Thursday 17 February 2011

"Windmill Restaurant" or in Thai, "Ban Gunghun"

Windmill @ Ban Gung Hun Restaurant, Chiang Mai

Am I in Holland? No…still in Chiang Mai. Welcome to one of the latest addition to the zillions restaurants in Chiang Mai - Ban Gung Hun (Ban = house; Gung Hun = Windmill). What a great concept - a variation to the ever popular outdoor restaurants by the lake so prevalent in Chiang Mai.

The food is good - just what you would expect from good Thai restaurants. People go there not to only enjoy the food, and also to see the Dutch style windmill - the trademark of the restaurant, and cute buildings.

Ban Gung Hun Restaurant, Chiang Mai

"Windmill" Restaurant also have some interesting things on their menu. Incidentally, they serve both Western food (various sandwiches, pastas, etc) & Thai food (regular Thai favorites plus a few other "different" dishes. Generally, I wouldn't try Western food at these kind of restaurants (and I wouldn't recommend it either!) - not that I think they will be bad, but I have often been disappointed with "Thai style" Western food. Stick to Thai food, I'd say.

We order the specials of the day and take some recommendations from our lovely & friendly young waitress. (Not sure how the other waiters are though, but ours is very good & ready to help).

"Sai Bua Tom Krathi" - Lotus stem soup/curry with coconut milk. Apparently this is quite a famous and rather hard to find dish - so we have to try it! It turns out to be quite…interesting, but not unpleasant. I wouldn't recommend it to "farangs"/westerners though - unless you've been in Thailand for a while and you are a bit adventurous. It contains lotus stem & coconut milk, plus mackerel fish ("Pla Too"). The taste of the soup is kind of like a coconut milk + "Nam Prick Pla Too" (mackerel with shrimp paste chilli dip). LOL..hope this makes sense!

Lotus stem in coconut soup / curry

"Phra San Plang Chom"…er…what? First let me explain the name as it was explained to me. "Phra San Plang Chom" is apparently a figure in Thai legend. He is a person made from gold, but he goes into disguise and put on a mask that makes him look ugly. Fascinating, isn't it? So what is this dish? It's a sausage wrapped in patty made from prawns and the whole thing is deep fried. Served with plum sauce. It wasn't bad, actually. Just like deep fried prawn cakes + sausage. : D

Sausage in prawn cake

"Yum" apple with prawns. "Yum" is the Thai style salad. This apple salad was really very good. Green apples are used, along with cashew nuts, capsicum, shallots, and topped with fresh mint. Very refreshing and flavourful - a perfect balance of the Thai flavors - sweet, sour, salty & spicy.

"Yum Apple" - Apple Salad

Last but not least, "Hor Mok Talay" , or seafood "hor mock" - a kind of dry seafood curry served in a coconut. Quite a common Thai dish, but not everyone does it well. "Windmill" Restaurant's "Hor mok" is very good, and the coconut was full of seafood - prawns, calimari, etc. They certainly didn't skimp on the ingredients. Good texture and tastes great.

Hor Mok Talay in Coconut

The Verdict:
Lovely restaurant, good Thai food, pretty good service, a bit of a "different" ambience. Ladies should be aware that the restaurant is not stilettos or high heels friendly. It's quite hard to walk through the rocks in the car park in heels, and one of my heels got caught between the planks of wood on the bridge (in the 2nd photo)!

There are also lots of mosquitos outside in the early evening.

The bill came to 660 baht / 3 people, including a jug of beer.

The Rating:
The food: 6.5-7/10
The ambience: 6.5-7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Ban Gung Hun
433 M 4, T. Mae Hia, A. Muang, Chiang Mai
(On the 1st / Middle Ring Road, opposite Land & House Siwalee, between the Big C intersection & Canal Road)
Look out for the windmill! (1st photo)
Tel: 053 274800

Ban Gung Hun Restaurant, Chiang Mai

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Saturday 5 February 2011

Beccofino Italian Trattoria Chiang Mai

Beccofino Italian Restaurant, Chiang Mai

There are plenty of good Italian restaurants in Chiang Mai. Beccofino Italian Trattoria is no exception. Lovely food, beautiful restaurant, relaxing ambience, easily accessible location off the trendy Nimanhaemin Road - what else can you ask for?

Actually this restaurant was first suggested to me by a reader a while ago. I have been meaning go there for a while, and finally got a chance this lunch time when we aimlessly drove around Nimanhaemin looking for somewhere to eat...and there we have it - Beccofino.

First impression? Beccofino is a beautiful restaurant, and has a small terrace for outdoors dining in front. Unfortunately, at the time of arrival, there is a mild odour from the drain in front of the restaurant (quite common in Thailand), so we decided to eat inside. (Hopefully they will fix this problem soon.)

The service is professional and efficient enough, but I find there is a lacking in warmth that I have come to expect in restaurants in Thailand, particularly in restaurants of this calibre. Considering the great food and lovely ambience, having friendly and smiling staff will make the experience even better.

The food is great.

My choice - Baby penne with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, ricotta cheese and basil. All I can say is that it's delicious, simple & tasty. 250 baht.

Baby penne with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, Ricotta cheese & basil

The homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, served with mushroom and cream sauce is lovely as well. Fluffy pillows of ravioli, and the sauce is creamy but light.

Fettucini with Rock Lobster, fresh tomato & white wine sauce. This is also very good with the lobster being very juicy and firm. 380 baht.

Fettucini with Rock lobster, fresh tomato & white wine sauce

The Chef's Special Pizza with Cherry tomatoes, rocket salad & parmesan cheese is nothing to write home about. It looks great, but the pizza is more a like a salad on bread. As a salad, it's pretty good though - nice and fresh, especially with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil supplied on the table! 290 baht.

Cherry tomatoes, rocket salad & parmesan cheese pizza

The verdict:
Good restaurant, good food, lovely decor. The service is professional and efficient, but would be better if the staff is friendlier and smiles more. Will go back again.

The total price came to 2539 baht for 6 people and 1 child.

The rating:
The food: 7/10
The ambience: 6.5 /10 (I would have given it 7.5 if the staff smiles more!)
Value for money: 6.5/10

Beccofino Italian Trattoria, Chiang Mai
20/2 Soi 7, Nimanhaemin Rd
Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 226 590-2

Beccofino Italian Restaurant, Chiang Mai

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