Fall in love with royal Thai cuisine at Thara Thong.
Bangkok’s riverside is renowned for its historic origins, with plenty of temples and palaces lining the banks of this famous landmark which dates back to the early 18th century. Although the lifestyle and traditions of that period are now foreign to us, those who fancy a journey back in time can still find relics of that golden age. One such tribute is Thara Thong at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, which opens daily for dinner.
Set in an ornate teakwood pavilion that gazes out over the Chao Phraya River, Thara Thong, which translates to ‘Golden River’, serves spectacular royal Thai cuisine in a traditional palace-inspired setting. Guests have the option to dine barefoot on cushions at low tables indoors in the traditional Thai manner, or outdoors at elegant tables with glittering views of the bustling river. On top of an extensive menu that offers spicy salads, soups and fresh seafood, Thara Thong also features Thai classical music and dance performances, held every night from 7pm to 10pm, to enhance the authenticity of the noble atmosphere.
Flavours here are distinctly Thai and cleverly taken to the next level with the incorporation of fusion elements. Of course, the menu also has traditional Thai recipes that were once only served in the royal court.
Take for instance the Yum som-o goong (B420), well-known as Thai pomelo salad. Not only is this light starter refreshing, but it also embodies all the tantalising flavours that characterise Thai cuisine, meaning it is sour, spicy and sweet, all at the same time. The chunks of pomelo, of course, provide bursts of sweetness which blends pleasingly well with the chilli, lime and shredded coconut flakes.
Another great appetiser is Ruan phet (B550), also known as the chef’s signature sharing plate, which consists of papaya salad wrapped with rice paper and shrimp; chicken satay with peanut sauce; deep-fried crab meat with minced prawn and chicken; and flower shaped dumplings filled with minced herbal prawn. This is a wonderful way to experience a little taste of some of the country’s most popular street foods.
The restaurant demonstrates its innovative edge with Sang wa pla foo (B380), a spicy boiled prawn salad with aromatic Thai herbs prepared with crispy fish — a perfect fit for those who desire a dish filled with multifaceted textures and flavours. The highlight is the lightly battered fish with its fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency, providing a delightful contrast to the zesty, fresh salad.
For a main which turns a classic Thai street food staple into a fine-dining delicacy is Guay tiew pad Thai lobster (B950), which consists of wok-fried rice noodles served with a succulent Maine lobster, fresh bean curd, bean sprouts and grated peanuts. Meanwhile, those who appreciate finely smoked duck meat will love the Aouk ped rom kwan rard sauce kra prow (B450), as the waterfowl is doused in a hot basil and chilli sauce. This combination again takes traditional Thai flavouring and elevates it to a regal standard by pairing a classic basil dish with perfectly cooked duck meat. However, our personal pick is the Phanaeng sie krong moo (B480), or pork spare ribs in a thick red peanut-infused curry. Best enjoyed with white jasmine rice, the tender pork meat simply falls off the bone, while the rich curry provides the ideal creamy texture.
Rounding things off is the Ice cream kati sod (B220). Coconut ice cream is one of Thailand’s best-known food exports, and here it is given the royal treatment with various pairings, including crunchy peanuts and sugar-coated jellies.
Then, for a dessert that superbly fuses the sweet treats of the East and West is Cheesecake cha Thai (B250), that adapts Thai tea as a filling for the silkiest cheesecake you will ever indulge in.
To complete your dining experience, the restaurant offers an extensive beverage menu with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The Singapore Sling (B300++) is a popular choice; its fruity and herbaceous notes complement the multifaceted cuisine served. For a more sophisticated drink, befitting a royal feast, order the Aperol Spritz (B300++). This bubbly concoction is a combination of sweet Italian liquor and prosecco, topped off with soda water and garnished with a slice of orange.
First Floor at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers
2 Charoen Krung Road Soi 30 (Captain Bush Lane), Bang Rak, 10500
Open daily: 6pm to 10.30pm
Tel: 02 266 0123