arrived.
Waiters came to take away our place settings and unfold the napkins on our laps. They then brought us menus to peruse and digest through.
The food menu is split into an array of appetizers; spicy & tangy salad; pastes & dips with side salad; vegetable dishes; spicy & tangy soup; clear soup; sweet curries; red & green curries; herbal curries without coconut milk (from Northern Thailand); prawns; wild catch seabass; salmon; crispy fluffy catfish (which is extremely tasty); squid; thai beef/pork/chicken; sun dried beef (one of my favourite childhood snacks); pork ribs; crab; rice and noodles. There really is no shortage of choice.
We ordered a couple of appetizers - vegetarian spring rolls and deep fried chicken in Pandan leaves. The latter is a very popular dish in Thailand and is often served with a slightly sweet dipping sauce. Both dishes were under 150 Baht each.
When the spring rolls arrived, they looked delightfully crisp and were a beautiful golden in colour. I spooned over a little of the syrupy sweet chilli sauce and as I cut into one, I could hear the crisp, crunch and crackle of the deep fried pancake skin which was like beautiful music to my ears. The filling was light and subtle in flavour and not at all overpowering.
The deep fried chicken in Pandan leaves looked like delicious parcels of yumminess. After removing the Pandan leaves, the chicken was tender and not too chewy. There was not an ounce of fat on them and they needed only a touch of the accompanying syrupy and sweet pandan sauce. In case you are not familiar with Pandan sauce, it is made from a mixture of ingredients including tamarind juice, fish sauce and palm sugar.
I must confess that both appetizers were heavenly appetizing. I already want to go back to try some more.
Since there were five of us, we ordered a few mains. For me, no Thai meal is complete without a Thai curry. Coconut based Thai curries are gorgeously smooth and tasty. The most commonly known of the Thai curries are the 'red' and 'green' variety (respectively made from red chillies and green chillies which give them their vibrant colour).
We ordered the Thai beef green curry (160 Baht) and it came in a standard sized bowl with torn lime and basil leaves floating on the top. Underneath were generous slices of beef, Thai baby aubergine (eggplant) and a few Thai pea aubergines. Thai baby and pea aubergines are green, unlike the dark purple skinned variety that is common in the West. Thais generally like their curries hot, but you can specify the spicyness of your curry - mild or medium. I love to flavour my rice with curry sauce and this one was especially fragrant and aromatic.
The next dish brought to the table was the 'Stir fried squid with chilli and basil leaves'. The curly strips of squid were tender, juicy and tasted divine with the basil leaves and the delicious sauce drizzled all over. This dish wasn't too spicy and the chilli added just a hint of spice - just how I like it.
We ordered some 'Stir fried Morning glory (Chinese water spinach) with soy bean sauce' which is stir fried with garlic and slithers of red chilli. Morning glory stalks are hollow and the leaves resemble arrow tips. When cooked, the stalks are crunchy whilst the leaves are soft and luscious. Morning glory is simply scrumptious and these were nothing but. Mmmm...
The next dish to arrive was the 'Chinese kale, bean sprouts and carrots spicy & tangy salad.' I had never eaten this before, so I was looking forward to trying something new. It was essential to mix the salad before serving so that all the vegetables and dressing came together. Unfortunately though, I found this salad a little too sweet for my liking. In general, Thais have a penchant for sweet tasting things and for me, this dish was one of them.
Another sweet dish, the 'Sweet crispy noodles with soybean sauce and lime' was also a little too candy-coated for my palate. I think I'd rather stick to savoury soft noodles.
A favourite of mine and the last dish to arrive at our table, the 'Glass noodles with mushroom and prawn claypot.' My first thought was how small the dish looked and my second thought was, why were there only two prawns?! OK, so there were plenty slices of mushroom and spears of green onion, but this dish is all about the prawns in the glass noodles...
Nevertheless, I helped myself to a conservative portion sin prawn so as not to appear to be greedy. The glass noodles were soft and flavoursome from the sauce and mushrooms.
My only criticism though - I wish there had been more of this dish. I felt it was a little on the stingy side, even for Thailand. But perhaps the kitchen had run out of prawns tonight...?
Being too stuffed to even think about dessert, I will conclude by saying that the food here is tasty, generally well presented and although not all dishes will appeal to all tastes, there is an abundance of choice to satisfy everyone.
The ingredients were fresh and the dishes were well executed. I would definitely recommend it as a great place to come to enjoy some fine traditional royal Thai cuisine.
The staff are polite and attentive. The ambience is relaxing and best of all, nobody is rushed; everyone is simply left on their own to digest their meal and to indulge in some fabulous tastes of Thailand.
10 Soi Pramuan, Silom, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)2 236 4361
Nearest BTS: Surasak