BAAN PHADTHAI

BAAN PHADTHAI

By : MICHAEL MOORE

07 July 2016

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summary : Excellently prepared phad thai and other basic Thai dishes served in a carefully restored shop-house.

About: This delightful little restaurant elevates the quality of a small collection of basic Thai dishes – especially phad thai – to levels rarely found anywhere. The quality comes not from fusing and messing with recipes, but from using the finest ingredients possible and careful unhurried preparation. The restaurant is a product of the fertile imagination of Fred Meyer, a restaurateur responsible for some of Bangkok's most unique dining spots, including Issaya, Namsaah Bottling Trust and Pizza Massilia. The kitchen is under the control of executive chef Sujira Pongmorn of the Issaya group.

Setting: Baan Phadthai is housed in a carefully restored shop-house with fans (no air-conditioning) lazily churning the air, located a couple of blocks from the Shangri-la Hotel and just steps from Charoen Krung Road. The facade and interior are a bright blue, the floor is bare concrete, the walls are adorned with raw wood panels like those found in traditional Thai houses. The overall effect is reminiscent of some of the restored shop-houses found in Phuket Town and Peninsular Malaysia and oozes with a vibe of times past.

Menu: Our dining experience got off to a rollicking start with Miang kana (150 baht), a variation on the popular Thai appetizer miang kham that uses young Chinese kale leaves instead of the usual cha phlu leaves. Aside from stunning presentation on a bamboo tray, the dish is noteworthy because of the tamarind sauce used and the carefully prepared ingredients used to stuff the leaves. Equally enjoyable was the Gai tod (190 baht), deep-fried chicken wings with a house-made nam jim sauce. The tour de force, of course, is the phad thai. It comes in several manifestations, including vegetarian (160 baht), grilled pork (190 baht), grilled chicken (190 baht), and grilled river prawn (250 baht), but our favorite was the Phad thai phoo (280 baht), a delightful preparation of stir-fried rice noodles, with eggs, peanuts, bean sprouts (with the ends carefully removed), tofu, garlic, chives, dried shrimp, crab juice, tamarind sauce and blue crab meat. We we were also very impressed with the Tub tim grob (130 baht), a dessert of ruby water chestnut served with smoked coconut syrup and shaved ice. The drink's menu serves a selection of authentic Thai drinks, including teas, sodas and some heady cocktails crafted with Sangsom, a traditional Thai spirit.

Evaluation: Baan Phadthai has a carefully conceived concept that it has religiously turned into reality. The food is well-prepared, true to its origins and imaginatively platted. This is definitely a place that should be visited by anyone interested in the finest renditions of some of Thailand's most famous everyday dishes. There is no on-site parking, but there is parking in the neighborhood and it is located within reasonable walking distance of the Saphan Taksin BTS station.