A beautiful house devoted to rare Eastern Thai cuisine.
Sri Trat is in. A success. Even weeknights, your reservation might get turned away if it’s not made early enough. It’s luxurious rooms of azure, button-backed leather sofas and louvered wooden panels welcome a buzzy, high-end crowd to dine on recipes drawn from Thailand’s eastern provinces. It’s a specialist cuisine whose Bangkok market had previously been sewn up by the relaxed-yet-intimate Supanniga Eating Room.
Here at Sri Trat, you get a chamuang leaf curry (B220) that hits equally well-stewed, delicately sour notes, and packed with plentiful chunks of melt-in-the mouth braised pork. Like several dishes we’ve tried at Sri Trat, the flavor skews too much towards the sweet, but it also demonstrates quality produce. Make sure you also order the house specialty of lon pu kai (B540), a creamy chili dip made with a whole mud crab whose sweet flesh makes every bite. Accompanied by plentiful Laos coriander and other fresh local vegetables, it straddles the line between rustic and refined.
It’s not all eastern seaboard specials. The menu here reads like a phonebook—some 18 pages of savory dishes alone. Staples like the tom ka gai (B220) are competent but nothing special, dare we say slightly bland. But then Sri Trat doesn’t really go for bold flavor assaults. The only dish we’ve tried that approached anything like spicy is a stir-fry of chicken in Siam cardamom (B180), its tangy sauce scattered with the woody remnants of flavor-imparting herbs and spices. More often, you’ll be tucking into the safer ground of vinegar-dressed barracuda salad in sweet peanut sauce (B220), or sticky, pad Thai-esque stir-fried noodles with deep-fried soft-shell crab (B220 on the section of the menu dedicated to admirably cheap single-plate dishes).
The drinks menu steers you in the direction of cocktails with a Thai twist (elsewhere, wine by the glass starts at B290 and Thai craft beers from B190). In the case of our O-Liang (B320)—a Thai coffee-spiked mix of whiskey, port, apricot brandy and spices—the flavors taste watered down, which is a good reflection of some of the food. Because while Sri Trat postures rustic, countryside cliches—a grocery store out back selling Trat produce, tableware drawn from your backwater auntie’s kitchen cabinet—this is, after all, somewhere with a valet to park your BMW. Corkage B400 for wine and B900 for whiskey.