Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cheers Bar & Grill, Bangkok

When I first heard about a new place called Cheers on Sukhumvit soi 22, I couldn't help but think of Cheers, the fictional Boston bar that dominated tv screens in the UK and US back in the 80s.

I've been to a 'Cheers' bar before.  But that one was in London, back in the late 90s, when life was all about working and playing.  These days, it's more about working and eating . . . in my case at least.  

I arrived here yesterday lunch time, ready for a sit down and a bite to eat after a somewhat taxing language lesson. 

Having walked from Asoke BTS, it only took me about six or so minutes.  It was a nice day and frankly, I needed the walk.

Located underneath the Regency Hotel, Cheers Bar & Grill is on the right hand side of the Soi when walking down from Sukhumvit road.  

The interior looks brand spanking new, which is a good thing, seeing as this place only opened on 2nd December.  I must admit, I felt a little honoured to be one of their earlier customers.

Kitted out in teak wood, the bar is at the back, three flat screen televisions, plenty of tables and chairs and a couple of high tables on the balcony for those who love to people watch (although it can get noisy outside!). 

A waitress instantly greeted me, allowed me to sit where I wanted to - which was in the corner on the large table - and gave me a menu to study.

And study it, I did.  The frosted plastic covered menu is fairly extensive as menus go: sandwiches with chips from 200 baht, steaks (from 600 baht, pizzas, pastas, fish and chips, Thai and Isaan food from 150 baht.  I can't name them all, but there is lot on offer.  Apparently there was more, but it's been cut down?! 

For vegetarians, I did notice that there weren't any dedicated vegetarian dishes.  And as one customer politely pointed this out, she was duly accommodated and was able to have her dish prepared with no meat.

I, as a meat eater (trying to reduce my consumption though) ordered a simple dish, stir fried rice noodles with chicken and vegetables (sen yai phad se-uw gai) at 150 baht.  It came presented in a lovely clean white dish - which made for a refreshing change.  Usually, I get it slopped onto a plate, no wiping away any spills.  But then I am partial to eating this at cheaper, no frills spared establishments.  

This sen yai phad se-uw gai was steaming hot and after I got my compulsory four condiments to personalise it, I began to dig in.  It was tasty and hit the just right spot.     

This place is still so new, I feel it's yet to make an impact.  I imagine it's a busy place in the evenings where many 'farangs' would flock to.

Service is polite, the place is clean.  The other dishes that came out of the kitchen looked generous and my friend tells me, their steaks are pretty tasty. 

Likes: The clean plate that my noodles came in.

Dislikes: The slightly too loud 80s glam rock music (I'm not that young anymore) which I grew out of in my late teens.  But those with a glam rock disposition will love it.

Final Thoughts: I am sure this new kid on the block will be a popular place for farangs and tourists alike. 

Cheers Bar & Grill
12/3 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Klong Toei, Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66 (0)2 259 7420

Nearest BTS: Phrom Phong, exit 3.  Go down the stairs instead of into Emporium and carrying on walking straight ahead until you get to Soi 22 on your left hand side.  Turn down Soi 22 and Cheers Bar & Grill is a few hundred metres on your right.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Phuket Town, Thong Lor, Bangkok

Phuket Town sits on the corner of Sukhumvit 55 (aka Soi Thong Lor) and Thong Lor Soi 6.  It occupies a small shop house and although I won't go into how charming it looks, because yes, it does look it.  It is small however, with only seven tables in total, one would be forgiven for thinking that this place may feel tiny, but it has high ceilings so it doesn't feel too cramped.  

The food as one would guess, is Southern Thai food from the region of Phuket.  Which I might add, used to be so lovely and sleepy.  Fortunately or unfortunately - depending on which way you look at it - Phuket is now one big bustling, thriving town full of expats and tourists . . . .

The food here is home cooked fare, lots of shrimp paste, Southern style curries and plenty more.  I came here tonight in a group of four, we were all famished and ordered way too much.  Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of all the food.  A shame and for that, I do apologise.  I just tucked in and forgot all about papping the dishes as they came out.

We ordered the stir fried morning glory with shrimp paste.  If shrimp paste isn't your thing, you might not enjoy this so much.  The morning glory was crunchy and it wasn't spicy.

The bamboo shoots with minced prawn was generous, fresh and again not the least bit spicy.

The eggplant with deep fried seabass was fairly spicy.  I bit right into a red chilli and felt the numbing heat for a good few minutes.  Oh the joy of biting into red chilli seeds. 

The stir fried green beans with prawns in shrimp paste was OK. But I think I was a bit shrimp pasted out by this point.

We also ordered the fish cakes which were quite tasty.  Mini fish cakes that were bouncy, but minus any kaffir lime leaf or green beans.

Kanom Jeen Naam Ya Bpoo (crab curry with chinese rice noodles).  Thick yellow curry sauce with pieces of crab served with a plate of rice noodles, pickles, dried anchovies and chillies, pineapple. fresh beansprouts and Thai basil.  The curry is mild, probably a little too mild for my liking, but good all the same.

Fish balls with dipping sauce which were really plump.  My Western friends didn't really take to these.  Yes, they are an acquired taste - just like Marmite - love them or hate them.  Personally, I love them!

Finally we had the stir fried belly pork with sliced lemongrass and shallots. 

Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the meal.  I did feel a little overwhelmed with all the food and sorry to say, that we left quite a bit of it as we couldn't finish it all. 

The staff are kept busy and the place has a great bustling feel about it.  We didn't feel rushed, in fact we were the last ones out at ten o'clock.  The owner was tilling up and the waiting staff had already cleared and wiped down the rest of the tables.

My party wanted more drinks, but we decided to move on and let them clear up and close for the night.

Likes: The cute mural on the wall.

Dislikes: The strange look I got from one of the staff when I didn't understand what he was asking me in Thai. 

Final Thoughts: It's a popular place for 'farangs' who love a bit of quaint Thailand.  For me, the food was good, it wasn't out of this world.  But I would go back, if just for the cute charm of the place.

Phuket Town
160/8 Thong Lor Soi 6, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)2 714 9402

HOURS: 10:30am - 10:30pm

Nearest BTS: Thong Lor, Exit 3.  Catch a taxi or motorsai to corner of Thong Lor & Thong Lor Soi 6.