Treasures from the sea and the river meet herbs and spices full on
Right from the start to the very last dish, the contemporary Thai cuisine at Ruen Urai precisely captured refined traditional flavours through harmony and balance.
In one of the few surviving antique homes amidst tall buildings in Bangkok, homestyle cooking is meticulously plated and adorned. Similar to how the renovated golden teak wood century-old Thai house restores its charming decor and structure, the food preserves its heritage and history despite the revamping that construes this restaurant’s identity.
The extensive menu compiles items from various regions instead of only focusing on central Thai plain. On the occasion of Christmas and New Year, Aquatic Treasures themed seasonal menu brings the latest quality gems from open-water and freshwater to the table.
Limitedly available in the festive set dinner is a variation of fried morning glory salad and spicy coconut dressing topped with Hokkaido scallop. The clash of sweetness, saltiness and spiciness is enhanced by the contrasting textures of the scallop and water spinach.
The handmade brittle cup of Saengwaah Ghratong Tong (B350) with firm prawns and piquant garden herb salad is eaten in one bite. The making process of these little cups requires a high level of skill, patience and experience. They are so fragile that only a few out of each batch are perfect.
Another starter and an adaptation of the classic Mieng Khum is the already assembled Mieng Bussabong (B380). Completed with chili jam, the supple lotus petals give a different tasting experience from fibrous betel leaves while the lotus seeds add extra crunchiness.
Lha Dtiang (B300) does not only stand out with taste but also with romantic connotations from the poem by King Rama II. As food is love and cooked by the wife, this platter takes after a pillow hunting for the bed that lovers share. The egg lattice envelope has a gentle flavour in contrast to the Thai sweetmeat stuffing which is cut in a bigger size than usual for a more substantial touch.
Dtom Yum Ghai Bai Makhaam Ohn (B350) proudly presents an example of how the original spicy and sour soup of chicken should be: simple but subtle. And boiled young tamarind leaves lend some depth to the aroma.
Main dishes for the upcoming season are best eaten with rice. Two types of Thai rice on offer are the fragrant Thai Jasmine rice and riceberry. Without gluten, the texture of long-grain white rice is soft yet slightly sticky whereas the deep purple riceberry is chewier on the outside.
Steamed mixed seafood soufflé (B400) arrived with a generous portion of crab, fish, scallop, squid, and shrimp fillet. The chunks of seafood sunk into the soufflé. No matter how and where you cut, you will get at least one piece in every spoonful.
Green curry is served with sizeable handmade clown featherback fish balls stuffed with salted egg yolks (B380). The fish balls are rolled by hand to cover whole salted egg yolks in the centre. The rich wet curry evens out saltiness from the crumbly yolk which injects more character into the delicate fish meat.
Both the stir-fried river prawn claws with asparagus (B400) and the meaty blue swimmer crab paddles wok-tossed with aromatic Thai herbs (B800) explode in intense hot black pepper. Ruen Urai’s kitchen does not hold back the herbs and spices.
As highlight of the night, Grilled large river prawns are served with spicy seafood sauce (B950). The crisp and crunchy prawns with velvety fat are sourced from either Ayutthaya or Suphan Buri depending on which has superior quality at the time.
A few indispensable desserts that can ease the palate are Khao Neaw Mamuang or mango with gold leafed black and white sticky rice (B180; B320) and Bua Loy Ruen Urai or homemade boiled chewy glutinous rice dumplings in coconut milk (B80) made with organic colours.
The Rose Hotel, 118 Surawongse Rd.
Tel: 02 266 8268-72
Open daily: 12pm-11pm