Secret Garden, 117/1 Sathorn Rd. (in front of Sathorn Soi 5), Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily 11am-10pm
Despite its name, Secret Garden is apparently no secret, and we are not surprised because based on ambiance alone, this charming restaurant deserves to succeed. Not only is it surrounded by a huge garden, the white house also resembles one inside, with pastel green walls, flower arrangements and decorative artificial vines clinging to chandeliers. Visual pleasures continue with cute diners to match. In the evening, the air-conditioned dining area is full of life as the chic downtown crowd let their hair down to enjoy a lingering dinner. Opt for a spacious outdoor terrace by the garden if privacy is what you seek. Another plus are the staff, who are friendly and service-minded. So much for atmosphere; unfortunately the food isn’t nearly as impressive. The menu mainly features Thai recipes with a handful of pasta dishes. Though each dish comes super fast, their flavors tend to be sweet, light or bland. This was especially obvious in yam hed khem thong (Thai-style golden mushroom salad), which was way too sweet and the mushrooms were overcooked. The stir-fried morning glory was very atypical as the chef used only shredded stems and left the leaves out, resulting in a dish more ugly than Medusa’s snaky mane. From time to time you get lucky at Secret Garden, however. Plaa krapong boran (deep-fried seabass topped with herbal salad) is an impressive combination of crisp fish fillets, fragrant finely chopped lemongrass and mildly hot sauce. Another recommended dish is goong chao wang that pairs succulent stir-fried river prawns with rich curry-like sauce. By far the secret weapon of the restaurant is its selection of cakes. You can pick from the glass display in the dining area or move to its adjacent Café Sweets for a more laid-back feel. Don’t miss the signature Crepe Cake (smooth layers of crepes topped with strawberry sauce) or velvety New York Cheesecake. Even if the food is not quite up to the quality of the décor, the elegant clientele of this charming house doesn’t seem to care, or maybe it’s that they come often enough to know just what to order. We, for sure, will be back for a sugar fix, hopefully, with a romantic date.