International comfort food at agreeable prices
Of the many hotels and dining options up-and-down Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bistro M is given over to an impressively vast space. Sandwiched halfway up the Soi, the restaurant—advertised as a “neighbourhood café & bistro”—occupies almost half of the lower floor space of the Marriott Executive Suites, catering for residents and walk-ins around the clock, 24 hours a day.
With such an expanse of universal clientele, I was worried about the culinary offering as surely they must have to cater for international guests and therefore sprawling palates that stretch the kitchen. How can you possibly please every taste?
It’s a disheartening start as I’m wafted straight to the worst table in the room, a corner spot in front of a large speaker that rattles with dance tunes. I move across the floor, to a quieter spot with a more unobstructed view of the open kitchen. Scanning the menu, it is indeed vast. A mix of cuisines fill the pages, from Indian and Italian to traditional Thai classics. There’s a “Specials” board too, but it’s in the middle of the room on a blackboard, and I have to crane my neck to read it.
For ease, I opt for one of two set menus, with a few added extras. The Signature Set is priced at a reasonable B720, and the Kinnagree Thai Set is a steal at B650. The first is an international offering—Ceaser Salad, Salmon 5 Spice, Coupe Danemark—and the second, more rooted in traditional Thai staples—Satay Gai, Pad Thai, Khao Niew Ma Muang—to appease local tastebuds.
Plates arrive nicely presented, a skill picked up by newly appointed Chef Teerathep ‘Tot’ Tishabhiromya while working in Melbourne, and Phuket and Samui resorts. Generous portions suggest that I may have over-ordered with ingredients loaded high. Still, it’s a challenge I accept.
A plump Salmon 5 Spice is executed perfectly, big on flavour without being spicy or too fiery, and the Naughty Crab (B325) that followed, the crispy soft-shell variety with a fresh green mango salad, was potent and peppery, a thump of lively heat and my favourite of the evening.
Larb 24 (B240) ensures that I continue my indulgence into zesty Thai classics in what is a spicy mix of beef and herbs, forcing me to reach for my Passion Fruit Soda (B135) continually. Then, Pad Thai liberally doused with palm sugar and chillies is scattered with deliciously salty peanuts and plump, fresh prawns—a dish that perfectly captures the expansive flavour wheel of Thai cooking.
Dessert is part of the set meal, even though I’m at bursting point and sweating profusely. Mango and sticky rice are given the fine dining treatment with a contemporary twist and swanky decoration. The black plate is decorated with dried coconut, positioned in a half-moon shape, and the mango thinly sliced, placed around a circle of sticky rice. Coconut caviar is placed on top and pops, cooly in my mouth. It’s an attractive and ultimately luscious dessert.
I’m fond of places like this, not just because they do what they’re supposed to, but because it’s a smart and straightforward offering without theatre and pretension. You’re fed well, service has a smile, and it sells precisely what you want at a wholly equitable price. by David J. Constable
90 Sukhumvit Soi 24
Tel: 02 302 5265
Open: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, 6am-10pm