Vientiane Kitchen Bangkok – Hate the music not the food

Always on the search for good Thai food I was wandering last year a lot around Thong Lo, which is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Bangkok to go out. In this area I stumbled a bit unexpected (at least for me) into the Vientiane Kitchen, which is located somewhat off the regular tracks and the major happening streets. Actually the restaurant should not be a surprise, since it is well known and also covered in many guides about Bangkok.

So as mentioned I read and heard about the place. The conclusion of many of those reviews is “overpriced” and “touristy”. In the same way most of reviews agree on the fact, that the food is great and do actually recommend it. In the end everybody comments on the music as either to loud or “the reason for going there”.

Kind of different opinions here… and what is my position towards the venue? I go there despite the music! The show is interesting, the guys can play some tunes… especially the one (lead?) artist impresses again and again with playing virtuously a whole bunch of weird instruments you most likely never seen or heard of, if you are from the western world. One downside is the main performing girl. She is nice looking but unfortunately lacking a decent singing voice… but sings quite a bit, so she can get a bit annoying. But in general the show is quite interesting and enjoyable.

They play Japanese (the owner is Japanese) and Thai songs from various regions, so you can expect to hear quite different music from what you get an earful in many taxi rides. That is a good thing I guess. And some Japanese groups often applaud loudly with standing ovations after a favorite song from their home.
When it comes to the point where they include some guests in certain dancing performances (eg. dance the moving bamboo logs) it might get funny… so be aware if you are one of the guests ending up on the stage – I will enjoy watching you anyway, hehe.

To conclude the music and performance part, in my experience, the first visit you’ll have a blast with the show. The second time it should be still entertaining and after that it starts to get somewhat annoying.

Also be clear about the fact, that it is kinda noisy. A quite conversation is merely possible and a romantic date is also different in my opinion. Still it is a great experience and even if “touristy” like many complain about, this does not keep me away from visiting the place… over and over.

Coming to the more important part from my point of view, the food. Yes, it is a tad more expensive then the common small Thai food joint. But also not ridiculous tourist expensive. And despite any show, the food alone, regarding value for money, in my opinion is absolutely worth it.

Try the Tom Yam Hed, the steamed Sea-bass in sweet-sour-lemon sauce over open fire (although I had this one time quite weak), the highly recommendable Isan sausages with the small green chilly, the morning glory in fish sauce with chilies. I even like the fried chicken, which I consider usually as boring but here it is in northern style, different from what you’d expect but great in taste. Also many other dishes are standing out, like the Vietnamese clear spring rolls, the pan roasted fish with many condiments to roll in banana leafs or even the deep fried frog (not so many of my friend liked that though).

In the end, I go there for decent Thai food and consider this as a constant good place so far. I would value the price level as fair and not overpriced and I am quite happy with the service and the venue. I would recommend it to other people and actually brought friends visiting Bangkok here. So far, nobody was disappointed.

You find this restaurant very nearby BTS station Thong Lo – exiting the station in direction to the town (where you most likely came from). BTS is not only an easy way to get there, it’s also advisable due to the heavy traffic around Asoke and Thong Lo itself.

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*** Update, 18.12.2013 ***
The last few visits during Nov & Dec 2013 we only experienced mediocre food quality to even further increased price tags. The current state cannot be recommended anymore. Personally I did not take my last visitors to Bangkok to this place anymore – which I liked to do before. Also it needs to be pointed out, the price to quality ratio is not acceptable anymore, even when you do not mind higher tourist price levels.

I will give the place maybe two more tries over the next two months. Let’s hope there is improvement.

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One Response to Vientiane Kitchen Bangkok – Hate the music not the food

  1. Ploy Wantana says:

    Totally agree with you about the music. Excellent review by the way.

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