Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Olive Tree (previously Jerusalem Falafel) - Middle Eastern food

Looking through various reviews of The Olive Tree, I was surprised to see all the mixed reports. Some raves about the restaurant, others hate it...the most predominant complaints being the "rude owner" and "tasteless food". Having been there 3 times - once in the old restaurant, Jerusalem Falafel, and twice in the new one, I've found my experience to be very pleasant, and very much enjoyed the food there each time. In fact, I look forward to my next visit.

The beautiful new restaurant, The Olive Tree, is quite exotic, and exudes a feeling of cosiness and warmth. The lady owner, whom I found to be very passionate person, tells me that it took her 3 years to create this new restaurant. I could feel that she put her heart and soul into it, and into her food as well. Her husband, the host,  is very friendly and accommodating, and always has a smile on his face.

The owner recommended the special of the day, Chicken Tagin with Tomato & Olive. A tagin, she explains, is like a clay pot. The chicken is slowed cooked with the sauce in the tagin, which also imparts an aroma onto the chicken....and it was absolutely lovely! The chicken was so tender it's falling of the bone, and tasted wonderful with the tomato based sauce, and the olives...I think they were my favourite part of the dish....creamy and mellow. I couldn't have enough of of the olives! 240 baht.

I didn't have much of the Lamb Cutlets, and I don't normally eat a lot of lamb, but from the little bit that I had, the meat seemed to be well flavoured, although a little chewy. My friend seemed quite satisfied with it. 300 baht. 

So it seems, at least from my experience there, The Olive Tree is a very good restaurant, and the food is great. The previous time I went with some vegetarian friends, and we each enjoyed a platter of falafel, hummus and pita bread. Actually, Jerusalem Falafel (now The Olive Tree) is their favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai, and they make a point to come to the restaurant every time they visit this city.

A lot of people (from the reviews I've read) also complains that the restaurant is quite pricey. As for me, I think it's quite reasonable for the quality and type of food.

I'll definitely go back again.

The Olive Tree Restaurant
29/7 Moon-Muang Rd
A. Muang, Chiang Mai
(Between 7-11 & Pharmachoice Pharmacy)
Tel: 053 271 196
Opens: 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm
Closed on Fridays

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Monday, 21 January 2013

Nakara Jardin Patisserie & Bistro

Nakara Jardin is such a lovely place I almost wanted to keep it as my secret garden and not blog about it. But, for the greater good, I guess I should let my wonderful readers know. : D

Nestled in a beautiful garden next to the Ping River, Nakara Jardin is a tranquil place to spend a few hours either by yourself or with friends. It's a little oasis in the middle of sometimes crazy Chiang Mai!  I really enjoyed the quietness eventhough it was a Sunday afternoon and the shop was quite busy.

Now, let's meet the young chef, Pomme. Chef Pomme opened Nakara Jardin only 2 months ago. Previously, he studied French Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok, and worked for 5 years in the city. Later on, Chef Pomme went back to Le Cordon Bleu to do the patisserie course and returned to Chiang Mai to open Nakara Jardin. The reason I know all this? I actually got to meet Chef Pomme as he brought us our order.

...And he's serving us this beautiful Blueberry Mousse Cheesecake (90 baht), which is not only pretty looking, but is also very good. I loved the plump, juicy blueberries sandwiched between the blueberry mousse and the cheese cake. The creamy tanginess taste is lovely, but I wouldn't mind a bit more of the actual cheese cake.


Opera (85 baht) - lovely too. The different textures are very interesting. For some reason, the cake kind of "melted" as we were enjoying it. Still tasted great though.

The Verdict
I love Nakara Jardin. The location is beautiful, the ambience is great, the cakes are good. Prices comparable to similar quality bakeries / cake shops / patisseries. What else can you ask for? I'll definitely go back and try other cakes. They also serve simple lunches like soup and pasta as well.

Nakara Jardin Patisserie & Bistro
11 Soi 9 Charoenprathet Rd
Chiang Mai 50100.
(Behind Ping Nakara Hotel)
Tel: 053 818977
Opens: 10am-6pm

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Friday, 11 January 2013

Mao Dok Mai / The Drunken Flower

Happy New Year! Wishing all of you dear readers a wonderful 2013 with lots of happiness, joy, and lots of great food! 

After the Christmas and New Year excess and parties, what's a more appropriate way to start the year by reviewing Mao Dok Mai aka The Drunken Flower - Nice and cosy pub / bar with a good selection of drinks and beer, groovy music and interesting and yummy snacks. 

I went on a Sunday night - by far not their busiest nights, with only a few patrons when I was there. A lovely black labrador came to greet me as I sat down to wait for my friend.

Looking through the drinks menu, I spied a drink called "The Drunken Tom-Yum"- Sangsom, lime, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, soda. I just had to try it! It turned out to be very pleasant, refreshing and easy to drink drink, tangy and slightly spicy, but not "strong" at all - which is fine with me.  95 baht.

What to order is the next big question. Luckily, they had some recommendations which included:

Mao Dok Mai - smoked pork loin with wasabi, shoyu sauce, carrots and celery. 85 baht. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? The dish turned out to be quite a bit bit smaller than expected, and not exactly what I imagined. It was quite interesting though, but the wasabi smeared around the pork cubes was quite overpowering. The whole thing was a bit like chewy salmon sashimi with lots of wasabi.

Beef Burger With Drunken Sauce. 85 baht. Also quite small. I suppose smaller dishes meant we could try more things! The curious thing about this burger was that there was no bread. The waitress explained..."Yes, it's a breadless burger!" LOL.

This little burger patty was topped with "drunken sauce" which turned out to be a tomato salsa with thai flavorings (lime, etc). This "burger" was actually very nice - very tender and moist patty - very well cooked, and tasted great too. Served with a very nice and fresh side salad.

Still felt quite hungry, we asked for a recommendation from the waitress - something that patrons like to order. She said unhesitatingly, "Grilled Beef with Drunken Sauce", 95 baht. She also told us that this was going to be a more substantial portion.

This was our favourite dish for the night. Sliced grilled beef, very nicely flavoured, topped with the same tomato salsa drunken sauce. This time we could taste a lot more of the tanginess of the sauce, or rather, dressing. It would be a really nice snack to have with beer.

Other regular Thai dishes are also available, as are Mexican dishes. Vegetarian (as in tofu) versions of some dishes are available too. I haven't tried their Mexican food, but if you have, please tell us what you think in the comment section below. :-)

For music lovers, there is live music at The Drunken Flower on Wed-Sat nights from 9pm. Other nights - music is played from their vinyl collection.

Mao Dok Mai / The Drunken Flower
28/3 Soi 17 Nimmanhaemin Rd
T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 894210, 081 716 6036
Opens: 5pm till midnight

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