Friday 20 November 2015

Erawan Tea Room Thai Buffet ~ Erawan Bangkok

Many may think that having a buffet in Bangkok is kind of silly.

"Buffet? Really?"
"Bangkok is all about street food! Are you crazy?"

Yeah, we thought we were too.

Our visit to Erawan was fueled by LC's sister who mentioned they serve amazing Thai food. With a bit of research, it turns out that Erawan serves an ala-carte buffet lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea sets. For the less-of-a-glutton, there are ala-carte items available all day as well as lunch and dinner sets at different price ranges.

Erawan's menu is available here.

The dim-lit, colonial styled restaurant gave out relaxing vibes with oldies music playing faintly in the background. I could imagine having tea here to be a pleasant experience while overlooking the Erawan Shrine and the hustle and bustle of the city.

Instead, these two gluttons were here for a pig-out session.

Let's see the results :D


The Awesome
Awesome because these amazing tasting items are a must try!

Strangely, the best items we had on the menu were the drinks. The drinks are actually available in smaller glasses but we never seem to remember that. But, full-sized drinks means that there's more to go around!

My Thai Milk Tea was super fragrant and kaw but wonderfully balanced with just enough evaporated milk and condensed milk. LC's Pineapple Blended Juice was fresh and smoothly blended, better than any Slurpee-like concoction I've ever drank.

Our second round of drinks were both fruit blends - a Rose Apple (Jambu Air) Blended Juice and a Coconut Blended Juice. The Rose Apple was quite the surprise. In Malaysia, an ice-blended Jambu Air drink is unheard of but this beautiful mix of fragrant and sweet makes me feel like it should be a trend! Maybe Malaysian Jambu Air isn't sweet enough. 

The Coconut Blended Juice of coconut flesh, coconut milk and coconut water was amazingly refreshing. It would beat Klebang Coconut Shake hands-down. Not that I'm a fan of Klebang Coconut Shake to begin with.

“Satay Gai”
Chicken Satay, Toast, Peanut Sauce

Even though these sticks of meat didn't have as much burn as Malaysian satay, the marinade had seeped right through the meat giving it lots of flavor without needing the extra char. The chicken was also tender and went well with the slightly spicy smooth peanut sauce. We had many plates of this until... LC spotted the pork satay on the menu.

“Satay Moo” 
Pork Satay, Toast, Peanut Sauce

The darker meat of the two satay turned out just as good, if not better. The herbs and spices seemed to match the tender cubes of pork more and there was not the slightest bit of 'porky' smell that I complain about ever so often. The receipt may only show 2 plates of satay ordered but we ordered at least 3-4 plates during our eating stint.

“Yam Som O”
Spicy Pomelo Salad, Shrimp

I've heard from a friend of a Thai friend that Thai food should always have all 4 flavors - Sweet, sour, spicy and salty. This spicy pomelo salad was all that. Piquant and appetizing, it was to be a repeat order if our tummies did not protest at the lack of space.

“Tom Yam Goong”
Spicy and Sour Prawn Soup, Lemongrass

The clear soup was saturated with prawn flavor as prawn eggs floated about peeled prawns, mushrooms and fresh herbs. This was absolutely delightful though us steel-tongued people would have liked a little more heat.

“Choo Chee Pla”
Crispy Red Dorade, Red Curry Paste, Coconut Cream

We had no expectations with this dish as it was just something we ordered on a whim. It turned out to be a surprisingly good choice. The fish was crispy and fresh while the creamy, sweet and spicy red curry was fragrant and ever so tasty. Together, it was a delicious match.

Sherbet - Tangerine, Mango, Lime and Lemongrass 

I admit I was definitely greedy when I ordered every sherbet flavor on the menu. The waitress had to confirm my order twice - she was probably in disbelief. Packed with blended fruit, our favorites were the Mango and the Lemongrass (I don't usually like Lemongrass by the way) but do try them all!

Thai Milk Tea Ice Cream 

The excellent Thai Milk Tea set the expectations for the Thai Milk Tea ice-cream and Erawan really delivered. Smooth and creamy, it wowed us though we didn't have any more stomach space for another scoop.


The Okay
Good, but not excellent.

"Tord Mun Pla Krai"
Deep-fried Fish Fritters, Cucumber, Peanut Sauce

Also known as Fried Thai Fish Cake, I expected them to taste amazing as these were a Thai-specialty but they tasted rather normal as though it came out of my own kitchen. 

“Massama Nua” 
Beef Massaman Curry, Potato, Peanut

As per the description, I actually found peanuts at the bottom of the curry. The tender beef was melting off the bone but the overly sweet curry was a turn-off. If it was less sweet, it would have made it to the 'Awesome' list because the curry was creamy and rather flavorful.

“Kuay Tiew Moo Nam Tok”
Rice Noodles, Pork, Pork Ball, Thick Gravy

Some carbs finally? I've always liked Thai Kuey Teow because it was a thinner and springier version of the Malaysian Kuey Teow. The rice noodles at Erawan were just that! The pork meatballs had no 'porky' smell but the letdown in this dish was the soup. Even after a shower of condiments from the little green pots, we couldn't add flavor to the bland soup.

“Hor Mok Pla”
Steamed Curried Fish Soufflé, Banana Leaf Cups

The steamed fish paste was another Thai-specialty similar to the Malaysian Otak-otak. I expected a fragrant mixture of fish and herbs but it turned out to be rather bland. Texture-wise, it was a little mushy so it wasn't very appetizing.

“Lord Chong Pheauk Nam Kati”
Chendol Dumplings, Taro, Iced Coconut Syrup

This variation of Thai Cendol was nice and springy, with a flavorful milky syrup. The yam seemed a bit out of place and was hard.


The Disappointing
The only description I would have for the items listed here are - stomach fillers.

"Goong Tord Kratiem Prik Thai”
Deep-fried Prawns, Garlic, Pepper

The description for this dish was quite misleading. The deep-fried prawns turned out to be stir-fried prawns in garlic, pepper and some thickened chicken stock. Even though the prawns were quite large and fresh, it was rather plain.

“Khao Phad Goong”
Fried Rice, Prawns

More carbs! With a choice of prawns, chicken or pork, we picked a mix of pork and prawns but it ended up with just prawns oops. We expected the fried rice to have nice wok hei but there was none and it was severely lacking flavor.

“Kai Jiew Nua Poo”
Thai Omelette, Crabmeat

It the words of LC - "Where is my crab?"

“Kana Moo Krob”
Stir-fried Kailan, Crispy Pork

The waitress kept recommending this dish so we expected some well-fried stir-fry. However, the kailan had old fibrous stems and the crispy siew yoke pork was nowhere crispy, the meat tough with a really 'porky' smell.

Coconut Ice-cream

In the Land of Coconut Ice-cream, we expected the coconut ice-cream at Erawan to be excellent but it was not as creamy and fragrant as we had expected. The ice-cream was rather icy and sadly, I didn't get any other coconut ice-cream while in Bangkok.

As they don't serve water besides bottled water, we order a small pot of green tea to help digestion (I doubt it helped much). It was a Twinings tea bag so no comments on that.

I wished I had extra stomach space to try all the blended juice, especially the Cantaloupe Melon, Mango and Lychee and also more plates of Pomelo Salad! After the satisfying meal, we had a much-needed 15 minute walk back to Novotel Ploenchit.

Erawan Tea Room is located on the 2nd floor of Erawan Bangkok Boutique Mall, just a few steps away from Chit Lom BTS Station. Getting there is amazingly easy.

Despite all the talk of Bangkok being the land of excellent street food, I daresay that Erawan has changed our mindset. Good quality Thai food can be found without camping by the railway tracks or by the roadside. Erawan has proven just that.

Reviews can be found at LoLo-Eatable, Bangkok Wow and Trip Advisor.