Posted on Sunday, 2nd August 2015
THE SIAM HOTEL, BANGKOK – CHON THAI RESTAURANT
During our visit to Bangkok we had dinner at the Chon Thai Restaurant at The Siam Hotel one night, a luxurious, super-stylish, uber-romantic riverside retreat located right on the Chao Phraya River. It had been our intention to take the free shuttle boats provided by the hotel to get to The Siam Hotel. What a way that would have been to arrive! Sadly and despite the fact we were in a taxi, we weren’t able to make the pier on time to catch the shuttle. Bangkok traffic is notorious for being horrific during peak hours and we managed to experience this first hand.
So we took a taxi directly to the hotel instead. But if the downside was missing the shuttle, the upside was that we arrived at the front entrance of the hotel instead. This allowed us the opportunity of walking our way through the incredibly glamorous Siam Hotel, gaping at all the elegant antiques and artworks, before finally making our way to the Chon Restaurant which is located on the pier at the back of the hotel. The Siam Hotel is one classy oasis, sumptuously decorated in a jazzy art deco style. It oozes with refinement and makes for a seductive escape from the craziness that is Bangkok. If I wanted a place to stay for a romantic getaway, The Siam Hotel would be it.
We began our evening sitting on the pier, looking out onto the river as the sunset. Here we enjoyed a glass of champagne and some lovely small bites from the bar menu such as salt and pepper squid (330THB – £6), satay chicken (350TBH – £3.50) and minced pork fritters (300THB – £5.50). All were delicious with the squid being tender and with a light crunchy batter. The chicken came with a scrumptious peanut sauce and the pork fritters were flavoursome, with a squeeze of lime providing the right touch of acidity.
Moving into the restaurant, we started with a tom yum goong soup (450TBH – £8.40) which was delicious with a sweet intoxicating flavour. The soup was well balanced, with just the right amount of heat and spice. It was also sweet, but not too sweet, and simply put, was perfectly done.
We shared a selection of four mains, and the wok-fried kale with mushrooms, garlic and oyster sauce (320THB – £6) was the highlight of the evening. The mushrooms were wonderfully flavoursome and firm in texture. The use of garlic and oyster sauce was really well judged and accentuated the sweetness of the mushrooms nicely.
The double cooked pork ribs with honey, fresh lime and coriander (520TBH – £9.70) was well cooked and extremely tender. But the marinade didn’t quite hold up against the meat, and I would have preferred a stronger, stickier flavour to the marinade.
Chargrilled half spring chicken (530THB – £9.80) had been coated with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, crispy shallots, chilli, spring onion and a tamarind sauce. The marinade was complex and tasty, but the chicken itself was quite dry. There was no sauce on the plate to offset the dryness of the meat either.
Finally, a spicy red curry with sea bass and Thai herbs (540THB – £10) had been cooked with a traditional array of Thai ingredients such as green peppercorns, hot basil, kaffir lime and chilli. But despite the authenticity of its components, neither of us enjoyed this dish. The sauce tasted harsh, and it needed a sweeter element and some more acidity to provide a more balanced composition.
Overall the food was at The Chon Restaurant was respectable, with the outstanding dishes being the tom yum goong and the wok-fried mushrooms. The service was also excellent. But without a doubt, the highlight of our visit to The Siam Hotel was sipping cocktails and nibbling on some bar bites on the pier, all the while looking out over the Chao Phraya River as the sunset with the luxurious Siam Hotel as backdrop. And although I didn’t stay at The Siam Hotel, I almost feel as if I could recommend it as one of the most romantic hotels in Bangkok to stay at.
1. Drinks and bar bites on the pier at The Siam Hotel.
2. The tom yum goong soup.
3. The wok-fried mushrooms.
4. The service at The Siam Hotel.
5. The romance and luxury of The Siam Hotel.
1. The chargrilled chicken.
2. The red curry sea bass.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 4.25/5
Romance factor: 5/5
Prices: About 1,000TBH to 1,400 TBH (£18.50 to £27). Excludes drinks and service.