Superlative thai food in simply-attired surrounds
There are Thai restaurants that scrape by serving mediocre food in a pretty setting. Then there are those that succeed because they serve some of the best Thai food you’ve ever tasted. Baan Raprong, a spacious and spotless family-orientated modern Thai affair near Paradise Park and Seacon Square shopping malls, hums the latter tune.
On its website, they claim to be seriously persnickety about their ingredients. “We carefully select all raw materials to ensure their freshness, cleanliness and meet our premium quality policy. Our vegetables are delivered daily right from the farm. Seafood is from natural river and sea around Thailand to ensure their freshness and we select only premium size. Every clove of onion and garlic are carefully selected. And all our cashew nuts and nuts are selected to ensure that no contaminant is left.”
That’s quite a list of claims but, try as we did to pick holes in them, the freshness and flavours of the cooking here backed them up. Starters hinted at the quality to come. The pla satay are six little sticks of grouper fish served with sweet and smooth peanut sauce. Usually a pork dish, the white, succulent meat made a nice change from the usual chewiness. Gai hor bai toey, nuggets of deep-fried chicken wrapped in pandanus leaf, were also juicy and tender, though the plum sauce was a little too sweet for our liking.
As well as these sorts of Thai restaurant mainstays, the menu (a whacking great, 300-dish strong, picture-led affair that might leave the indecisive umming and aahing) also includes many unusual dishes that intriqued us: a fresh, funky salad, or yum, of grated white turmeric, mango, lemongrass and friend garlic for example.
There’s also Southern Thai food; dishes such as that perilously hot classic kaeng dtai pla. One of our group likened the version here to a “good-looking Southern guy”, which is a roundabout way of saying that as well as looking the part the dish had an endearing complexity of character (no wonder she kept sticking her spoon in it). And some northern staples, such as nam prik pla too, mackerel with chilli dip, join the party too.
For those of us who live in downtown Bangkok, a trip out to the Srinakarin Road area for a spot of lunch or dinner is a big commitment. One that entails careering up and down expressways and sitting in no small amount of traffic. However, Baan Rub Rong is one of the few restaurants in the area that we can confidently say is worth the effort.
A plainly attired, affordable bastion of very good food, it’s a fine Thai restaurant in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Bring your Thai friend who thinks that all westerners like it mild or your Thai mother in law to be and they’ll be very impressed indeed.
Baan Rub Rong
8 Soi Mooban Seri Villa (Srinakarin Soi 55) | 02-185-6029 | baanrubrong.com