With its glut of streetfood stalls and foreigner-orientated restaurants, leafy Soi Convent is one of the most reliable and eclectic eating strips in town. By day, this is the realm of the seriously hungry white-collar worker, when they pour from theadjacent towers; and by night, an international mix of night owls can be found trawling the streets in of street bites or a pleasant indoor setting.
Starting at the food-stall-less Sathorn Road end, Beccofino (1) is a more intimate outlet of the huge Italian trattoria over on Soi Thonglor. Nearby, tucked down a little residential cul-desac is Pigwit (2): a sandwich delivery outfit with a leafy little seating area where, if you can’t wait for the delivery man, you can come and nosh on its gourmet hand-crafted bagels and sandwiches. A hop and a skip further, at the back of a square that’s also home to one of our all-time favourite Thai massage joints, Ruen Nuad, is upmarket Thai restaurant Naj (3). Put on some smart digs and head here for an evening of dolled-up Thai food served on fine china in dignified surrounds.
After these there’s a food lull of a hundred metres or so – the middle of Soi Convent is occupied by an upmarket international school and a church – before you reach the vicinity of Eat Me (4), a modernist restaurant cum-art gallery where audacious fusion food is served beneath local modern art or out on an open-air terrace. Also on Pipat Soi 2 is Sam’s Fish and Chips (5), a townhouse turned restaurant where the eponymous owner serves succulent slabs of John Dory with a smile.
Back on Soi Convent proper the restaurants get more close-knit, and the international flavour even stronger, the further towards Silom Road you get…
Molly Malone’s (6) is an expansive Irish-themed boozer that does a good line in bangers and mash, steak and kidney pies and other hearty pub stodge. Recommended is its Sunday Roast (12-7pm), during which you can hunker down on unlimited roast lamb and beef, pork loin and crackling and Yorkshire puds etc for only B399. Next door, amble into air-con Thai restaurant Bua (7) for zero interior flair but a meal that, by our measure, scores a respectable six out of ten in the tangy taste department.
Much less of a tourist trap is Hai Somtum (8), a bustling, no-frills Isan (northeastern) joint with grubby white tiling and garish strip-lighting. Must-try dishes: the gai yang (grilled chicken), laab ped (minced duck spicy salad) and somtum (spicy papaya salad). Neighbouring it are two newcomers, Tub Tim (9) and Zaap Express (10), both of them also cheap and cheerful, no-frills Thai restaurants.
Flanked by a branch of Japanese chain restaurant Zen on one side, and a Starbucks that’s good for people watching on the other, Coyote (11) is a slightly kitsch Mexican restaurant. Bringing the punters back: inventive tex-mex and free margaritas (Thursdays 6-8pm) for the girls. Also, tucked down a grubby little soi (80 metres from Silom Road on the right) is esteemed French restaurant Indigo (12), which has a romantic courtyard, intimate Thai house setting and a strong following, as well as Indian curryhouse Himali Cha Cha (13).
The good, sit-down restaurants are over on Soi Convent but the eating opportunities are not. Hogging the narrow sidewalks are a flock of trusty streetfood stalls that satiate the masses day and night, come rain or shine. The bestloved include the khao mun gai (chicken and rice) stall in front of Molly Malone’s every lunchtime, and the ba mee kieo nam (egg noodle soup with wontons and pork or crab) stall flanking 7-Eleven in the evenings.
From khao kar moo (braised pork leg) to kanom pung sangkaya (toast with Thai custard) and fresh fruit, there’s a salivating street snack for everyone. But if there’s one you shouldn’t leave Soi Convent without trying it’s the B10 sticks of moo ping (marinated pork) that are grilled and bagged in front of 7-Eleven from about 10pm onwards each night. Be warned though: the skills of Pee Ouan (14), the rotund vendor who mans it, are so well known in these parts that it’s not unusual to have to wait/drool for up to ten minutes before you get to sink your teeth into one.
(1) Beccofino: 02-632-0621-2 | 1:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
(2) Pigwit: 087-040-0061|Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm
(3) Naj: 02-632-2811-3 | 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11:30pm
(4) Eat Me: 02-238-0931 | 3pm-1am
(5) Sam’s Fish and Chips: 02-234-73335 | 5pm-10pm
(6) Molly Malone’s: 02-266-7160-1 | 9am-1am
(7) Bua: 02-237-6641 | 10:30am-11:30pm
(8) Hai Somtum: 02-631-0216 | Sun-Fri 10:00am-8:30pm, Sat 10am-5pm
(9) Tub Tim: 11am-11pm
(10) Zaap Express: 02-635-5023 | 10:30am-10:30pm
(11) Coyote: 02-631-2325 | 11am-midnight
(12) Indigo: 02-235-3268 | 11:30-1am
(13) Himali Cha Cha & Son: 02-238-1478-9 | 11am-3pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
(14) Pee Ouan: early evening-late night (2-3am)