Friday, October 7, 2011

Secret Garden, Sathorn, Bangkok

Secret Garden in Sathorn sits in a beautiful English tea room styled house.  With a pretty front garden, this place is nestled behind a tall wall on the busy Sathorn road.

I guess it's not so 'secret' these days with so many other outlets (namely CentralWorld and Thonglor). 

In Sathorn there is parking, which can get full pretty quickly, especially on Sundays.  This place is famous for their crepe cake, which I must admit was the reason for my and my DM's visit today.

We arrived just before midday, so there were still a few car park spaces left.  

On entering the high ceiling restaurant, we were warmly welcomed by courteous and friendly staff

The Thai and English menu consists of fusion style Thai food.  We ordered a cooked salmon salad (240 baht), crispy spring rolls, shrimp paste fried rice and spicy glass noodle prawn salad.  

The staff all speak pretty good English, so no worries if you don't speak Thai.  

First out was the cooked salmon salad.  With fresh herbs and dried chillies, it was a little spicy, but not so much as to blow one's head off.  They also gave us extra dressing in a side bowl should we need it.  The salmon was lovely, but we both found the dressing a little bit on the salty side. 

The crispy spring rolls came with a slightly sweet syrupy sauce.  These were crispy, non-greasy and although not traditional in the sense of spring roll filling that I am used to, they were good.

The shrimp paste fried rice came with all the condiments on the side: dried shrimps, freshly sliced chillies, red onion, raw mango, sweet pork and slices of omelette on top of the rice.  We both really enjoyed this dish, dm especially.  

The prawn glass noodle salad came with plenty of juicy, plump prawns, fresh herbs and chopped peanuts (which so many foreigners, rightly or wrongly, associate with Thai cooking).  

The salad was fresh and maybe a little bit on the sweet side.  

Seeing as this place is famous for their crepe cake.  What better way to end than a cup of tea with cake.  All their teas are served in the one pot, one cup set.  How rather quaint and adorable I say!

The slice of crepe cake came drizzled with strawberry coulis on top.  It was delicious, soft crepe, fresh cream, not too sweet strawberry coulis.

All in all, we were pretty satisfied.  Service was excellent I thought, savoury food was pretty good and their crepe cake was just lovely.  In fact, I have heard that their cakes is the reason for why so many people come here.  And really, they serve a lot of crepe cake!

This is a lovely, tranquil hideaway from the hustle and bustle of Sathorn road.  It really did remind me of an English country garden in so many different ways . . . and I have to say, having been brought up in the Cotswolds, England (where I was surrounded by tea shops), it brought on a lot of nostalgia, in a good way of course.  

Secret Garden
117 Thanon Sathon Tai, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10500
Tel: +66 (0)2 286 2464
Nearest MRT: Lumpini Park, exit for Sathorn Road.  Take a taxi or walk about 8 or so minutes.  

Daily 11am-10pm

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dumpling Crazy At Din Tai Fung, CentralWorld, Bangkok

Din Tai Fung, Bangkok has a fairly large location on the 7th floor in CentralWorld. 

I have eaten at a Din Tai Fung restaurant before, in Sydney, Australia.  It was recommended by some friends who are a Sydney-siders who love food.  All I can say is, it was good!

Din Tai Fung in Bangkok has an open dumpling kitchen so patrons can watch the chefs making the dumplings whilst salivating.

For those who may not know, Din Tai Fung is in fact a Taiwanese dumpling restaurant.   Many people come for their 'xiao long bao' dumplings, which do in fact come from Shanghai and those passionate about these dumplings will tell you that only in Shanghai can you get the best xiao long bao.

Although I have been to Shanghai, unfortunately I have never eaten these wonderful dumplings there.  I was, but a mere backpacker at the time.

Nevertheless, we ordered half a dozen of these soup and meat dumplings (145 baht), half a dozen prawn and pork shao mai (close to 200 baht I think?), noodles with spicy minced beef, steamed pork soup (185 baht) and stir fry veggies (sorry folks, can't remember their chinese name ... terrible I know!).

The xiao long bao dumplings were hot, beautifully wrapped morsels.  The wrappers were just the right consistency, not too thin and not too thick. 

The prawn and pork shao mai looked liked beautiful little parcels.  The fanciest shao mai I have ever seen.  

Again they were hot, but a little difficult to eat.  I found myself biting the top part (the prawn) before then digging into the bottom.  The dumpling wrappers were a little thick and glutinous.  The mince pork had been well seasoned.

The noodles are dan dan noodles (spicy Sichuan noodles).  Being complete noodle freaks, we both really enjoyed these.  In fact, you may have noticed how much Thais in general, love noodles ....

The steamed pork soup was very tasty.  It wasn't overly salty at all which I loved.  The pork just fell off the bone.  Steamed pork soup is (for me at least) a comfort food and many who grew up with Chinese parents will readily know what I mean.

The stir fry veggies were also good. Lightly stir fried, they weren't greasy at all which was really very pleasant.

Staff are friendly, polite and well-trained.  Tea is constantly topped up, so no having to wait around trying to flag someone down.  If you're craving some good dumplings, then get yourself down to Din Tai Fung in CentralWorld.

By the time we finished, the place was full.  Just like in Sydney, people were queuing up to get in.  I'm glad we arrived here just before the mad lunch rush (midday) and I'd advise anyone who wants to avoid queuing to do the same. 

Din Tai Fung
7th Floor, CentralWorld Shopping Mall, Bangkok
Tel: 02-646-1282
Nearest BTS: Siam or Chidlom.  Follow the signed skywalk.

Daily 10am-10pm