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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Na Aroon Thai Restaurant Review - Sukhumvit 1, Bangkok

Na Aroon - Vegetarian and Seafood Thai Restaurant at Sukhumvit 1, BTS Ploenchit, Bangkok

Overall Score  8.5/10
Taste   4/5
Ambiance  4.5/5
Service  4.5/5
Value   4.5/5

In the hectic environment of the Sukhumvit road, who would think that there would be a tropical secluded boutique hotel at the bottom of the Sukhumvit Soi 1.  The name is the Ariyasom Villa - a Luxury Thai Style Boutique Hotel.  The outdoor setting of this hotel is perfect for relaxation.  Within this getaway, there is a small Thai restaurant located within, the name is Na Aroon, which is the only official restaurant of the hotel.  The Na Aroon focuses on healthy eating so there is only seafood and vegetarian dishes.  The size of the restaurant is small like the hotel.  There are about 10 tables indoor with A/C and a couple more tables by the pool.  The atmosphere is wonderful, very private and homely, like having a meal at a friend's vacation home.  The decor is the traditional Thai house style with wood features.  Being small is an advantage, staffs are friendly and more caring.    

The Na Aroon seems like it would only target on hotel guests only but the staffs actually told me that majority of their customers are non-guests.  I heard that this place is always full at dinner time.  It was hard to believe at first but after tasting the food, I was convinced.  I bet vegetarians would be addicted to the food at Na Aroon.  This one of a kind restaurant has all the factors to be successful; pleasant atmosphere; 5 star hotel customer service; tasty food; reasonable price.

About the food, as I mentioned earlier the Na Aroon serves authentic Thai food with only seafood and vegetable.  Even though it is a vegetarian, there is quite a variety.  In the menu, there are also western dishes to please the diverse group of guests and to change up for guests staying longer period.  Besides the deliciousness and healthy concept of the restaurant, it is the attractive food prices.  I must say that the Na Aroon will give you more than you pay for.    

Our lunch at the Na Aroon was of course, a healthy one.  For a meat lover, it is not easy to impress me with all vegetable dishes.  Well, let's start with the salad.  The first dish was the spicy and sour pomelo salad served with cashew nuts and chili (150++ Baht).  It was a nicely done salad with the light flavoring and the variety of texture was charming.  Pomelo pulp popping juice was fun.  

The second dish was the Spicy and sour wing beans, crispy shallots and boiled eggs (150++Baht).  This one is a more spicy, the taste is standard, similar to what I have had at many typical Thai restaurants.  Note about vegetarian dishes at Na Aroon, there is no fish sauce added.  Soy sauce is a substitute.  Making a Thai dish without fish sauce isn't easy.  The chef at Na Aroon @ Ariyasom Villa did a great job in giving the authentic flavors.  One comment on the boiled egg, it could be less cooked but it's just the way I like.  Nearly every restaurant cook it through. 

The third dish was the Stir-fried vegetarian chicken with cashew nuts and dried chili (195++ Baht).  This one was tasty but I just felt weird about the vegetarian chicken.  I think the kitchen forgot to add the cashew nuts here.  For some reason, I didn't realize until the end because I was enjoying it and the taste was very authentic.

The fourth dish was the Yellow Curry (195++ Baht).  This menu is very popular.  I am not surprised, it tasted awesome.  The vegetables were delicious.  Having this curry over the three color rice was superb.  Look at the rice, isn't that beautiful? 

The last dish was the Sweet and spicy Panang curry with fried tofu (165++ Baht).  I expected more from this curry after having the yellow curry but it was a bit disappointing that it was too bland.  A curry should be more flavorful than this.  I really liked the fried tofu in this curry.  

For dessert, we had two choices; one was Thai and the other one was Western.  Green apples stewed with brown sugar and cinnamon, topped with crumble - served with vanilla sauce and ice cream (190++ Baht) - This one is hotel owner's secret recipe.  The stew part was interesting, the taste is similar to apple crumble but the texture is lighter and little crispy with the oat flakes.  The ice-cream was ordinary.  The other dessert was the Fresh fruit in a light syrup served with shaved ice (125++ Baht).    The fruit was the Salacca.  It was nicely done, had good firm texture, just right sweet and tangy.  Good traditional Thai dessert, Thai people love this dish and I bet the hotel's foreign guests would love it too.

Every year during the Jae Festival, Chinese descents in Thailand would eat vegetarian and there are vegetarian food everywhere but I always hated it because of its bland taste, so I never really liked the vegeterian food that much, though I love veggies.  On this visit at the Na Aroon @ Ariyasom Villa, my attitude toward vegetarian food totally changed.  Vegetarian food isn't bad after all.  To many of you who is looking for a healthy meal, this cozy restaurant in the garden atmosphere is a great place to come.  

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