Dining in Thailand, Genesis, Grappino, Hannisha, Heights Cafe

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Hualampong Food Station

Hualampong was moved recently to its present location and the owners dismantled the whole place and re-erected it on the new lot, so it looks, and in fact is, the same as it was before.

The main seating area is still an ocean of bamboo and Thai cloth; the tung (flags) to bring good luck still float above; on the floor seating is still available, and fun, up on the gallery; there’s still traditional music from 8 pm-10 pm, and the food is as good as it ever was.

The tab waan mu (spicy pork liver salad) is surprisingly mild, but the meat is very fresh with a satisfying aftertaste.

The seua rong hai (spicy beef) is delicious — juicy meat with a barbecue flavor given an extra tang by being marinated in a special sauce (‘’Oh, we can’t describe it, it has so many ingredients’’) for about 30 minutes.

The gai na yang (roast chicken) is also marinated in a special sauce, only this time for one day, and these juices flow out of it as you chew. Lovely on its on its own, it goes perfectly with the accompanying spicy sweet sauce.

Hualampong offers great Thai food at very reasonable prices, and if you didn’t check it out in its last incarnation, you should make sure you do so this time around.

Hot Chilies

With a name like Hot Chillies, you’d expect a restaurant to offer some dishes that will raise your blood pressure somewhat and it’s true here. It’s not all hot stuff in here but there’s enough to satisfy anyone wanting a good dose of sinus-clearing Thai food.

Actually, the menu is divided up into an almost equal number of spicy and non-spicy dishes. Also, the menu features food from all four regions of Thailand: the Northeast, South, North and Central. There’s seven to nine dishes from each region and they focus on area favorites giving the menu a wide variety of choices.

There are also sections reserved for rice, noodles and vegetables and, of course, desserts. Two of the noodle dishes are designated as very spicy as are two of the rice dishes and the rest are mild. Not all of the dishes here are great but most of them are done fairly competently and the concept of different foods from around the country is interesting. Worth a stop in sometime.


Homework is an exercise in light, airy spaces as the walls facing the road are floor-to-ceiling glass through which you can see the young professional crowd with faces from as far apart as the West, the Middle-East and Asia.

High tables with a crisp, clean Japanese feel occupy half the ground floor, while a smaller relaxing/smoking/eating area on a lower level is made up of arty, low-hung tables and chairs that point to the restaurant’s previous incarnation as a furniture shop.

The fried spicy ham and chicken parcel makes an excellent starter and a delightful mixture of east and west, with Chinese style pasty covering big chunks of ham, chicken, fresh asparagus, shredded cabbage and cheese. A great main course is the penne with lobster tomato sauce. This is very home-style Italian cooking, nicely arranged with a thin covering of parmesan cheese. The fish is sizeable and satisfying and the tomato sauce is interestingly creamy.

Homework, though, is most famous for its desserts (and there’s another outlet selling cakes in the Emporium). Try the raspberry butter cake. It’s very rich and slightly salty, but the accompanying double cream calms the whole thing down.

Ho Ho Hong Kong Kitchen

This is a Cantonese-style restaurant but with an emphasis on serving food as it is prepared in Hong Kong, and with an emphasis on less expensive Cantonese dishes, although shark’s fin and abalone are also available.

The attraction here, though, is more with dishes like congee, and the large section of the menu devoted to this popular porridge preparation is proof in itself, as there are 17 different variations included here, including five different abalone treatments.

Another reason to come here is the fact that there are a number of unique dishes that probably aren’t available elsewhere such as a shrimp dish served inside of an edible deep-fried taro basket. The large shrimps are deep-fried in a very light mixture, which may be cornstarch based, so that there’s a crunchiness to the coating and then a mayonnaise sauce is lightly applied. The result is delicious and reason enough alone to visit.

Try this place for dinner and you’ll find it to be somewhat quiet but don’t let that fool you. The largest part of the trade here is during lunch when the many business people in the area come in for their favorite Hong Kong treats. And if you’re walking on the street, you can be served by their ground-floor outlet that displays ducks hanging in the window.

Heights Cafe

The Heights Cafe is aptly named since it’s on one of the upper floors of the Pan Pacific Hotel and offers diners a beautiful view of Lumpini Park among other sights as you look north and east from the Rama IV side of the hotel. It’s a relaxing place, many trees gracing the outskirts oif the dining area and a traditional Thai khim player adding to the background.

This is a buffet room and it presents diners with a large selection of Thai and international foods at lunch and dinner and a primarily Western breakfast. there’s also a special midnight menu of Chinese congee since the restaurant is open 24 hours.

This buffet is large but not unmanageably so as some tend to be. You’ll find a seafood table with sushi, sashimi, smoked salmon and other items, a cold cuts table with terrines, salami, ham and pickles and a very well-stocked salad bar. This all leads up to the hot entrees and the soups and dim sum. The hot section has both Thai and western foods containing both seafood and meat and also some pasta. There’s a also a complete Thai noodle station and a large dessert table. It’s all here and in an atmosphere you’ll find relaxing and enjoyable.

Hard Rock Cafe

One of the more well-known club names across the world, Hard Rock has been entertaining guests here in Bangkok for about seven years now and is still going as strong as ever. Get here early on most nights if you want to sit downstairs and listen to the music, otehrwise you won’t get a seat.

The Hard Rock isn’t all rock and roll, although that’s an important part of what’s here. Food is a big reason to visit as well as the live music and the great rock and roll memorabilia that’s displayed on the walls.

If you love looking at old concert posters from the 60s and 70s as well as guitars and gold records, then this is the place for you. And, if you like eating large portions of American food like burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken and the like, then this is the place for you, too. Try the Pig sandwich, the burgers, some of the Tex-Mex food or just about anything else on this menu and you’re sure to be satisfied since the list of favorites here is too long to mention.

There’s live rock and roll every night here with bands from all over coming to play. The one constant is that they all play classic favorites and the crowd really gets into it,so get ready to have a good time when you get here.


This small Indian restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 22 is an interesting place to check out if you’re looking for some Indian food that’s a little different. Most of the menu is pretty standard northern Indian fare but there are some dishes here that will surprise you a little.

We tried the onion bahjia, for example, that we hadn’t seen anywhere else and was very good, reminding us of traditional onion rings. The cream of spinach soup was also good, even though it was thin, with a slight taste of clove that made it very tasty. The bharwa shimla mirch was also a new one for us and was basically a dish of stuffed bell peppers, though very tasty peppers at that.

We also tried a fish tikka that was moist and flaky, just the way it should be. If the rest of this large menu is as good as the items mentioned above, then you’ll be safe trying anything. And there is quite a selection here, including a complete variety of murgs, vindaloos and plenty of tandoori and curry dishes. Appetizers, breads, soups and salads are also well represented, so if you come here you’ll get a well-rounded Indian dining experience.


Hamilton’s Restaurant, located in the Dusti Thani Hotel, is a traditional sort of Continental restaurant with a decor to match. Letather and wood predominate here as well as banquettes and there’s also a raised, private dining area. The overall feeling is one of sophistication and class.

As well as a varied Continental menu, Hamilton’s real specialty is steaks. The menu is rather simple, consisting of six appetizers, three soups, six entrees and nine selections from the charcoal grill which are dominated by six steaks. You’ll find steaks from all over, too: Kobe beef from Japan, Aberdeen Angus from Scotland, Australian filet mignon and a ribeye, T-bone and sirloin from the U.S.

The use of a charcoal grill gives the meat that backyard barbecue taste and the chefs are proficient in its use. The rest of the menu is all done well also as you would expect from a five-star hotel, but the steaks are the real attraction here.


Italian food is certainly enjoying a great deal of popularity in Bangkok now and with restaurants like Grappino it’s no wonder why. This place has been here for over six years, making it one of the first serious Italian restaurants in town and it’s had its ups and downs over the years. However, a recent remodeling and a good chef have both helped to put Grappino back on the map again.

The modern, yet comfortable, decor will put you at ease during the day and provide you with a bit of a romantic atmosphere at night. The menu does the rest.

As with many Italian restaurants now, Grappino likes to take classic dishes and reinterpret them in their own way. Some places aren’t very suiccessful at it, and while Grappino may not pull off 100% of the time, they do it enough to be considered one of the best in town.

A recent visit proved this point when dishes like beef carpaccio, a Jerusalem artichoke soup, an artichoke salad and a roasted seabass were sampled. The Jerusalem artichokle soup and regualr artichoke salad were specials, so don’t look for them all the time. It’s too bad, because they were both delicious. However, the carpaccio and seabass were both great also and they’re always available. A large selection of dishes covering pastas, pizzas, meats, seafood and more is here to choose from.

There’s also a good wine list with decent wines by the glass, eight to be exact, and some excellent tiramisu for dessert. Try this long-time Italian eatery and you’ll enjoy its new look and taste.

Golden Dragon

One of our favorite types of food is Szechwan Chinese but it’s almost impossible to find in Bangkok. However, a few places here and there offer some Szechwan dishes and one of them is here. There are also some more Cantonese-style dishes that have been modified to a more spicy taste as well.

As you walk in you’ll be reminded by the decor of any other middle of the road Cantonese place but the similarity ends there. The menu is large and varied and includes all of the traditional Chinese favorites in addition to their specialty dishes.

Some favorites dishes include the hot and sour soup; the fish in lemon, garlic and chili, the scallops in XO sauce (a special sauce made from dried scallops) the sauteed soft shell crab, spicy bean curd, prawn wontons, and the hot chicken and hot prawn plates. Also, a signature dish of the house, the aomatic duck, must be tried. This is a thrice-cooked duck dish that ends up crispy and delicious. And, the aforementioned hot and sour soup is probably the best in Bangkok.


Genesis changed its focus recently from emphasizing its restaurant side to its bar side. They’re still serving Italian food but the menu’s slimmed down a little, allowing them to concentrate on making the remaining items as good as possible. And they seem to be doing that, too, as their pizzas and pastas are all worth trying.

Some of the favorites here include a salmon fettucine, the carbonara and also an interesting lasagna. Appetizers like beef carpaccio and baked baby clams with cheese are also worth trying as is the deep fried calamari.

There’s a large selection of pizza also, at least eight varieties, and several salads, with a Caesar leading the way. The portions are plentiful and the prices reasonable, too.

The music is the focus here now, though, as there is a mix of recorded and live music every night. The music varies between the latest dance tracks to pop favorites and the band starts every night about 9:30, with DJs handling things until then.

In the cool months you can sit outside in the front yard and watch the bustle on Soi 11 while you listen to music from inside and enjoy your favorite drink.