Sunday 26 August 2012

Noen Makok (Noodle Shop) - Now closed

I know, I know, another noodle shop post...but the only thing noodle shops have in common are...noodles, meat, vegies and soup (or without). The flavourings of the noodles are totally different from shop to shop... really!

Tom Yum Noodles with Soup
Noen Makok, a fairly recently opened open air restaurant is fast becoming one of our favourite lunch time places. We go there now at least once a week. Their specialty? Their fantastic chilli dipping sauce which is served to every patron.

Chilli Dip. Very special! 
My favourite there is the Tom Yum Noodles with soup,  with the chilli dip added - the play of the different flavours in your mouth is simply amazing, making me savour every spoonful of the soup. Bliss! 30-35 baht / regular bowl.

The shop itself is very clean and open. There's a covered street front section, and also a very nice area on the side terrace attached to the old Thai house which overlooks a bit of greenery as well.

Noen Makok
1st Ring Road (Middle Ring Road)
Coming from Meechok Plaza towards the City Hall, the restaurant will be on your left just before Moo Baan Preuksathong.
Opens Daily 8am-4pm

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Wednesday 22 August 2012

Tengoku De Cuisine (Japanese)

Tengoku De Cuisine
Tengoku is a lovely Japanese restaurant in a quiet soi opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. The restaurant is indeed delightful and oozes authenticity, yet very warm at welcoming at the same time. The wonderful distinctive aroma of Japanese food permeates the restaurant promises a fantastic meal ahead.

We were ushered onto the second floor and given the menu. It was hard to miss that Tengoku won Thailand Tattler's Best Restaurant award for its "exceptional cuisine and service" in 2012 seeing that the certificate was pretty much the cover of the menus! Another promise of an unforgettable meal...perhaps...we shall see!

This was my second visit to the restaurant. The first visit left me with a very favourable impression due to a combination of the lovely ambience, good service, and good company. I was in a rather good mood especially after tasting the miso soup and fresh wasabi!

The second visit was more about tasting the food again - was it as good as it seemed? There is no doubt about the quality of the food at Tengoku. However, I did have very high expectations and you'd expect everything to be top notch, considering the location (opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi), the Thailand Tattler's certificate, and especially the price - not cheap, at least for Chiang Mai!

What I loved:

Fresh wasabi - very interesting and I haven't seen anything like it before. Fresh wasabi (plant, root and skin) chopped up and marinated in soy sauce and salt. I find it not as pungent as the usual wasabi served in regular Japanese restaurants that I've been to. Very nice with sashimi (and various other dishes as well). 50 baht.

Fresh wasabi
Salmon Sashimi - Thick chunky pieces of salmon sprinkled with salmon roe that pops in your mouth as you eat. Nice and fresh.

Salmon Sashimi
3 Kinds of Seaweed Salad - I thought this was rather interesting and haven't seen it anywhere else. There are 3 kind of fresh seaweed served with lettuce and on a big bowl of ice. Very fresh, and nicely presented. The best bit is the miso dressing (great on rice too!).

3 kinds of Seaweed Salad
Eggplant with Miso Sauce - I must really like miso sauce as I really enjoyed this dish as well.You can also get the same at Naruto Japanese Restaurant at Meechok Plaza. The soft melt in your mouth eggplant goes really well with the intense flavour of the miso. Yum!

Eggplant with Miso Sauce
What I think could be better:

Tempura Ramen - The ramen and the soup was very good. The soup had a nice intensity of flavour. The tempura, though, was a little disappointing as the batter was softish (not crispy at all), and luke warm.

Tempura Ramen
Rice - The rice (both times I visited) was on the soggy side, at least more so than rice from other Japanese restaurants.

The Verdict

Beautiful restaurant and ambience. Great food, but I don't find the food (at least the dishes we ordered) a lot better than other good Japanese restaurants around in Chiang Mai. There are some interesting dishes that I don't see a lot elsewhere though, and they would be worth a try eg. Beef Takai (Raw beef), if you're into it.

You'll be able to find some recommended dishes from Tengoku here (in Thai).

The price worked out to be about 500 baht/person for what we ordered. They do have a buffet for 800 baht/person as well.

The service is fine - friendly and pretty efficient.

Reservations are a good idea as both times I went, the restaurant was pretty full!

Have you been to Tenguku De Cuisine? What do you think?

Tengoku De Cuisine
55/8 Soi Wat Buak Krok Luang
Opposite Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi
T. Tasala A. Muang Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 851 133, 081 885 5959

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Sunday 12 August 2012

Monkey's Kitchen by Monkey Chef

Don't know what to eat? Tired of the same old beef / pork / tom yum , etc noodles, rice, etc? There is so much good food in Chiang Mai, but sometimes it's nice to have something a little different, something a little more exciting....Monkey's Kitchen to the rescue!

Tom Yum Pizza, Baked New Zealand Mussel with Panang Curry Sauce & Cheese are just some of the interesting sounding dishes on the menu of Monkey's Kitchen - a funky little cafe serving homemade fusion (Asian+Western) style food, located in a soi off Suthep Road, behind Chiang Mai University.

The Food

The waitress recommended the Pizza 30,000 (aka Tom Yum Pizza), which actually was the runner up of the Thailand Global Pizza Challenge 2011. So we obliged and ordered the small pizza (79 baht) - it turned out to be rather cute (ie small), but good as a tasting portion for 2. The taste was a little unusual. Spicy BBQ sauce came to mind. I did begin to appreciate it more after the 2nd piece, and quite enjoyed the 3rd one (there were 6 pieces altogether).

Next came the salad. Monkey's Kitchen has quite a few varieties  including Ceasar Salad, Green Salad with chicken, Japanese Seaweed salad, etc. We were after something light, so just asked for a salad with only vegetables. There are a variety of dressings to choose from such as Balsamic Dressing, Honey Mustard Dressing. Chilli Lime Mayo sounded interesting - mayonnaise with lime juice and green chillis. The vegies (and apple slices) were nice and fresh. The dressing wasn't something to write home about, but was pleasant enough. Slightly too sweet.

The third dish was Manhattan Chowder Spaghetti, which looked and tasted very nice.  The sauce was tomatoey and slightly creamy, but not overly so. The seafood was fresh. Nicely done.

There were other dishes I'd love to try. I've heard that dishes such as Salted Fish Spaghetti, Dried Tom Yum Spaghetti, amongst others, are all very nice. Perhaps next time I'm in the area.

The drinks are pretty creative here as well, especially mocktails such as Blue Island (coconut water with butterfly pea flowers infusion) - 39 baht - would have loved to try it, but they were out of coconut. LOL. So I ended up having Pink Kiss (lychee juice with pomegranate syrup), which was refreshingly sweet on a hot day.

The Cafe

The cafe has, well..., a monkey theme with cute and cuddly monkey soft toys around the place. There are only a few tables here, and they are comfortably spread out. Comfy lounges would have been nice, but the wooden seats / tables are fine. I rather like the fake grass carpet!

The Service

Friendly staff, but the food came out rather slowly!

The Verdict

Nice restaurant, nice interesting homemade style food. Very comfortable and funky setting. Worth a try if you're in the area.

Monkey's Kitchen
Facebook Page: Link
Off Suthep Road behind Chiang Mai University
(See Map by clicking "location" link below)
Opens daily (except Mondays)
Lunch: 11am-2:30pm
Dinner: 5pm-10pm
Tel: 080 5051132

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