Disclaimer: In exchange for a review, I was invited to lunch at The House of Smooth Curry. Photos are both my own, and of the restaurant.
In Bangkok, one is never bereft of choices. Hotels pop up left and right, street food is seldom more than a block or two away, and no matter which taxi you take, the driver will…often choose not to use the meter.
So many choices.
But, if you’re only in town for a few days, you don’t want to err in where you stay or eat, especially if trying different foods is one of your motivating factors.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
The House of Smooth Curry, located at The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, could easily be added to your list.
The House of Smooth Curry reopened within the past two months after undergoing significant renovations. Curiously, The Athenee Hotel was built on the site the former Kandhavas Palace; indeed, the main dining room was designed to evoke the 1920s-1930s residence of Princess Valaya Alongkorn.
The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok
One of my favorite PR people, Ann at The Marcom Pro, as well as the affable and environmentally-conscious GM of The Athenee Hotel, Ms. Choo Leng Goh, joined for lunch. The Executive Chef, Mr. Montri Jiratitankit, also stopped by to chat about how important his family was in inspiring him to cook.
As much as possible, The House of Smooth Curry tries to use sustainable, local, and regional ingredients. Nearly 80% of the menu is organic, and many dishes were previously only spotted on royal menus, adding further uniqueness to the dining experience.
Poh Taek Talay, or soup with organic seabass, black tiger prawns and Hokkaido scallops, with galangal (has an earthy citrus flavor, and looks very similar to ginger) , tomatoes and basil. It was a quality opening dish, as soups tend to be. Light and welcoming, and generous with the amount of seafood. Although it’s typically made spicy, I generally want it even spicier. And this is Thailand, so prepare yourself for both types of heat!
Gang Run Juan Neua, or spicy Pon Yang Kham beef curry with shrimp paste, onions and basil leaves. Gang Run Juan Neua is one of the aforementioned meals not widely known outside of a culinary historian’s textbook. In spite of having beef, it was also not overpowering, and the Thai basil leaves were a fragrant and pleasant addition to the meat-focused plate.
Saeng Wa Goong, spicy organic prawn salad with ginger, lemongrass, and mint, crispy catfish, and cashews. So good! Everything tasted so fresh, Thai flavors stole the spotlight, and did I mention I love seafood? Now to find out the names of those edible flowers…
Gai Phad Takrai, or stir-fried organic chicken with lemongrass and chili, tied for my favorite non-dessert of the meal. I would snack on this – with more chilies thrown in – everyday. The chicken was tender, and its umami taste meshed well with the herbal citrus qualities of the lemongrass and the heat of the chilies. Well done!
Also photographed is the beef curry listed above, and my other favorite dish, red chicken curry. It was eaten too quickly that I couldn’t get a better photo.
Moving on to dessert–
Som Choon, mixed seasonal fruit (including litchi and longan) shaved ices with keffir lime peel. After all of those bold flavor profiles, having a snack of some of what Thailand does best – tropical fruit – was timely and refreshing. I will have to make a repeat visit to get the mango and mangosteen duo.
Kha Nom Kho Kathi Sod, or glutinous rice balls filled with shaved coconut and served in warm coconut milk. This is another meal I would eat everyday, if I didn’t ever have to worry about the consequences. In spite of it being coconut-heavy, the flavors don’t overwhelm your palette.
Before learning about this dish, I would make a beeline to mango sticky rice, and the grilled bananas with caramel sauce. Now that I know about this, I will have to diversify the ever-crowded dessert field.
Check out The House of Smooth Curry any day or everyday of the week. They are from 12:00-14:30 and 18:00-22:30, and the dress code is smart casual.