Our first night in Bangkok. After sitting in traffic from the airport to the hotel, we checked-in, unpacked, changed some money and rushed off to dinner. The roads were still gridlocked so we decided to hop on on very conveniently located Chit Lom station (right in front of the hotel) Sky Train several stops on the light green line to Thong Lo. When we got there, we walked around a bit until we finally found our way to the tiny unobtrusive entryway of Soul Food Mahanakorn.
I had read about this little restaurant from several websites on Bangkok and a few blogs and was curious about an authentic Thai restaurant run by a farang (Thai for foreigner) ex-food critic. The place is cozy with a few tables on the ground floor and a bar off to one side where the restaurant's famous cocktails are concocted. Luckily, we had booked as it was Friday evening and the place was filling up at 7:00 p.m. Unluckily, they seated us upstairs in restaurant Siberia, despite the fact that we had booked several weeks in advance, where there was a longer banquette, several more tables and just the two of us. Well, I guess you could call it romantic.
The menu is not that long but have several interesting things on it, plus at Soul Food Mahanakorn, the rice is organic, the meats free-range and the ingredients sourced from farms in the northeast of Thailand.
As we were starving, we went ahead and ordered several items along with lime sodas and waited for the food to come. And it did, all at the same time. We had forgotten that Thai food is always served family-style so our tiny table was soon full of assorted dishes - grilled smoky sweet pork skewers, Khao Soi, the traditional Thai curry noodles with slow-simmered beef lime and pickled mustard and shallot; Gaeng Hang Lay, braised pork belly in a Burmese-style curry made from dried spices, pickled garlic and ginger and crab fried rice. They had forgotten one of the dishes we ordered, so the grilled chicken wings were served much later. The food was simply prepared and quite good but as we learned the hard way, the one spicy dish (the Khao soi) burned our tongues and after that, we couldn't really taste what we were eating. Good thing they had some watermelon pickle and cucumber salad to help cool our mouths down. I finished off my dinner with a scoop of lychee sorbet which helped keep my tongue cool as well. By the time we left the restaurant, the downstairs area was packed with expats and a Thai couple were being led upstairs to sit all alone just like we did.
Soul Food Mahanakorn is what the Thai's call a farang-friendly place with exotic cocktails, retro music, cozy interiors and pretty good Thai dishes. Prices are reasonable (about US$50 for two with no alcohol) and service is courteous and efficient. It was a good introduction to Thai food for our first night in bustling Bangkok.
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Soi Thong Lor)
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Telephone: +66 8590 42691
BTS stop: Thong Lo on the light green line
Open daily for dinner from 6:30 pm till late