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Spring & Summer

2 Jun

More and more exquisite restaurants and cafes have been popping up in Bangkok in the recent years, mostly serving fusion food of some sort: Thai-Italian, Thai-Japanese, Thai-French, you name it. Y and I visited Spring & Summer, on Sukhumvit Soi 49, just two sub-sois away from  Samitivej Hospital, in the Japanese-y area of Sukhumvit Road.

Spring & Summer is an old house converted into a classy restaurant. Mains are served in the “Spring restaurant”, and dessert in the “Summer chocolate house”, although you could just sit in one place and have all of the above. At night, if you aren’t afraid of mosquitoes and bugs, I’d recommend relaxing out in the spacious “Winter bar” garden on a beanbag with a cocktail in hand.

We ordered a Tuna Tataki Salad as a starter. Presentation was simple, yet amazing. We loved the extra large wooden fork and spoon that came with the dish, for us to toss the salad in. The dressing was a delicious soy wasabi vinaigrette, which worked perfectly with both the greens and the tuna sashimi. Sadly, the star of the dish – the tuna – was not as fresh as we would have liked it to be.

Crab and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

I always like angel hair pasta because of its thin texture, and I tend to order it whenever it is on the menu. This time, it was something different – not the more typical truffle oil drizzling in Gianni’s, not the mind blowing cold pasta in il Lido. It was stir-fried Thai style – spiced by chili and herbs, and zinged by artichokes. The sun dried tomatoes and olives added a delicious Mediterranean twist to the dish. Flavors were extremely well-balanced here, but the dish could have been better, because the stir-frying made the pasta overcooked, barring on mushy.

This huge plate of chili glazed baby back ribs has a more interesting name in Thai: ซี่โครงหมูต้องห้าม, which literally means “cautioned ribs”. When the waiter presented us with this dish, our eyes widened at the size of it: two half-stacks of ribs with a thick chili glaze served alongside a huge onion basket. The ribs were delicious to a mind-blowing extent. The juicy meat fell of the bone with just a flick of the knife. The only downside to the ribs were the chili glaze, which we found to be too sweet. As for the onion basket, it cleansed our palette well, although it could have been crispier.

Despite us being extremely full from the main meal, we HAD to move on to dessert, because Spring & Summer makes such wonderful chocolate treats!

This plate is christened Better Than Sex. I can imagine why the name, because the baked chocolate mousse was soooooo delectable, so chocolately, so addictive. We couldn’t get enough of it, and almost fought over who got the last bite. The vanilla ice cream was homemade, with a twist of banana in it, which I did not particularly enjoy, because of the slightly artificial taste that banana flavorings always have (I don’t like banana flavors in general). But oh, did I mention the yummy salted caramel drizzle that runs along the circumference of the plate? Too good.

This was another aptly christened plate: Chocolate Bravo. The lava cake was so perfectly executed: the crust was thin, yet moist, and so much sinful dark chocolate oozed out from the inside. It was served alongside a dollop of chocolate mousse, which rightly did not steal the limelight from the lava cake. Bravo, indeed.

On top of these, the friend had a Strawberry mojito (which was too syrupy) and I had a pineapple and tropical fruits smoothie (which was not too shabby).

For the first time in my blog, I will be splitting my verdict between the mains and the desserts, just because it would be fairer that way.

My verdict: 2/5 spoonfuls for the mains (for the prices charged, I’d be expecting higher standards), and 5/5 spoonfuls for the oh-too-heavenly desserts. I’ll definitely be coming back for the desserts, after a meal somewhere else first. Or maybe, just a meal of chocolate dessert here 😉

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The Canal

17 Jul

Chiangmai, revisited after 3 years. The Canal is the perfect place to go for fine dining when in Chiangmai. It sits in a cozy little hotel called The Rim, inspired by the Lanna culture and architecture. We fell in love with the place immediately upon stepping in.

Pre-Dinner Shot with Sour Tamarind

The shot was made with a local alcohol base, and was slightly sweet with a tinge of herbs. It was supposed to enhance our appetites and aid with digestion. Take the shot, eat the tamarind. It was insanely sour and unbearable for some, but I loved the acidity.

After Party

A mocktail made from mango, lime, passionfruit, and ginger ale. I swear there’s something else in there, a secret ingredient, which wasn’t mentioned in the menu. Can’t quite put a name to it because all the ingredients were so perfectly blended into this delicious glass. The friend loved it so much he decided to keep it for himself and not share it with me.

Around the Rim

This is a signature cocktail of this place. Alcohol base of vodka, with watermelon chunks, ginger, basil leaves, lemon, lime, and ginger. Distinctly Thai. Not too sweet, not too strong. I decided to keep this for myself.

Shrimp and Pomelo Salad

Very well tossed dish, wonderful on its own, but even more satisfying when wrapped around the leaf shown in the background.

Shrimp Spring Roll

Freaking gave me a bad allergy attack. But I only have myself to blame for eating shrimp despite knowing I’m allergic to it. It was very well fried, crisp rolls wrapped around fresh shrimp, dipped in plum sauce. The plum sauce was interesting, as it isn’t the typical sweet plum sauce you get in supermarkets. It was not only sweet, but also slightly sour and salty.

Pineapple Fried Rice 

Best pineapple rice I’ve had in a LONG while. I love pineapple rice, and I’ve always been searching for a well-executed one, which isn’t just fried rice in a pineapple, or extremely sweet fried rice which makes me wonder if I’m eating a main course or a dessert. This one was sweet just to the right extent. On the side was nam prik goong sieb, which is a dried shrimp chili paste. Perfect combination!

Chicken Massaman Curry

Interesting how this curry was executed as an hybrid between a massaman and a green curry. The orangey paste exudes slight sweetness like a massaman, but the chef added basil and eggplants, making it exude charms of a green curry.

Beef Salad

Absolutely heavenly. The beef was tossed with herbs like basil, lemon grass, chili, tomato, and onions. We shared two plates of this between the both of us! It was that good!

Banana in Coconut Paste

This dish tastes the same whether you pay 25 baht for it or 165 baht. Didn’t see the point of paying 165 for this.

Lemongrass Panna Cotta

Genius creation! Adding a touch of Thai to an Italian dish. I thought it was slightly too dense, but the friend absolutely loved it. I loved the gravy, as the lemongrass was perfectly infused in it.

Mango Mousse

Worst dessert I’ve ever tasted in a fancy restaurant. They’ve got plenty of gut to call that pathetically sweet thing mango mousse. The sponge was dense, and was extra sweetness. Passion fruit puree was even more sweetness to the dessert. Yes, desserts are meant to be sweet. But not just sugar sweet and no other taste, I’m sure? Even the little chocolate on top tasted terrible.

Halfway through the dinner the friend said, “This restaurant is worthy of a review. How many spoons would you give it?” I instantly replied, “5 spoonfuls!” But after the dessert…

My verdict: 4/5 spoonfuls

Humble apologies for the poor picture quality. Lighting was really dim in the restaurant!

Phuket Town

11 Jul

So last night I went out for  a late dinner with G at Phuket Town, down Thonglor Soi 6. Not difficult to find, as it sits right on the main road, on the same side of the road as Pan Pacific. It’s a cozy little restaurant, and I mean it literally. Make reservations before coming! +662 714 9402.

ขนมจีนน้ำยาปู Kanom Jeen Nam Ya Poo (Rice noodles with Crab Curry)

At first glance, it seemed as innocent as a typical kanom jeen you’d get anywhere in Thailand, but with the added wedges of pineapple, a speciality of Phuket in Southern Thailand. But I was stunned by the crab curry. It was thick and pasty, with generous pieces of crab meat so fresh I did not suffer an allergy attack. We finished every drop of the curry.

สะตอผัดหมู Sator Phad Moo (Stir Fried Bitter Bean with Pork)

Not everyone enjoys the taste of the bitter bean. As its name suggests, it is bitter, and exudes quite an…interesting flavor that is quite indescribable. You either love it or hate it. For me, I love it. This dish was fried with kapi, or ground shrimp paste, which complemented the bitter beans very well.

ใบเหลียงผัดไข่ Bai Lhieng Phad Khai (Lhieng Leaf with Eggs)

Bai Lhieng is a leaf native to southern Thailand, but has recently been cultivated in other parts of the country. Despite looking like a crunchy type of vegetable, it is actually quite soft and moist. It does not have a very distinctive flavor of its own. The dried shrimp topping the fried eggs and leaves provided a welcome contrast to the dish.

แกงส้มปลากระพง Kaeng Som Pla Kraphong (Orange Curry with Sea Bass)

Best kaeng som I’ve had in a long while. This is another southern dish, but popular in Bangkok. I personally find the Bangkokian interpretation of the dish not as delicious as the original version. Bangkok often does it sweeter and more sour, while the original version is thicker, saltier, and spicier.

We had another dish, ผักสดน้ำพริกฉิ้งฉ้าง (Fresh Vegetables with Ching Chang Chili), but unfortunately we jumped straight into the dish without remembering to capture a photo. Ching Chang chili is a spicy chili paste made of crunchy Thai anchovies. Another dish I loved.

Remember not to get carried away ordering dish after dish after dish, especially if you are with small company! We had 5 dishes between the both of us, and despite our desperate attempt to finish all the food, we did leave some behind. And after 1 cocktail and 4 or 5 beers per person, we were still too full to get supper.

My verdict: 4/5 spoonfuls. Was hoping the flavors would be stronger, spicier, more pungent, like what would have been the case had we been down south.