Garden of Dream
The buzz: WTF’s newly-opened sister space, Opposite, offers a special surprise on its top floor—a home kitchen-style restaurant offering simple European dishes, all prepared a la minute by the lone chef, Jee. In just a few weeks, this bare bones concept has become hugely popular among those in the know, and Garden of Dream is packed most evenings. The décor: Up several flights of the old school shophouse staircase is a dining room that feels part diner, part greenhouse and part home kitchen. The coveted table is a converted kitchen island right by Chef Jee’s simple six-burner stove. The other tables are nestled among large windows, indoor plants and moody lighting, and with the recent crowds, the vibe is both stimulating and cozy. The food: The menu is brief, affordable and comprised of dishes you could make yourself at home if you had the time or inclination—but you don’t and they would never feel as lovely anyway. Everything here feels very homemade, but in the best possible way; a few ingredients handled expertly is our favorite way to eat, such as the oven-baked pork spare ribs (B195). Sidestepping the tired, old slathering of sauce, these ones are moist from their own juices and fragrant with herbs. There’s also the grilled Portobello mushroom with garlic butter (B290) and grilled haloumi cheese with spicy salsa (B290). They do a few pasta dishes like Mediterranean chicken penne with black olives and feta (B290) and truffle oil with roast mushroom penne with cream sauce (B300). Or go for the oven-baked chicken with potato gratin (B450) which comes with an aromatic tomato sauce. The drinks: Unpretentious and affordable: sparkling cocktails (B250), classic cocktails (B200) and wines by the glass (B180). The crowd: Large groups of elegant, young Thais. Mrigaa Sethi
Garden of Dream is a cozy and romantic spot that serves rustic, comforting fare with plenty of personal touches. Most nights it’s not unusual to walk in (out of breath from the four-story climb) to be greeted by Chef Gee herself as she works in the open plan kitchen. Combine this with daily specials, friendly service and a kitschy-quaint garden décor, and it’s easy to see why the place has such a loyal following. Among the favorite starters are the grilled portobello mushroom with garlic butter (B290), a large, savory mushroom cap served fresh from the oven, and the roast vegetable stack (B220), comprised of some mushroom and squash slices as well as peppers and zucchini, topped with olive oil and herbs. Both remind us of the sort of simple but special food you might cook when trying to impress a new love. On the other hand, though, the majority of the dishes veer far into heavy, olive-oil and pesto-doused territory. So while the antipasto plate (slices of ham, heavily-dressed salad, sundried tomatoes and more, B280) is great, it can be a bit much when paired with a rich main like the competently-done and very nutty truffle oil and mushroom penne with cream sauce (B300). Do plan your meal carefully and consider a much lighter main like the pesto fish (B390), a simple, unadorned white fish baked with a thick layer of pesto. Either way, what’s really lovely and somewhat unique about Garden of Dream is that, without compromising on service, it actually succeeds in feeling like someone’s home. (Also great is the interaction with their regulars.) Because of the small kitchen, the standard menu is limited to items they can rustle up relatively easily, such as pastas and roasts. But thanks to their regular Facebook outreach, there are a number of special dishes and new bottles of affordable wines that you can order ahead of your arrival, like pasta carbonara, lamb tenderloin or white asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. While never creating culinary fireworks, the warm, inviting atmosphere and comforting, well-executed dishes tug strongly at the heart strings. And like all good home cooking, it will certainly have you coming back for more.
|Address:||Garden of Dream, 4/F, Opposite, 27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Tue 4-9pm; Thu 4-9pm; Fri-Sat 4-11pm; Sun 10am-1pm, 4-7pm|
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