New set menu dinner offers a taste of nostalgia by the River of Kings
Set against the backdrop of the Chao Phraya River waterfront at the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, the enchanting atmosphere of Salathip restaurant transports diners away from the hullaballoo of the city center to the golden era of Thailand’s Rattanakosin period, all the while showcasing a menu of traditional Thai delicacies.
Elegant wooden pavilions enhance the wistful ambience, while spacious outdoor seating—amidst an Eden-like garden—offers a stunning view of luxurious yachts and long-tail boats passing by. The beautiful setting is further buoyed by the staff’s warm hospitality and the entertaining classical Thai dance performances.
Authentic Thai cuisine is meticulously prepared and exquisitely presented here in ornate dishware, boasting a collection of time-honoured recipes, as well as a few surprises. This new set dinner is priced B2,100++ (which includes coffee and tea).
Appetizers include classic Isaan snack fare served in a traditional Pinto box, namely papaya salad, spicy minced chicken with Thai herbs, pork balls, BBQ chicken, and sticky rice—all of which pair nicely together.
The Satay Gai, one of my personal favourites, is juicy and perfectly pink on the inside, while the spicy Seared Sea Scallop with green mango, is crisp and refreshing. Swaddled in a soft Chinese pancake, the Goong Hom Sabai Moo Sub, or crispy prawn stuffed with minced pork, offers a hearty start as well.
The soup course of Tom Yam Goong Lai Seua is savoury, but the lime juice flavour of the broth adds a zesty punch before moving on to the mains. Keeping things traditional, the Mackerel with Shrimp and Fermented Chili Paste is aromatic and balanced in terms of the four flavours Thai food traditionally exhibits: sour spicy, salty, and sweet. Sautéed in garlic and chili, the Morning Glory is perfectly crunchy, while the Thai-style Omelet Stuffed with Crabmeat—equal parts flaky and succulent—is a standout as well. I’m also pleasantly surprised to see stir-fried Maine Lobster on the menu, seasoned with sweet basil and chilies, though the result can be a little chewy for some purists.
The highlight from a diverse selection of mains is the Massaman Kea, or Muslim-style curry with Australian leg of lamb. Buried beneath a blanket of yellow curry, made flavourful by the infusion of lemongrass and turmeric, the exquisitely tender chunks of lamb harmonize symbiotically with robust portions of boiled potatoes.
Bangkok wouldn’t be Bangkok without a parade of desserts to round off the night. My favourite was the Tub Tim Siam, a coconut syrup with red ruby chestnut morsels and jackfruit bobbing on top (added bonus: the coconut shell in which it’s served allows you to scrape off the rich-tasting young coconut meat). The meal ends in a sweet mélange of yet more Thai classic desserts: creamy egg custard on sticky rice, egg-yolk candy drops, and golden egg-yolk thread—a charming cap to the night.
By Allison Nicole Smith
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok
89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Rd.
Tel: 02 236 7777
Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm