Known to many non-Arabs simply as “that place on the corner with sheeshas,” Nefertiti is one of the more popular establishments in this cluster of Middle Eastern and African eateries. This is not so much due to the food as other factors. These include its prime location with plenty of outdoor seating, which offers plenty of opportunities for people-watching, and the fact that the management was among the first to recognize the demand for sheesha smoking and savvy enough to display the waterpipes out front. Which is not to say that the food isn’t any good: Some of it is excellent, such as the “dips” and salads. For example, the Lebanese Chopped Salad is fresh and clean, with more parsley than bulgur and just the right amount of citrus. And both the “meshed eggplant” (sic), a.k.a. baba ganouj, and their version of chickpea and sesame spread, a.k.a. hummus, are perfectly whipped and seasoned and come with a generous pool of green olive oil—perfect for dipping with the (sometimes too) crispy flatbread. Unfortunately, Nefertiti’s grilled dishes don’t merit the same praise. The lamb sheesh kabab (grilled on skewers) in the ubiquitous combination platter was dry and chewy and the portion miniscule; the kuffa (ground meat on skewers) was better, but even so the dish wasn’t worth. No complaints about portion size or value for money with the lamb in tomato rice, a huge plate of rice camouflaging four large chunks of meat, but the meat was dry and flavorless. Food aside, what we like about Nefertiti some people will hate. It is chaotic and loud, especially when the 50-inch flatscreen TV is tuned to a Premier League soccer match, and windy, thanks to industrial ceiling fans overhead. It is also brightly lit and resembles an amusement park, with colors reflecting off stainless steel walls and railings. And, while the management is helpful enough to recommend dishes, the servers can be frustratingly incompetent. A final warning: Negotiating between tables can be like walking through a minefield when the restaurant is full of sheesha-smokers—and late at night (they’re open late), it usually is. So watch your step (and your swinging arms and bags), lest you knock over someone’s waterpipe. In this neighborhood, flying chunks of charcoal are sometimes the least of your worries.
|Address:||Nefertiti, 4/8 Sukhumvit Soi 3/1, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 5pm-3am|
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