Ban Mae Yui
Ari might just be hotting up as a foodie neighborhood, but Ban Mae Yui has been operating here for more than 10 years now. The restaurant is located in a section of the owner’s house, where plenty of greenery, candy-colored furniture and Northern-style decorative umbrellas provide a tranquil setting that’s a little bit out-of-the-ordinary. While the menu is heavily focused on Thai fare, they do serve some Western dishes in the evenings and all weekend (these were developed by another restaurant run by the same family). No matter how much we want to like the place for its longevity and setting, we can’t help but feel that many of their Thai dishes lack the authentic flavors served up in years gone by. Take the tao hoo song krueng (fried tofu in gravy with vegetables, B140) which is rather bland and lacks the savory dimension to make it at all memorable. What’s more, on our last visit, some of the vegetables, like the carrot, were massively undercooked. The mun goong song krueng (shrimp’s head fat paste, B150) is a somewhat better choice, but needs a more balanced flavor and a smoother texture if it’s to compare favorably with other namprik selections we’ve tried elsewhere. While some dishes leave a lot to be desired, there are a few that hark back to the restaurant’s former glories. The lip-smacking moo satay (B140 for 10) comes with big and juicy looking chunks of pork, with a flavor to match. Each skewer has just the right amount of fat to make it enjoyable, but not put a burden on your conscience. Meanwhile, the single plate dishes are perhaps your safest bet. The khao tod kratiam goong (stir-fried rice with prawns and garlic, B135), in particular, is delicious. We love that they stir-fry the rice with shrimp’s head fat to give it a nice aroma; it’s not too mushy and really packs a nice mix of flavors. It’s just too bad that the desserts underwhelm. The apple crumble (B95) is swimming in a bowl of greasy butter and just tastes plain odd. Unfortunately, the Ban Mae Yui of today is rather hit and miss; we recommend taking a seat in the leafy garden and sticking to the solid if unspectacular single plate dishes. Corkage charge B250.