Chiang Mai's salad specialist arrives in Bangkok.
Chiang Mai's popular salad and steak restaurant Ohkajhu has branched out to Siam Square and is already packed.
Known for using fresh veggies from its own organic farm, the restaurant highlights salads: design your own or choose from the likes of spicy tuna salad (B165), a photogenic fruit salad served in a melon shell (B240) or a huge bowl of salmon with grilled tofu, greens and grains (B285).
They also serve heartily portioned meat dishes like barbecue spare ribs (B315) and pastas (B125-285). To drink, you can opt for coffee, fresh fruit juices or some smoothies.
Do expect a queue, though, just like in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai’s popular salad and steak restaurant branched out to Siam Square in early 2017 and quickly began causing queues. Even on our most recent visit, five months later, we had to wait 45 minutes for a table after arriving at 9pm on a Wednesday night.
Ohkajhu has built its name for the organic and hydroponic vegetables it grows on its farm up north. These take center stage in the highlighted salads: design your own or choose from the likes of the spicy tuna salad (B165), a photogenic fruit salad served in a melon shell (B240) or a bowl of salmon with grilled tofu, greens and grains (B285). You’re at least guaranteed a hearty portion in the avocado spinach salad (B255), which comes with juicy grilled chicken with just the right amount of seasoning. The veggies, too, taste evidently farm fresh.
But our problems with Ohkajhu start with the dressings. Despite there being 22 options to choose from, they seem to differ only in color and thickness. Whether it’s the honey dijon mustard, a watery mix of honey and sweet salad cream, or the thicker tofu dressing, we really taste only one thing: blandness.
Worse, the heavier dishes sadly seem to showcase a lot of packaged sauces and other off the shelf products. Ohkajhu’s grilled German sausages (B345 for three) taste anything but homemade thanks to their tough casing, and the accompanying liquid-y gravy reeks of Maggi sauce. The barbecue ribs with wedges (B315) are also pedestrian. The meat, though tender, doesn’t fall off the bone, and the brown liquid masquerading as a marinade is way too sweet with no complexity whatsoever.
Other dishes just seem like total mismatches. The smoked salmon wrap (B185) in a sad whole-wheat sheet is meant to come with salmon roe and crabmeat, but we found little trace of either on our last visit except for the unpleasant smell of crab in the cream cheese. Just as unappetizing is the mushy salmon. The angel hair pasta (B235) is soggy and comes with shrimp so bouncy and translucent you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re dining in an MK restaurant. The sweet green bean soup (B75) has the texture of water, which the addition of fresh cream can’t save.
We applaud Ohkajhu’s ambition to raise awareness of organic produce, but the execution is far from ideal. If the crowds were to thin out, we might return for a bowl of fresh greens, but really we’d rather buy them to take home and eat with a decent dressing.
This review took place in August 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.