A “golden house” where time-honoured recipes are given the Midas touch
All over Bangkok flash-fried street food is being consumed daily by patrons sitting on plastic stools at fold-up tables. And while this represents one side of the coin when it comes to classic “Thai food experiences”, a vastly different yet equally classic experience awaits at Ruen Urai.
The restaurant—located next to the garden and swimming pool of the neighbouring Rose Hotel—exists in a secluded, century-old, golden teakwood house which was transformed 10 years ago into a Thai fine dining establishment. The house itself is a living museum, filled with exquisite antiques and artefacts, but also tastefully decorated with a stylish, contemporary flair. In the main dining area the deep, ochre-coloured rear wall, combined with the soothing natural tones of the tables, chairs, and other furnishings, instantly provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere. However, diners can also opt for outdoor seating, or a place in the newly added solarium room.
During our most recent visit, owner Dr. Tom Vitayakul led us through the intricate backstories of many of the dishes, including selections from his recently launched ‘Northern Exposure’ menu. After an appetizer of Saengwaah Ghratong Tong (B320), the restaurant’s exceedingly popular bite-sized crispy cups filled with prawn and garden herbs, our group headed due north, sampling yummy Sun-dried spice marinated beef striploin (B350), Cured pork sausage with pig’s ears (B250), Soft crêpes filled with dried shrimp, coconut, and curry paste (B280), and a Lanna hors d’oeuvres plate (B300) with pork crackling, spicy sausage, vegetables, and condiments. But it was the Spicy salad of minced pork belly and liver in pig’s blood sauce (B350) that really wowed! None of us would have been brave enough to try it without Dr. Tom’s urging, but once we did we all agreed it was fantastic.
But more was to come—order lots and share is the order of the day here—and soon we were tucking into a rich and flavourful Burmese style pork curry with ginger (B380), also from the Northern menu, followed by Dtom Khloang Talay (B380), a classic spicy soup with seafood and tamarind, Pla Ghapong (B580), a whole steamed sea bass in spicy lime sauce, and a delicious plate of Wok-tossed young coconut shoots with sea scallops (B350).
To end the meal, our dessert plates included Tub Tim Ghrob (B80), a refreshing blend of diced water chestnuts, coconut milk, syrup and crushed ice, Kha Nhom Waan Ruen Urai (B320), a platter loaded with five different Thai bite-sized sweets, and a large plate of Mango with sticky rice (B180/320), on which the individual dollops of brown and white rice are each decorated with a sparkling fleck of edible gold. Interestingly, “ruen urai” literally translates to “house of gold”, which is perhaps why every dish here is given its own Midas touch.
Rose Hotel, 118 Surawongse Rd.
Open daily: 12pm-11pm | Tel: 02 266 8268 | www.ruen-urai.com