Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soul Food Mahanakorn, Thong Lor, Bangkok

Apologies to my regular readers - I've been absent for a while due to moving countries.

Alas, I am now based in South East Asia.  I will be sampling lots of what I hope will be, some rather tasty, perhaps somewhat interesting, and maybe even downright wierd to those of a non-adventurous palate in these tropical climes.

My first entry on my new venture is in the City of Angels; otherwise known as Bangkok.  Tonight I decided to pay a visit to a restaurant opened and run by an American called 'Soul Food Mahanakorn'.  You might be forgiven for thinking that this place serves good 'ole soul food from the deep south of the USA.  But no, this is 'soul food' taken from the streets of Thailand. 

Mahanakorn for those that don't know, means 'big city' in Thai.  It's what the Thais refer to as Bangkok, that is 'Krung Thep Maha Nakhon'.

This restaurant isn't huge, but there's a nice bar with high stools and subtle lighting to create a chilled out space.  Ambient music plays out into the restaurant and as I stepped into this lovely bijoux place off the busy Thong Lo street, I felt instantly relaxed and definitely much cooler.

A waiter showed me to my table and instantly brought me the menus - drinks, wine and food.  The food menu is well thought out with dishes listed under their respective categories.  Eyeing each one carefully, I could feel my taste buds salivating as I read the descriptions of each dish.

The wine menu is equally well thought out and the cocktails all sounded pretty divine, especially the 'Bangkok Bastard'.

Anyway, back to the food, we ordered the 'Southern Thai Samosas' (160Bht).  Minced chicken with cumin in deep fried spring roll wrappers, accompanied by a mint and yoghurt dip.  They weren't greasy in the slightest.  I only managed a little of the dip as the plate was whipped away in a blink an eye as soon I had picked up the last samosa, so I can't really comment on it.  I really wish somebody would teach the service staff in this part of the world not to clear away plates so quickly.

Next up was the 'fried mackeral with som tam salad'. The mackeral was pretty boney, but the flesh was gorgeously crispy and tender inside.  The salad was fresh and light.  A well rounded dish, despite having to pick out the bones.

Som Tam Thai, which is a crunchy papaya salad which many Thais love, myself included!  This was so fresh and delicious.  It had the salty, the sweet, the sour and the spicy, all with the fresh crunchiness of the papaya, green beans and peanuts. 

Khao Soi - egg noodles in a slow cooked beef coconut curry.  This bowl of curry noodles came accompanied with fresh lime, ground chilli flakes, finely diced shallots and pickle.  The noodles were crunchy on the top, the beef was tender and the curry sauce was simply oh so, lick smacking good.  I loved this dish and I would have it again.

Lamb Kra pow -  served with the traditional fried egg atop the mound of rice.  This is the traditional way to eat it.  This was a nice dish and as I have ever had kra pow with lamb before, it made a nice change as the lamb was tender and juicy.

Unfortunately we didn't get to desserts, but next time, I want to try the durian ice-cream!

The staff are neatly dressed in black and they are attentative to every table.  Water was constantly topped up and we didn't have to wave frantically to get their attention as is the case in many other restaurants in this city. 

There are just sixteen table covers and a few bar stools, so it's probably best to make a reservation here. 

OK, so you can get cheap Thai food out on the streets for less than half the price of this place.  But they don't use any MSG here, the ingredients are fresh as a daisy, the setting is pleasant and you might even get a friendly hello from the owner like we did. 

Soul Food Mahanakorn
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Soi Thong Lo), Bangkok
T: (02) 714 7708

Daily 5:30pm-10pm

BTS: Thong Lor

Take Exit 3, turn right around and walk towards the traffic lights.  Carry on walking in the same direction, straight over to the other side of the main road (Soi Thong Lor).  Turn left after crossing the road and keep walking up Soi Thong Lor.  Soul Food Mahanakorn is further up on your right hand side (opposite Grand Tower Inn).

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