Spilling the tea by the river.
By Mahmood Hossain
Taking a trip riverside requires a special occasion or an invitation for this particular city dweller. I’ve always felt like I’ve ventured outside the borders of Bangkok and into the bosom of bliss and tranquillity. To experience this sense of calm near the legendary Chao Phraya River, it’s always a wise choice to visit the riverfront in the early afternoon. And when you have a unique establishment such as the Asiatique the Riverfront branch of The Siam Tea Room as an option, you’re closer to a day of splendour than you think.
Opened in April of this year, The Siam Tea Room’s Asiatique the Riverfront branch is an amalgamation of a restaurant, bakery, and café that is built on the rich culinary traditions of Thailand. At first glance, The Siam Tea Room is reminiscent of a high-end suburban home, with traditional architectural foundations and pillars complemented by framed windows and glass walls. The furnishing only drives that point further, delivering the comfort and familiarity of a loved one’s house with its indoor and al fresco seating areas, a private dining room, and a wonderful view of the river.
In a line of vibrant riverside settings, this restaurant is an elegant two-story wooden house that provides a warmly-welcoming and slower-paced dining experience. Whether you decide to take a seat inside or outside, the ambience remains the same: come hither and let the water wash away your worries, and feel the breeze caress you into a lull while you indulge in the finer things in life.
Food & Drinks
Led by Chef Aunkool ‘Aony’ Poolpipat and his talented team of Thai chefs, the menu at The Siam Tea Room has been created from traditional Thai cuisine; these are recipes that were passed down from Chef Aony’s grandmother. The menu is a genuine homage to the Kingdom’s rich culinary heritage and the magicians in the kitchen take pride in working closely with local farmers to provide ingredients that are fresh and sustainably produced. There is no doubt that each dish is authentically Thai. However, the menu seems to cater to a wider audience; perfect for those who would rather opt out of dishes that may be deemed too spicy or too much of an acquired taste. So, if you are seeking something on the sweeter or lighter side, this might just be the ideal place for a fulfilling Thai meal.
My colleague and I were eager to try the mouth-watering series of dishes, starting with the restaurant’s take on the classic Khao soi (THB 548). With Northern yellow curry, egg noodles, and soft-shell crab, a bowl of khao soi can bring both a warm beginning and a sweet ending to a meal. Fortunately, this was only the start of our culinary journey at The Siam Tea Room, as we strolled into a meatier dish with the Masaman curry (THB 668), a rich and flavourful blend of braised beef cheek, crushed peanuts, lotus seeds, and potato dumplings. Vegetarians, worry not, as there was an all-veg option in the form of their Green curry (THB 248), with eggplant and tofu, which came close to stealing the show because of its balance of flavours and easily-digestible bites.
Equally simple, yet a refreshingly palette-cleansing dish, was Grandma’s recipe of spicy and sour pomelo salad (THB 378), consisting of mango, fluffy fried sepat fish, sweet pork, and orange zest. It was the perfect transition into our next item, the Stir-fried soft-shell crab (THB 468) accompanied by onions, celery, and egg curry sauce. This became an ideal soft serve for a dish that provided a much-needed kick to the tastebuds. The Tom yum goong seafood with spicy chili paste (THB 388) was of high quality, and nailed the standard that we all expect with this Thai staple.
We ended our visit to The Siam Tea Room with the sinfully sweet Pandan custard French toast with coconut (THB 210). It looked intimidating at first, especially when my colleague and I unabashedly stuffed down several dishes prior to our bite of this dessert, but it became the perfect finishing touch to a splendid afternoon meal. We kept going back for more, even though we were bursting at the seams.
It may be an obvious choice but the BBQ pork ribs (THB 488), made of free-range pork and tamarind glaze with ground roasted rice, was as delicious as it looked. The meat slid right off the bone and was tender to the bite. The ingredients, preparation, plating, and cooking were absolutely perfect. In a menu with an abundance of seafood and veggie options, this had a slight edge, and made it to the top of our list.
SIAM TEA ROOM, ASIATIQUE
Asiatique The Riverfront
2194 Charoen Krung Road Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem Bangkok 10120
Open daily from 12pm to 12am
Tel: 02 059 5999
Instagram and Facebook: @thesiamtearoom