Dining in Thailand, Imageries By The Glass, Himali Cha Cha, Les Nympheas, Kongju

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Himali Cha Cha

Himali Cha Cha has not only one of the longest histories here in Bangkok for an Indian restaurant but also one of the most interesting. Khun Govit, the current operator of the two restaurants that bear the name of the original restaurant started by his father about 20 years ago, related the story to us recently and, between the great food and the story of his father’s sojourns around the world, provided us with a very enjoyable evening. In short, his father, Indian-born, ran away to Bombay at age 13 and started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant.

He gradually worked his way up to be the assistant chef and came to the attention of the great statesman Nehru who brought him into his household to cook. There he met many statesmen and diplomats, one of them being Lord Mountbatten, the Englishman administering the British Raj in India at the time. He ended up with Lord Mountbatten and was asked by him to accompany him when he returned to England. He decided to stay in India but traveled and eventually ended up in Bangkok where Himali Cha Cha’s original location off New Road was opened.

Now also on Sukhumvit Soi 35 in larger quarters, the restaurants continue to turn out some of the finest Indian food we’ve yet experienced in the city. Visit it for any variation of this cuisine whether you like curries, tandoor, vindaloo or any of a host of others. Make sure you try the chicken kashmir, though, as it’s superb and the tandoors are all moist and tender and well worth ordering also as is the cheese naan, a unique dish in its own right. Actually, we could say that about anything here so stop in and have a great meal at one of the more interesting and storied places in the city.

Les Nympheas

With the continued wave of new Italian restaurant openings and the closings of several high-profile French dining rooms as of late, it might seem like French cuisine in Bangkok is taking a back seat to its European cousin from Italy. However, at least one dining spot in the city is continuing to champion French cuisine in a major way and that is Les Nympheas in the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel.

Having said that, however, it must be noted that the food at Les Nympheas is not simple, provincial French fare or haute cuisine but rather something quite different from either of these disciplines.

Chef Mark Bowen and his crew produce a delicious mix of dishes that could be thought of as French but are really not strict traditional interpretations by any means. They‘re even using a few Thai ingredients that lend a small element of fusion cuisine, but at a very minimal level. The results are elegant and tasteful as well as very tasty. The menu is small but well-planned and presents a number of traditional dishes — mussels marinieres, leek and potato soup, confit of duck — along with more contemporary offerings — ricotta and walnut encrusted veal fillet, rare grilled tuna. And there’s a good selection of U.S. and Australian steaks including a ribeye, sirloin, filet and T-bone.

The decor of Les Nympheas provides a perfect backdrop for the beautiful paintings on display as silver and teak are highlighted colors that blend with the polished wood floors, silk upholstery and multicolored cushions to create an atmosphere of sophistication and casual elegance.

The wine list is fairly comprehensive and not outrageously priced with a good mix of both French and new world wines. Actually, all of the prices here are in the reasonable range with most of the main courses between 280 and 450 baht, surely a good value for money, and another reason to visit this interesting and unique restaurant that’s helping to keep alive the spirit of French cuisine in Bangkok.


The interior of Kongju has a clean, simple look featuring teak wood accented by cleverly placed spot lighting. It’s a long room with windows on one side looking out over Chulalongkorn University, although there will be an addition to the restaurant opening soon which will greatly expand the seating capacity past its current total of 100. It’s a good thing too, because on weekends the place is very full and you’re only assured of getting a table if you book one.

The reason is the food here which is quite delicious and also reasonably priced. You can enjoy great barbecued meats here as the Koreans have their own style of cook-your-own food with a BBQ setup built into each table that includes a ventilation system so there’s not a trace of smoke anywhere in the restaurant.

Start your meal with some of the 50 varieties of Kim Chee available and go from there. Korean food is quite varied and also very healthy for those of you who are conscious of your waist line. Most of the food is grilled and there are lots of fresh vegetables that are used in many of the dishes also. The BBQ favorites are beef, prawns, spare ribs and salmon, all of which are marinated first before you cook them yourself.


Kisso’s relaxing interior is elegant, reserved and well-designed with a teppanyaki area tucked into the back of the restaurant, a sushi bar at one side and a number of private rooms in the traditional style. Black laquer is prominent and the furniture is very comfortable.

Kisso has a large selection of cooking styles and many items available in each style. The sashimi and sushi portions of the menu are comprised of seafood caught both in Thai waters as well as Japanese and contain all of the traditional offerings you would expect and a great deal more. Teppanyaki is also well represented with both Kobe beef from Japan and U.S. beef.

You’ll also find shabu shabu and sukiyaki as well as many rice, noodle, fried, grilled and vinegared dishes. A good wine list is also here. Prices are what you’d expect at any good Japanese restaurant.

Khao Gub Kaeng

Khao Gub Kaeng is a brand new restaurant (as of May 10) that has opened in the Emporium next to the Starbucks space on the second level. Owned by the people behind the Kannicha Thai restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 11, this unpretentious looking place has put together a great menu of traditional, authentic Thai food.

Although we visited on the very first day of operation, the food was still almost perfect. All three of our dishes were delicious and we have to believe that the rest of the menu will be the same. Our lunch consisted of spicy crispy morning glory leaves, spicy sweet and sour soup with cha-om omelette and shrimp, and pan-fried stuffed squid with blended herbs and chili. It’s hard to say which we liked best. Maybe the morning glory leaves, which were really crisp and came with little pieces of fried garlic along with some shrimps and a little pork.

All of the dishes here are between 80 and 110 baht so it’s more expensive than the corner noodle shop but a lot less than many places that don’t have nearly as good food. The menu has a lot of variety with noodles, salads, curries and a lot of other varieties also. It’s a convenient place to go while shopping or before the movies and the atmosphere is very relaxed. For delicious, authentic Thai food at reasonable prices, this is one place you should try.


Kannicha is a quaint-looking restaurant placed inside of a Thai house set back from the soi down a small lane. The atmosphere is bright and cheerful here as two of the walls are completely glass providing a view of the small garden area outside. Light-colored walls complete the effect and the end result is comfortable and inviting.

Dishes here appear to be from a number of different regions of the country althuogh the central region is the most well represented. Starters like chor muang, little purple-colored, flower-shaped dumplings that were stuffed with minced pork and la thieng which are desribed as an egg net filled with coriander, garlic and a mixture of ground pork and shrimp are both worth trying. The mee grob is even better, with just the right amount of sweetness and crispiness to the noodles.

Try also the fried pork ribs and red curry chicken. The ribs, marinated in garlic and pepper and the red curry chicken are both extremely good. And you’ll be served three different varieties of steamed rice: saffron, regular white and pandanus, giving the dish a multi-colored look.

It’s a large menu with 25 appetizers alone as well as 23 salads. You’ll also find plenty of other soups, spicy dishes, stir-fried selections and also a vegetarian section. Prices are quite reasonable here, giving diners a good value for their money and making Kannicha a worthwhile destination when you’re in search of a good meal in pleasant surroundings.

Kalpapruek On First

Not many restaurants in Bangkok have successfully married a western and eastern menu together. but one that has certainly done it is Kalpapruek On First. This is a branch of the venerable Kalpapruek restaurant which has been on Silom for 25 years serving delicious Thai food to well-heeled diners.

We can vouch for at least two soups from the Western side of the menu: the leek-potato and the pot-au-feu. The leek potato is well done, but the pot-au-feu is outstanding, with probably the best beef broth in Bangkok.

On the Thai side, try the hot eggplant and the spicy catfish salad among many others. Both are outstanding and the eggplant dish is truly unique. Everything that we’ve had here so far has been definitely worth the money which is another facet to this great place — value for money. The prices here are very reasonable and the portions are quite generous. This is a place that you could go to more than once a week and not worry about your pocketbook.


Janis opened recently (May 9) and offers delicious Thai food mixed with a few European dishes. They know what they’re doing here because only a day after opening the food was of a very high quality and prepared and presented well.

This is a very attractively designed restaurant with many separate areas all connected together cleverly. There’s a greenhouse-type room, an outdoor seating area, a lounge, a outdoor deck upstairs and several other rooms with varying degrees of privacy. You could eat here seven or eight times and have a different atmosphere each time.

We sampled several dishes, starting with raw salmon with spicy sauce, which also included fresh garlic slices and small chili peppers which made an interesting and delicious combination. Also good was the som tum-like fruit salad and the hot and spicy soup (pla salit). Our favorite may have been the soft shell crab which came with little fried garlic chips and was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. We also enjoyed the stir-fried ostrich with chili and fresh pepper. This is a much nicer way to eat this tasty and healthful meat.

The large menu contains everything from pastas to curries and soups to spicy salads as well as a section entitled “Interesting Eggs” which did look interesting. Next time we’ll try something from it and there will be a next time because this place has a lot going for it: great food and a great atmosphere.


This European eatery is set in an old-style Thai house, the downstairs featuring a beautiful wood-dominated bar area and the upstairs the dining room. There’s also a library area on the ground floor where guests can relax in a quieter setting and an outdoor patio seating area.

The menu is not large but provides enough variety for almost anyone. The nine main dishes are almost equally divided between seafood and meat containing dishes like poached tuna, a rib-eye steak, braised lamb, pot-au-feu, duck breast, roast cockerel, calamari and cockle risotto and a sea bream in a garlic soup which will be our next order when we return.

We can recommend, however, the roast salmon which contains a little vanilla flavoring in the sauce and is accompanied by some spicy elbow macaroni. Also a cool yet spicy gazpacho soup and an avocado/crab appetizer that has a hazelnut dressing. Prices are reasonable and service good.

Indian Hut

According to General Manager Santosh Kumar, once people have tried the food at India Hut approximately 85% come back again. That’s a pretty high percentage but it’s certainly believable given the quality of the food here.

The menu is almost entirely Northern Indian with tandoor specialties and curries dominating the selections. There’s a large vegetarian section as well as the usual appetizers, breads and soups that you would expect also.

However, there are also a number of dishes that are either hard to find in other places or aren’t available at all. As an example, there’s aloo tikki which are mashed potatoes and spices formed into cutlets and grilled until there’s a bit of a crust on the outside while the inside is moist and chewy.

Three to four new items are gradually introduced on a regular basis creating more variety of dishes from different parts of India.

Imageries By The Glass

This establishment really has two identities: a trendy California-style eatery on one side and an upscale, state-of-the-art listening room on the other.

The restaurant has a large mnenu which is about two-thirds Thai and the rest a mix of international cuisines. The light, airy atmosphere of the room adds to the casual feeling and the modern scope of the dishes offered.

Especially good are some of the Itlaian-based dishes , although it must be said that hte Thai food is of an excellent claiber as well. Try the beef carpaccio or the fried macaroni with a cream sauce of msushrooms and shrimp or any of the other pasta entrees. There’s a good variety of other European dishes as well, equally well done.

The other side of the building is where some of the best music in Bangkok can be heard. The room was designed by musicians so the acoustics and setup are excellent for enjoying music and the state-of-the-art sound and light system adds to the experience. Many recording studio and other top session musicians play here regularly, liking the unique three-story design and the opportunity to play in such a great environment for music. This is a place where you can stay all night for both dining and entertainment.