Monday 31 August 2009


The occasion was one of our friends got a 50% discount card for dining outlets at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, one of the most beautiful (and most expensive, perhaps), resorts in town. An opportunity not to be missed. : )

So there we were, enjoying the luxurious ambiance, impeccable service and some wonderful food. Akaligo happens to serve Mediterranean cuisine, which sounds rather exotic, doesn't it? These are actually foods from countries like Greece, Italy, France, and also includes places like Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco.

Now, I don't know if all these countries' cuisines are represented on the Akaligo menu, but there were plenty of Italian, at least in terms of pasta...and the pasta we had were wonderful, some of the nicest I've had. The pastas themselves were homemade, and the the sauces were concentrated with flavour. I chose Fetuccini Marinara (above photo). Although I found the dish quite salty, it was still very delicious.

I think I'm getting ahead of myself here though, because I just realised I haven't mentioned our entree/starters yet. We decided to order two salads to share.

Ceasar Salad is always a safe choice, not that I was worried! The dressing was lovely, and there were plenty of anchovies and Parmasan cheese.

The interesting one, though was the Watermelon Salad (above). Yes, the Watermelon Salad - consisting of watermelon, olives and ricotta cheese, served with olive oil. It was a mixture of sweet, slightly tangy and salty tastes, and turned out to be quite nice and very refreshing. We were in air-conditioning during our dinner, but I think it will make a perfect light lunch on a hot summer's day.

The bill turned out to be 2200 baht for 6 people, no alcohol, which worked out to be approx. 360 baht per person, including the 50% discount.

When you go to Akaligo Restaurant, a buggy will pick you up from the main gate of the resort and take you back down again. Since there were six of us, I was lucky enough to have the back seat of the buggy. The view I saw coming back down to the car park was something like this: (photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi). If you click on the photo you'll be able to see the full size. The actual view I saw of the main lobby lit up against the dark sky was even more spectacular.

Some of the restaurant's specialty dishes are: Beef carpaccio, Lobster bisque, Veal osso bucco and Potato gnocchi.

Akaligo Restaurant
Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi
Chiang Mai-San kampaeng Rd
Tel: 053 888 888

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Saturday 22 August 2009

Inthanon Restaurant

There are certainly a lot of near-waterfall "street eat" experiences at Doi Inthanon National Park. At Mae Klang Waterfall, for example, you can buy sticky rice, grilled chicken and papaya salad to eat at "shacks" by the water. It's quite a fun (and cheap) experience!

There's also a finer dining option further up Thailand's tallest mountain at the Inthanon Royal Project Agricultural Station - the Inthanon Restaurant. Dine in the cool and fresh mountain air on a deck overlooking great views.

Their specialties are the trouts and vegies (both grown and raised, or rather, raised and grown at the Royal Project by local hill-tribes). As you can imagine, the vegetables are super fresh, and straight from the source (so, cheap as well!). For example, a salad, served with a creamy dressing will set you back 50 baht.

This huge plate of Mixed Vegie Tempura was also 50 baht. It was quite nicely made, the vegie not oily and stayed crispy. Served with plum sauce.

We also had this really tasty pork ribs, stewed "Kao Ka Moo" (Pork leg & Rice) style with herbs like five spices, coriander, garlic and soy sauces. These pork ribs are the healthier version, with a lot less fat! It was wonderfully delicious and the meat was falling of the bones. I think it would have been perfect if the ribs were stewed for a bit longer though, making it more tender.
The pork ribs were served with deep fried Chinese bun - mantou, which did a great job soaking up the sauce/gravy concentrated with flavours...mmm...I can still taste it now. The serving was quite large too. I would highly recommend this dish if you go to Inthanon Restaurant. 100 baht.

Now for the house specialty - rainbow trouts, farmed in the fresh waters of Doi Inthanon. You have a choice of: Deep-fried trout with garlic ; Fried with herbs; Fried with butter; Steamed with Soy-sauce. All 320 baht for half a trout. We went for the Deep-fried trout with garlic. It came out aromatic with plenty of crispy fried garlic on top, may be even enough to ward off the H1N1 virus? The trout itself was firm yet tender. It went really well with the chilli sauce that came with it. Recommended for the garlic lover! : )

It's also worth trying the fresh juices (30 baht). At the time, they had passionfruit juice and carrot juice. It took a while to come though, and came even later than the fish, which made us suspect that they ran out of fruits and had to go pick the passionfruit from the trees (???).

Anyway, if you're out Doi Inthanon way, I'd highly recommend visiting Inthanon Restaurant. Great food, great view and great prices! As a bonus, you'll also be able to stroll the gardens of the Inthanon Royal Project Research Station, and that of the nearby Siriphum Waterfalls.

Some info about Doi Inthanon & Royal Project
  • Doi Inthanon is Thailand's tallest mountain. ("Doi" means "Mountain")
  • The entrance fee to the national park is 100 baht for foreigners (adults), 50 baht for kids and 30 baht for cars & vans.
  • The weather is cool all year round.
  • Royal Project is initiated around 1979 by the King of Thailand to try to improve living standards of hill tribes, and as a part of crop-substitution program. The hill-tribes at the time were reliant on growing opium (especially near the Golden Triangle area).
  • The Entrance fee to the Royal Agricultural Station is 20 baht per person.
Doi Inthanon Restaurant
Inthanon Royal Project Agricultural Station
Doi Inthanon

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Friday 14 August 2009

Ouh La La (now closed)

Bonjour! French Cuisine was the order of Thailand's mother day this year. Today we bring you "Ouh La La", thanks to a tip of from a reader, John. Yes, John, I finally got there!

Here is what John has to say about the restaurant, "authentic simple French prepared with professionalism and panache." ...and I must say I agree.

"Ouh La La" is very different from all the other French Restaurants I've been to, not that I've been to many French Restaurants! I love the down-to-earth simplicity of the place. The restaurant is quite small, but cheerful. The service is friendly. We were served by Carole, the French owner, who recommended us some typical French dishes. They all turned out to be delicious, and it was like we were visiting a French friend's home for dinner, or rather, lunch. Carole told me that everything is made on the premises.

For entree, we had "Terrine de Campagne" (Country side terrine), 110 baht. This is a baked pate and herbs dish. It was lovely! (You can see a corner of it in the salad photo).

"Salad Parisienne", a typical French salad with "everything" in it, must have been the most gorgeous looking salad I've ever seen. Served with balsamic vinegar & mustard dressing. The serving was quite large. Great value at 160 baht.

The three of us decided to share two mains, and we were glad, because the servings were huge!

"Estouffade de boeuf a la catalane" - Beef cooked (stewed?) in white wine sauce, bacon, black olives, onions, carrots, served potatoes. The beef was quite salty, but was very nice with the potatoes. Actually, I loved the potatoes! 360 baht.

The Estouffade beef also went quite well with the other main "Poulet Basquaise" - Chicken cooked in white wine sauce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs and olive oil. The chicken was also served with the same potatoes as the beef. It was nice and tangy. 260 baht.

After the mains, we were all extremely full, but we couldn't leave a French Restaurant without trying out the dessert! Carole recommended a platter of 5 desserts to share and promised that they wouldn't be too heavy. Mmm I can still taste them now. : )

In the end, all of us really enjoyed "Ooh La La". Great food and great value. Definitely a must try. We'll certainly go back.

Ouh La La

166/12 Changklan Rd (opposite Shangri-La Hotel)

Tel: 087-8320794

Lunch: 11am-3pm

Dinner: 6pm-10pm

Closed on Sunday

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Saturday 8 August 2009

Khao Soi Samoer Jai

Khao Soi is one of those distinctly northern Thailand dish that you should try when you visit Chiang Mai. Ok, it's not so good for the waistline, but this curry noodle dish is scrumptious!

Today's review is of Khao Soi Sameor Jai, just down the road from Khao Soi Lumduan. This is also no fancy restaurant, and definitely no air-conditioning. It's a simple but fairly large open-air eatery under what is perhaps the family home. The famous/infamous (depending on who you talk to) ex-PM of Thailand, Mr Thaksin was also a regular. One wall is dedicated to pictures of Mr T enjoying Khao Sois here...and yes, they do have great Khao Sois, with the soup creamy and full of flavour. They are also great value at 30 baht each!

My favourite is the pork-ribs Khao Soi, but they also have beef and chicken varieties. Khao Sois are served with pickled vegetables, shallots and a wedge of lime, and topped with crispy noodles. I noticed that Khao Soi Samoer Jai's crispy noodles stayed crispy for a long time, even as I am finishing off.

They also serve some good local food as well. There are stands towards the front of the eatery and you can have a look at the dishes before you order. This is the dessert stand:

Khao Soi Samoer Jai
Faham Road, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 242 928

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Saturday 1 August 2009

Ruen Pae II

After working so hard the past several weeks, I thought I'd have a treat and went to a normally reliable restaurant, Ruan Pae II. The food is usually great (and cheap!), service OK and being one of the many open air restaurants in Chiang Mai, ambience quite relaxing.

This time we were served by a sour-faced waiter who literally threw the menus at us. May be he had a bad day? Mai-pen-rai (never mind), we thought as we scanned the menu.

Alice: Can you please recommend something for us?
Waiter: They are on the first two pages of the menu.


After some deliberation of the very extensive menu looking for something "different". My favourite at Ruen Pae II is the Gang Som Pla Chon (Deep-fried Serpent Head Fish in Sour Curry). This is a sweet, sour and explosively spicy soup - yum!

Well, anyway, we decided to go for something different this time.

We ended up having:

Steamed Serpent Head Fish with Sour Plum. Doesn't it look fabulous? It came, however, suspiciously quickly, much too fast for steamed fish - perhaps pre-prepared? Our suspicions proved correct when we found that the fish was not hot!! To be fair, the Pla Chon was very fresh, and the dish tasted great, but it would have been even better if it was hot.

Second dish - Deep fried Morning Glory leaves Salad. This is one of the dishes I like to try in different restaurants (if I happen to see it on the menu). Not everyone does this well, and the vegie usually end up too oily. Above is Ruen Pae II's version, complete with a fried egg. It was quite nice, but the sauce too sweet.

Third dish - Jungle Curry - the only comment - it was too hot(spicy) for me! Should have asked for "Mai Ped" - "not hot". Jungle Curry is quite a healthy curry - no coconut milk and has plenty of herbs like kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and also has peppercorns and chilli!

Since the Jungle Curry was so hot, we had to order another dish to pacify our burning tongues. We decided to order deep-fried prawn patties (Tod Man Goong). It looked great. The prawn patties were still sizzling when it arrived at our table. I must say, though, it was the worst Tod Man Goong I've had. Tasteless, and the plum sauce was sugary sweet.

The bill came to be 371 baht for 3 people (yes, still cheap, at least!). Perhaps we'll have better luck next time, but definitely no Tod Man Goong!

Ruen Pae II
Middle Ring Road, opposite Baan Panon Housing Estate
San Peeseua, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 115194

There is another branch on San Kampaeng Rd. Tel: 053 338 641

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