Samsara has become one of our favorite spots by the river. Set in one of those charming wooden houses you pass as you ride the express boat along the Chao Phraya, the restaurant is tucked down a little alley behind Wat Pathumkongka (where you can hardly park your car). The place feels halfway between a gallery and a friend’s house, brimming as it is with personality: expect to find colorful vintage furnishings, all sorts of cat-related curios and paintings hanging on the wall. Most of the tables are set out on the terrace and reservations are a must for the ones with the best views. The tasty Thai cuisine is augmented by Japanese touches since some of the owners hail from Japan. We particularly love the tofu dishes like the tofu gratin (B180) which has a delicate but firm texture and a nice brown crust. Cooked to perfection, it’s totally yummy. The plar tao-hu (fried Japanese tofu with shrimp in spicy herbal sauce, B140) is great too, as you can really taste the freshness of the tofu, which is nice and crispy on the outside and moist without being too watery on the inside. Though quite salty, the dish is very satisfying. The laab maguro (tuna) in spicy salad (B170) is not the best we’ve tried, but it does at least strike a pleasant balance between sweetness, salt and spice. Moving on to the red meat side of the menu, the grilled Thai-French beef served with spicy sauce (B320) is a bit of a letdown. When we last visited the meat was unevenly cooked: some parts were medium-rare and juicy while others were far too dry in spite of some sizzling sauce. On the whole, though, even the simple dishes like kai jiew (omelet with herbs and pork, B110) are done with a pleasing attention to detail. We like the herbs they put in the fluffy omelet—and the fact that the dish is not at all greasy at all. Overall Samsara offers up an all-round charming experience that combines a relaxing ambiance with unfussy but ultimately tasty dishes. No corkage.
|Address:||Samsara, 1612 Songwat Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Area:||Riverside, Yaowarat (Chinatown)|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 4pm-1am|
|Nearest train||MRT Hua Lamphong|
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