Arno’s Butcher and Eatery
A butcher-slash-restaurant that serves dry-aged beef at super-cheap prices.
Arno’s burst onto the Bangkok dining scene in late 2015 promising dry-aged steak so cheap that it quickly drew a three-week waiting list. You don’t have to wait that long anymore, but you do still have to book ahead (24-48 hours should suffice). Visit on a Friday night and the packed-out dining room—part French bistro (red and white tablecloths, wine glasses), part Ladprao beer pub (flimsy red-brick walls, fairy lights)—booms with the noise of happy customers talking at feverpitch.
Arno’s, then, is not somewhere you go for refinement. But if your dinner requirements begin and end at “red meat, lots of it,” then it’s unbeatable. The format is simple and no-nonsense: servers whisk you into the adjoining butcher’s shop before even showing you to your table, where you choose your meat from a display cabinet of cuts ranging from 45-day dry-aged rump steak at B1,500/kg up to the modestly marbled “Arno’s Super T-Bone” at B5,900/kg (which we’re reliably informed comes from Thai cattle crossbred with wagyu breeds).
Preparation comes in two options: rare or medium rare. Our half-kilo of well-aged sirloin cost just B850 and made pretty much every other sirloin steak we’ve had in Bangkok laughable by comparison. The meat is juicy, fatty, iron-rich and treated with a Frenchman’s interpretation of the word “rare.”
Don’t give weight to TripAdvisor complaints that the hot plates overcook the meat: one, they don’t; and two, the waiters ask if you want a hot plate or a regular one. The same goes for criticism of Arno’s service. Yes, it’s brisk and no-nonsense and not everyone speaks perfect English, but it’s also friendly and informative. They ask if you’d like dishes brought together or as starters and mains—then actually follow through with what you request.
Arno’s doesn’t do everything as well as it does steak. The sides, from macaroni and cheese (B150) to curly fries (B120), are little more than stodgy junk food, while desserts like banoffee pie (B140) taste like something from a pot-luck party. The two reds offered by the glass (B185-220) are humdrum stuff, though the same can’t be said of the full, well-priced, French-leaning wine list.
If you’re after a steak night with refinement then forget Arno’s, go to a hotel and pay three times the price for meat with half the flavor. If you’re after a steak night with character, head here.
This review took place in February 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Arno’s Butcher and Eatery, 2090/2 Narathiwas Soi 20, Bangkok, Thailand
|BBB - BBBB
|Reservation recommended, Parking available
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