Monday 14 December 2015

The Dining Room @137 Pillars House

What a gorgeous hotel! 137 Pillars House is an amazing property in Wat Gate area of Chiang Mai. There's an old wooden house there with 137 pillars, hence the name. This property originally belonged to East Borneo Company, and around, 1880 the house used to be the residence of the company's superintendents in Chiang Mai, Louis Leonowens, who also happened to be Anna Leonowens' son. The house was extensively renovated after the current owner bought the property in 2002 and the house became the centre piece of a new luxury hotel.

137 Pillars House's two restaurants are located in this historical setting. Palette Restaurant offers a formal dining option and seats up to 20 guests. I went with some friends to have lunch at The Dining Room, which is simply gorgeous and oozes romantic old world charm.

Perusing the lunch menu, I notice that the prices were actually quite affordable and comparable to other good restaurants and hotels. The Dining Room offers a variety of Western,Thai and various vegetarian dishes. For example, the Prawn and Avocado Salad (Prawns, parma ham, avocado, mango and mixed green salad on ginger-soy vinaigrette) - 360 baht. Other western dishes include burgers and pizzas. There is a bigger selection of Thai dishes and we opted for a few of Thai dishes to share.

Pla Thord Nam Ma Kam (crispy snapper fillet basted with tamarind sauce and pandan leaf). This was lovely, and I thought was quite good value at 230 baht. The fish fillet was nicely fried - crispy but not oily, and served with (surprisingly) toasted pitta bread and just the right amount of tamarind sauce (ie the fish was not smothered in the sauce), which accented the natural taste of the snapper rather than over powering it.

The Green Curry Chicken with Prawns - 230 baht, was also great. Yes, it's a pretty standard Thai dish, but The Dining Room makes a pretty mean rendition. It was smooth, creamy and rich, well balanced with all the right flavours but not particularly spicy. Perfect. Tip: Try the curry with the pita bread from the snapper in tamarind sauce.

Last but not least, the Pad Thai with Prawns. 480 baht - I know, quite expensive for a pad thai, but we were curious. The Dining Room's pad thai served wrapped in an omelette, some crab meat, and 3 river prawns. There was even some green mango, which was a little unusual but it did give a nice tangy accent to the dish.

I must say I enjoyed having lunch at The Dining Room very much. The atmosphere and set up is so lovely and peaceful that I felt like I was transported to another world. Although the food did take quite some time to come out, all the dishes were served at the same time. The food was lovely and I thought quite good value considering where we were. The staff was very friendly and attentive.

Beautiful grounds

The Dining Room
137 Pillars House
2 Soi 1 Nawatgate Road
Wat Gate, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 247788
Opens: breakfast, lunch & dinner

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