The combination of traditional Thai cuisine with beautiful presentation results in some stunningly well-balanced dishes which don't skimp on the heat just becuase this is in a hotel. The decor evokes the Rama V-era with fresh, contemporary colors. The Chaba Thai set menu (offers dishes like beef massamun and stir-fried grass noodles with crabmeat. Otherwise, a la carte dishes include shrimp paste dip with fried mackerel and lamb panaeng curry.
The Hua Chang Heritage hotel is surprisingly elegant on the outside, referencing the aristocratic, Rama V-era villas in the neighboring Soi Thammasarot. Inside, they decided to go for some kind of pop-meets-Louis XIV style, though, with faux antiques done up in silver, gold, or even faceted mirrors that are more disco ball than Palais des Glaces. All this was poorly finished to start with and is aging spectacularly fast. Practically tucked under the BTS and Hua Chang Bridge, Miss Siam’s only view is of the hotel’s crammed pool and garden.
The food is competently executed, with decent enough produce and a basic understanding of Thai food. That means the five flavors— sweet, bitter, tart, sour and salty—are balanced but the kitchen mostly ignores the herbal accompaniments that would take these dishes to the next level. You get a few leaves of coriander or holy basil, a few slices of chives, but that’s about it. In something like the mee krob (fried noodles with pork and deep-fried battered shrimp, B180), the result is a dish that gets boring after a couple of bites of the oily, sweet, fried noodles.
With the poh taek (B320), the limey soup (basically a tom yam with holy basil) packs a strong acidic kick, but not much is going on in terms of aroma and the seafood is not exactly bursting with flavor. Similarly, the pad khana (stir-fried kale, B140) with salted fish lacks the smokey notes that would come from proper wok technique.
Usually the main complaint with hotels is a lack of spiciness; that’s not particularly the case here (it’s not Isaan hot, but most of the menu is central Thai, after all). For example, the crab relish (namprik poo lon, B280) is packed with slices of chili, but we’re not detecting much else apart from that and the coconut milk. Do they use top quality fish sauce, palm sugar, grachai, Thai garlic and shredded kaffir lime leaves in this kitchen? It doesn’t smell—or taste—like it.
You do get a decent enough meal, elegant plating and courteous service. Furthermore, prices are still very reasonable compared to swankier hotels, just not cheap enough to warrant bog-standard Thai food. Look at the bright side (and cut hotels some slack, too), this is still better than most street stalls and many Thai restaurants.