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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thai Restaurant Review - Ruen Mallika Royal Thi Cuisine - Bangkok

Ruen Mallika - Royal Thai Cuisine - Sukhumvit 22 Bangkok Review

Overall Score  8.5/10
Taste   4.5/5
Ambiance  4/5
Service  4/5
Value   3/5

Ruen Mallika - Thai Restaurant on BumRes.com (Follow this link for Menu picture and in deapth detail)

Ruen Mallika Royal Thai Cuisine is the Flagship of restaurants under the management of the Mallika Interfood.  Their main intention is to serve the premium quality Thai food with the original authenticity of the old recipes.  Many Thai people know about the restaurants by Ajarn Mallika.  There are many locations across town serving various specialties under different names; Mallika, Yentafo, PangYim, and Papa Pond Pizza Pie & Pasta.   I have gone to the Yentafo a few times.  You will find it in many shopping malls in Bangkok.  Thai people know it as “Yentafo KruengSrong,” which refers to the pink broth noodle soup with the full rack of spices.  Yentafo is an easy going with the fast food attitude targets middle class Thai people unlike the Ruen Mallika, serving royal Thai cuisine attracting foreign guests.  With the high priced dishes, Ruen Mallika offers the one of a kind traditional atmosphere and the truly breathtaking Thai culinary arts presented in each menu.  My experience at the Ruen Mallika was absolutely special.

Located in the Sub Soi of Sukhumvit 22, Ruen Mallika is not a place that you would accidentally pass by.  This restaurant somehow has the charm to make people finding their way into the Soi to find it (see our map for exact location).  A few parking spots are available.  The old wooden Thai house was what it was, a perfect place for a special Thai dinner.  There is an open air seating area where you can enjoy the lush little garden as well as indoor seating with A/C in the wooden house decorated with random antique elements.  On the second floor, low wooden tables are great for experiencing the old time Thai dining style.  This place is opened all day but lunch time isn’t the popular time since there is no lunch menu.  High priced menu isn’t as attractive at lunch when the atmosphere is added to the price.  I can imagine that the set up could really create the quite a romantic night for diners.  Reservation is recommended for both lunch and dinner.  I was there with two other friends.  It was about late afternoon when we got there and we were the only one there.  Many tables were set for parties coming at dinner time. 

The food of the Ruen Mallika is very authentic, old recipe, rare dishes.  There is no fusion to mess up the authenticity.  Ingredients are of premium quality.  Large river prawns, Good size Sea Bass, and for beef they use Wagyu beef.  Service staffs will be costumed in traditional Thai dress.  All of them can speak English.  With the superb setting of the two stories Thai house and the garden, your experience will definitely be impressive.  Average price is around 300 - 500 baht per dish, so for a full on meal, it will probably cost around 1,000 to 1,500 baht.  

This visit was serious one, quite a royal feast for a late afternoon.   The first dish was the “my name is Bussaba” or the variety of deep fried flowers (500 baht).  There were like seven different kinds of locally found flowers.  Some of them I have in my garden but never thought of cooking it.  Some of the flowers are seasonal, so it depends on what is blooming that day, really.  Served in a huge wooden plate, the flowers were beautifully fried, so crispy.  The dipping sauce was the sweet chili sauce.  There was not much flavor coming from the flowers, only a light fragrance.  To be honest I would rather have the Shrimp Tempura over the flowers Tempura any day but it was worth the try for the sake of it being so exotic.       

The second dish was the Nam Prik Kai Poo or Spicy crab egg paste with assorted vegetables (500 baht).  With the carving on the pumpkin, this menu was absolutely stunning.  All the vegetables in the assortment were so fresh with the vivid green color.  The chili crab paste had a distinct flavor, delicious with the rich crab egg flavor and the spices.  There was a good amount given but still not enough for all the veggies.  It’s good dish to try, a rare one to find at Thai restaurants nowadays.   

The third dish was the Hor Mok Kanom Tuay or Fish and crab meat soufflé (350 baht).  It was nicely done and presented.  This menu usually comes wrapped in the banana leaf but to serve in the cup is brilliant.  It became very easy to enjoy.  The fourth dish was Kai Toon SrongKrueng or Steamed egg topped with pork, shrimp, and “thousand years” egg (180 baht).  It was a simple homely soft egg pudding style.  The toppings made it much more special.  My friends were crazy about this dish but I didn’t like the black egg, so I didn’t fancy this dish as much. 

The fifth dish was the Tom Kha Pla Salid or Hot and sour coconut cream soup with tamarind leaves and dried fish (450 baht).  I personally have never had the Tom Kha with dried fried fish before.  I was amused with its weirdness but the staff told me that this combination is the traditional style from the last century.  To me, it was a perfect soup.  Not too rich and creamy from the coconut, the contrast of the salty fish flavor was savory; so natural and harmonized.  I was crazy about this soup.  I loved it the most.  I’m telling you - You have to try it.  Best with the steamed jasmine rice.

The last dish was the Plaa Neau or Spicy “Plaa-style” beef salad (400 baht) - so pricey for a beef salad but it was made with Wagyu beef.  It is spiced up nicely with splendid Yum flavor (spicy and tangy dressing).  The beef texture was great but the premium beef character of the Wagyu was lost in the intense Yum flavor.  I wouldn’t be able to tell if it was Wagyu at all.  They could have used regular beef and the outcome could be comparable.  It was a tasty salad though, don’t get me wrong.    

For my experience at the Ruen Mallika, I really enjoyed the superior quality Thai food.  Every dish was made with expert cooking skills.  A Thai person like me was totally fascinated by the food.  I can’t imagine how mesmerized a foreigner would be, dining the royal Thai Cuisine there.  I wish I could go back there at night time.  The atmosphere will be quite electrifying for guests visiting Thailand, I bet.  The Ruen Mallika @ Sukhumvit 22 surely has what it takes to represent the Thai food and culture.        

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