The Local Canteen
A hip and cheap Thai restaurant for Chong Nonsi office workers.
Chong Nonsi office crowd's hip—and cheap—new lunch spot features noodles that come from the 80-year-old Rangsit noodle specialist Pae Jua.
As well as the pork and beef noodles B50-55, only available at lunch), you'll find the likes of deep fried chicken wings (B95), garlic and pepper prawns (B155), green curry (B135) and tom yum kung (B155).
Lunch sets start at B85 with rice and sides of egg and shredded pork. Do try the coconut ice cream (B40) and mango sticky rice (B135), too.
Here’s an upscale Thai canteen tucked among the many lunch options in Bangkok’s crowded Sathorn area. And it’s really the lunch you’d come for—the narrow, slope-roofed building is given the illusion of airiness and space by the translucent sky lights (daytime therefore a necessity). Still, we didn’t come here for the elbow room.
The draw of this lunch place in its old incarnation was a bowl of noodles from 80-year-old Rangsit noodle specialist Pae Jua. Alas, the noodles are no more. Instead, you get lunch sets (B145-255) that are not a bad deal, each one including various side dishes of sizeable portions. We like the B155 set of the fresh fish steamed with lime, which comes with a boiled egg in tamarind sauce and a hefty bowl of rice.
On our last visit, all was well until we arrived at the very spicy stir-fried holy basil with mushrooms (B125), which yielded something unexpectedly chewy—ah, a rubber band. Generously, the staff replaced the dish. Sadly, the replacement mushrooms, perhaps compensating for the rubber, lacked any bite at all, having been cooked down to brown mush.
Next to arrive was the massaman gai (B255), which was sweet and unrecognizable as massaman: where was the cumin, the cardamom, the tamarind juice? It was closer to the peanut dipping sauce that comes with moo satay. As for the accompanying spring rolls, they were droopy, soft things that weren’t improved by the jelly-like plum sauce.
Order the gai tod klook foon (B135) instead, whose chicken comes in a deliciously crispy batter that’s mixed with toasted rice and spices (not unlike larb tod, actually). The coconut ice cream with mouthwatering shreds of salted egg (B95) also helped us to swallow the earlier mishap. The verdict, like the restaurant, is mixed. Some dishes are excellently well-prepared and some fall short of the neighboring competitors. Still, if you’re looking for a place that’s insulated from the usual lunchtime crush of nearby shop-houses, or even a restaurant with a pleasant interior for an extended lunch with coworkers, The Local Canteen is a good choice.
This review took place in December 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.