This Isaan restaurant caters to the Sathorn area's worker bees.
Tucked inside the network of concourses and walkways at the feet of the Sathorn Nakorn and Sathorn Thani office buildings, Papaya caters mostly to the area’s worker bees. Forget grabbing a table at lunch, when the lanyard-wearing swarms pack in for a taste of convincing Isaan fare without the crushing heat of a sidewalk stall.
Papaya’s diligent service (ably supported by a fuss-free tick-box ordering slip) and its cozy decor hint at more than just a cafeteria in the Sathorn eco-system. Those repro Eames chairs and oversized wicker pendant lights wouldn’t feel out of place in a brunch spot on Thonglor.
The food, too, serves up the occasional surprise. The heap of tiny chicken wings (B90) are perfectly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. The laab (B95) is fluffy and herbal, with a capable seasoning that’s just shy of perfect (we could do with more lime). Suited to the Bangkok crowd, the somtams (B60-80) are a tad on the sweet side, with medium heat, but the green papaya is crunchy, the dressing flavorful. And this all comes at very reasonable prices.
Sadly, a few dishes do fall south of average, such as the waterlogged salmon and mushrooms salad (B185), or the dry, parboiled beef (B120) that looks more pan-fried than charcoal grilled. In general, the indoor kitchen means this just isn’t a place for delicious grilled dishes (forget smokey catfish or chicken thighs), nor can it really handle its fancier creations.
From MahaNakhon to Empire Tower, this cute and efficient restaurant is about as authentic as air-con Isaan gets in this neck of the woods—which explains the crowds—but that doesn’t make it a destination.
|Address:||Papaya, 1/F, Sathorn Thani 2, Sathorn Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-8pm|
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