One of the weirdest things I struggle with as an expat in Bangkok is deciding where to go for Thai food. I realize how strange it sounds – this is Thailand, after all. The food is amazing. I have a whole list of amazing places to eat authentic Thai food. The problem is that the best places to eat authentic Thai food are somewhat lacking in, well, ambiance.
If you want to sit on a plastic stool, sweating under florescent lights and eat some rockin’ som tam for less than two dollars a plate, I’ve got you covered. If you want air conditioning, a leisurely dinner, and a cocktail, I get totally stumped.
So when Frank offered to take me out for dinner on Saturday night before he left for a work trip in Bangladesh (that’s right – he’s in Bangladesh for ten days….and likely sitting in gridlock as I write this), it took some time to think of a spot.
But I wanted ambiance and cocktails and Thai food. I decided we should try Face.
(Apparently they have a spa, too.)
I loved the spot from the moment we walked in. Designed like a group of traditional Thai houses on stilts, filled with candles and koi ponds, we jumped at the chance to get drinks in the bar before dinner.
I had the “Face Cocktail” – a sour, sweet concoction of mint and tamarind. Frank had a gin and tonic (he’s become a G&T connoisseur since we moved to the tropics).
For dinner, they gave us a table in a room with tall, vaulted, wood ceilings and lots of candles.
Dinner started with my favorite Thai-style amuse-bouche. To eat it, you fold betel leaves into cones and fill them with sweet tamarind paste, dried shrimp, peanuts, ginger, coconut, chills, shallots, and slivers of lime. Sounds like a lot, but it is a perfect bite of flavor. And fun to assemble, to boot.
For dinner, we had Frank’s favorite – yam-sam-o. A spicy salad with pomelo, shrimp, and coconut. And minced chicken cakes with chili and kaffir lime.
I also was totally pulled in by the Pad Thai. I order it so rarely in Bangkok, but something about the sweet peanut flavor (that you surely know) was calling my name. I love that skinny egg omelet they put on the top.
I have to be honest. The Thai food at Face couldn’t compete with my plastic stool, florescent-lit spot down the block. But the cocktails, candles, and company were hard to beat.
29 Soi 38 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok