At Ruan Songnaree Restaurant on Sukhumvit 33, each dish on their impressive menu is bursting with those big-hitting sweet, sour and spicy flavours which are all so synonymous with Thai cuisine. Just the way it should be. In the more touristy areas of Bangkok, you’ll often find that some places tend to hold back a bit when it comes to seasoning, in a somewhat misguided effort to appease foreign palates. However, at this modern yet authentic Thai restaurant, this is far from the case.
Inside the spacious Ruan Songnaree Restaurant you’ll find a tranquil and inviting ambiance; a stark contrast to the hectic Sukhumvit Road just a few metres’ walk away. Mood lighting, soothing background music and friendly service all contribute to the pleasant atmosphere. As well as a delivering a successfully authentic (and totally delicious) menu, the restaurant’s décor also helps to create that traditional, old-age Siamese feel, with its various Thai art installations, silk tablecloths and warm wooden tones throughout. Ruan Songnaree translates to the house of two elegant ladies, so no prizes for guessing who the co-owners are.
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Their Tom Yam Kung (250 baht), a quintessential dish of any Thai dinner party, is extravagantly served in a clay pot over a lit flame. This shrimp, tomato and mushroom soup spares no punches with its initial hit of sourness from the lemongrass and satisfying after kick from its fiery chilies. Their signature Red Chicken Curry, which comes served inside a slice of pumpkin, is as spectacular in sight as it is in taste. A creamy and zesty sauce made from Thai chili paste compliments the soft pumpkin and tender chicken particularly well. The moreish Fried Noodles with Seafood or Raad-Na Talay (220 baht) comes with fresh shrimp and cashew nuts- a great alternative if you’re looking for a more extravagant side dish than just plain rice.
For the seafood lovers, be brave and try the melt-in-the-mouth Raw Shrimps with Fish Sauce, or Goong Shae Nam Pla. This increasingly popular Thai appertiser is a little reminiscent of Japanese Sashimi – just the zing here comes from the chili rather than wasabi. The fresh Sea Bass is another highlight, and is served either steamed or fried. We tried the latter, which came with a delightful sweet and sticky tamarind sauce.
The authentic Thai theme at Ruan Songnaree is continued into the desserts with many tried-and-tested classics. Coconut-based sweets are synonymous with Thai cuisine and a great example of this is the sago and black bean in coconut cream for 120 baht. It’s a cool, sweet dessert that has jelly-like sago and slightly harder black beans offering pleasing textures, with coconut cream delivering a lasting sweetness. For something even more exotic go for the black sesame dumpling which is packed with bitter sesame, presented in a mouth-tingling ginger tea. It is a rare find in Bangkok and our personal favourite (120 baht).
The small outside terrace is also a great place to sit and watch the world go by as you sip a cocktail, or try one of the many varieties of wines or beers which the restaurant stocks. There’s enough tables and chairs for couples or solo-diners too, meaning that you can go alfresco if you don’t mind the lack of air-conditioning.
For those looking to give their taste-buds a good work out all whilst enjoying a pleasant, laid back atmosphere, Ruan Songnaree presents a great option. Find it situated about 30 metres up Sukhumvit Soi 33 on the left hand side; it’s easy to spot with its large sign and traditional Thai-style roof and exterior décor. The restaurant is easily accessible from Phrom Phong BTS Skytain Station or from Sukhumvit MRT Station (about 10 minutes).
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – midnight, 7-days a week
- Address: Sukhumvit Soi 33 7/4-5, Bangkok, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 662 2804
- Website: http://www.ruansongnareebangkok.com/