From star-studded to street food, here is an update of venues in Suan Phlu to suit everyone’s palates
A bustling, somewhat bohemian Bangkok suburb, Suan Phlu, is sandwiched between leafy and genteel Yenakat and the commercial district of Sathorn. The main artery, Suan Phlu Rd, leading to its pumping heart of Soi 8 and the numerous barely navigable capillaries conceal a multitude of food offerings at both ends of the dining spectrum.
A burgeoning reputation as a rather edgy and ‘real’ foodie destination has seen it move rapidly up the ladder. Whilst we all know its established players, there are also many must-visits from the heady heights of potential Michelin stardom to the humble mom and pop stalls.
Beginning at the Sathorn Road end, on a corner of Soi Phra Phinit, lies Plu (1), a classic Thai modern bistro from the Water Library staple of clever concepts.
Returning to the main road and prior to passing the Michelin-starred Saawaan (3) where Chefs Aom and Paper serve up exquisitely reinvented Thai dishes, at the end of Soi 2, an exclusive for Bangkok 101, I am delighted to reveal Restaurant Keller (2) by Chef Mirco Keller, former chef of the Water Library. The venue is scheduled to open in early 2020. Surely one to watch!
Continuing along the tree lined road, one sees a sandwich board boldly scribed, “Best bread in Bangkok!”. Holey Bakery (4),
presided over by Porag and an essential pit stop for lovers of French butter croissants, English sausage rolls and memorable sour dough.
A few steps further is a relative newcomer, Olta (5), the latest venture from Jamie Wakeford, also Chef/Patron of Bampot in Phuket, offering up modern British dishes in a hip setting.
Heading to Soi 8, one passes two Arno’s outposts (6), favoured amongst dedicated carnivores and on the corner of Soi 1, the landmark thirties cocktail lounge plus, Smalls (7), where you will invariably find the proprietor, the legendary David Jacobson in residence.
The popular Junker (8) is close by as is the incredibly stocked El Mercado grocery (9). Next door to this deli is Café Neighbor
(10), first choice with chefs in the area.
Opposite Soi 6 lies an alleyway where one will discover Coffee Klick (11), and within 50 m you will be rewarded with Som Tum Nui Suan (12), a charming garden house serving up the delights of Isaan.
Arriving at Soi 8, one sees stalls fronting simple eating houses where one can pic-n-mix from truly crispy and unctuous Hoi Tod with oysters or mussels and Pad Thai (13), Mom and Pop Satay (14), Crab Fried Rice (15) and Hainanese Chicken Rice (16).
Further in is Sweet Pony (17), next door to Marc Legault’s French brasserie, Lou Lou (18). The road also houses the old school stalwart of Uncle John’s times two (19) and authentic Coconut Ice Cream (20) to complete your dinner experience.
Returning to the main road, opposite the police station is Yor Karn Yum (21), turn up a small unnamed soi to enjoy early morning, kanom tuay (22) prepared with love. On the other corner is Jong Lert (23) where crispy duck is the number one seller and a bit further, Suan Phlu Food Court where grilled seafood (24) is a winner!
At the end of the road, on the corner is the Khao Soi Café (25) followed by the recently opened Café and Bean to Bar specialist Kad Kokoa (26) with memorable coffee, chocolate and patisseries.
Another outlier, tucked away in a nearby soi, is the seafood focused Le Cabanon (27) where Chef Martine Pailloux will take you on a journey across France with her cuisine.
Whilst my exploration is, for the time being, at an end, I do encourage you to visit and experience what this neighbourhood has to offer for both gourmet and gourmand; definitely worth a detour!
by Chris Watson