As a Mandarin Oriental cafe, this place should without a doubt, be excellent. Having only been here for tea and coffee before, my friend and I decided to venture into this place for lunch today. They offer a selection of enticing Thai and Western delights.
You have to pass the cake display as you approach the entrance which all look beautifully made. However, with my past experience of eating cakes in Thailand before, they don't taste like they should do. So I was a little dubious as to how good they would taste...maybe I will try them one day...but not today...
There are several tables with comfy seating under huge canvas umbrellas. There is also a soothing waterfall feature with tropical plants which makes for a relaxing and serene haven in this city shopping complex.
On the menu, there are appetizers, soups, salad, sandwiches and Thai food. We opt for the Thai food as we wanted to see how it was. Feeling like a salad, we decided to share a papaya salad (which is traditionally eaten with fried chicken and sticky rice) followed by Khao Pad (Thai style fried rice) and a Chicken Green curry.
Whilst waiting for our food to be prepared, a bread basket was brought to us. It included sesame seeded wafers, wholemeal raisin bagette, mini country roll, mini wholemeal roll and brioche. I tried a little of each one; the seeded wafer wasn't anything special. I loved the brioche which was light and buttery, but not too much so. The raisin bread was delicious, but a little heavy for me. Seeing as we had an appetizer to share with a main each, we felt it wise to eat only a little of the bread.
When our papaya salad arrived, I was a little surprised at how small it was. However, seeing as was an appetizer and not a main, I think it was a good portion for just that. As expected, it was well presented and wonderfully dressed. The salad was a mix of peanuts, green beans, sliced green papaya and carrot. It was lovingly well balanced with a sweet and slightly spicy dressing. A truly wonderful and refreshing starter indeed...
The Khao Pad (Fried rice) came with the usual fried egg on top. Thais love having a fried egg on top of their fried rice and I must admit, it is a great addition to the dish. There were three grilled sticks - chicken satay, pork satay and king prawn which comes with satay sauce on the side with mini Thai style prawn crackers. Thai style prawn crackers differ from Chinese prawn crackers in that they are more dense, slightly pink in colour (from the prawns), are smaller and obviously taste different.
Again, this plate was beautifully presented. The rice had fried chicken, pork, dried shrimp, tomato, spring onions and more. It was absolutely stunningly wonderful and there was plenty of it. I enjoyed it so much that I have made a mental note to come back for this dish alone!
The chicken green curry was a substantial portion, came with a plate of plain jasmine rice and a plate of condiments (see picture below the green curry).
It had lots of basil and wasn't too spicy (as I requested it to be), but I was dissappointed to find only a few segments of Thai aubergine (eggplant) and no baby Thai aubergine at all!! The chicken meat wasn't fatty, but it came from the thigh. Personally I prefer sliced chicken breast in my green curry. The sauce was really very tasty though. But with the significant lack of aubergine and the chicken meat, it was only mediocre. I don't think I will be rushing back for this one.
The plate of condiments included a sweet plum chutney, roasted cashews, mini Thai prawn crackers, dried grated fish and what I can only describe as crispy thin backbone of little fish as I don't the proper name.
All in all, I really enjoyed the bread, the papaya salad and the fried rice. However, I've had much better chicken green curry elsewhere. This won't stop me from coming back to try some of the other delectable sounding things on the menu. Eyeing up the plates served to a couple of well dressed 'ladies who lunch', their toasted sandwiches looked utterly delicious with a generous serving of salad on the side - another thing to try...
The waiters were polite enough and friendly to a point, but not overly so. I won't call this place excellent, but it is pretty good. And as a Mandarin Oriental cafe, it already has high standards to adhere to.
There is also a sister cafe on the M floor of the Paragon Shopping Complex. I think I will be trying that one next time.
Salon de L'Oriental
Ground floor, Emporium Shopping Complex, 622 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66 (0)2 664 8000
Nearest BTS: Phrom Phong