This Phrom Phong restaurant does royal Thai recipes in a chic setting.
Despite the modern look of this new Thai bistro in the heart of Sukhumvit’s food capital, Phrom Phong, its owner took her inspiration from the royal Thai recipes of Srisamorn Kongpun, a long-time food instructor, writer and director of Yingcharoen Culinary School.
So while the open-plan, two-story space mixes old-school markers like wicker fish baskets and enamel tiffin cases with floor-to-ceiling windows and lounge seating, the menu sticks to tradition with its soups, stir-fries, dips and single-plate dishes. Some of them even come with little history lessons and descriptions of the ingredients—though the attentive staff are just as knowledgeable about each item. They’ll also tell you that the most popular dish is the miang kham Bua Luang (B185), a traditional betel leaf snack of shallot, ginger, lime and roasted coconut, which here they sex up with wild lotus petal leaves on top of betel—excellent with the accompanying sweetness of the dipping sauce.
Other highlights come in the form of a saeng wa goong (prawn and fluffy fish salad, B230) and nam prik mamuang (spicy shrimp paste with green mango, B195), both of which are tangy, juicy, sour and delicious. You can taste the difference in much of At-Ta-Rote’s produce, but there are only a few dishes that do it justice. The pad prik khing pla chon (stir-fried snake fish with chili paste, B220) lacks aroma and flavor, while the gaeng pu bai cha plu (crab curry and butterfly pea noodle, B450) is a dull and tasteless disaster. Even the gai tod nang grop sauce takrai (crispy fried chicken with lemongrass, B210) aren’t crispy at all.
Come dessert, At-Ta-Rote shows its modern side, and surprisingly creates more well-rounded flavors. The matoom chuem with coconut ice cream (B175), for example, features a perfect blend of naturally sweet bale fruit and aromatic coconut. Judging by the well-heeled families and impeccably dressed groups of friends who crowd out At-Ta-Rote’s tables, the restaurant is doing something right. But the chic setting doesn’t satisfy our cravings for flavorful Thai food. Corkage B500