The Thonglor crowd now has a proper restaurant for their Isaan feast.
The Thonglor crowd now has a proper restaurant for their Isaan feast. Som tam is of course the star at Tum Thonglor, where the eponymous signature dish (B485) features spicy papaya salad with salted eggs, a large grilled prawn and side of moo yor (Vietnamese pork sausage), crispy pork skin and naem.
Those who fancy the taste of pla ra (fermented fish) can also opt for the tam taad (som tam platter) for B245. The likes of grilled chicken (B375/whole bird), pork neck namtok (B125) and fried duck beaks (B125) are also available
Thanks to the heavy Southern cuisine of Kua Kling Pak Sod, Baan Ice and Phuket Town, as well as the wide range of regional specialities at the much-appreciated Supanniga Eating Room, Thonglor is well-catered for by quality Thai restaurants.
Joining them to fill the empty spot for high-end Isaan food is Tum Thonglor with its colourful atmosphere that references playful Thai truck slogans, wickerwork and garland bands. One look at the menu and things seem mouth-wateringly promising, too, thanks to the eponymous Tum Thonglor tray (B485): spicy papaya salad with salted egg, a large grilled river prawn, moo yor (Vietnamese pork sausage), crispy pork skin and naem (fermented pork meat).
Unfortunately it’s a mixed bag. While the grilled giant river prawn brims with perfectly yolky fat and the flat fettuccini-style papaya tastes deliciously fresh, some side dishes fall short of the same standard. The cab moo (pork crackling) tastes a little stale, while the somtum plara (papaya with fermented fish, B85) is way too sour. The signature kai yang ton tamrab (grilled chicken marinated in coconut milk and herbs, B345/whole, B205/half) is another let-down thanks to very dry meat. The soup dishes like tom zaap graduk on (pork cartilage in spicy soup, B175) are also overpowered by excessive salt and sweet seasoning.
But we do have good memories of the food here, too. Their namtok khor moo (grilled pork neck salad with spicy herbs, B125), for example, offers well-rounded flavors and tender, aromatic meat, while the pak ped thod (deep-fried duck beak, B145) is perfectly fried and crispy.
We also love the desserts: from the super-creamy coconut ice cream (B75) served with a huge set of toppings, to the jumba (shaved ice on Thai bread topped with either red syrup or Milo, B185) sourced from The Commons’ kakigori specialist Maygori—well worth saving space for.
If Tum Thonglor can fix some of its patchy dishes and offer a more consistent level of quality, they’ll definitely be on to a winner as Thonglor’s best place to hunt down Isaan food without getting soaked with sweat or rain. Corkage charge B200.
This review took place in July 2016 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.