During my stay at the amazing 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, I had the privilege of sampling some of the remarkable culinary offerings in its restaurants. As detailed in my earlier review, 137 Pillars House is a cosy boutique resort, converted from a grand mansion originally built in the 1880’s. Due to its unique structure, the dining spaces in the resort spell warmth, intimacy and cosiness in almost every corner.
The restaurants and bars are located in the main building and they flow into each other in a very borderless fashion, much like in a residence where the parlour merges into the dining hall adjoining the wine cellar and next to the bar.
Walking up the steps into the wooden main building, The Parlor greets you with its low comfortable armchairs and sofas propped with blue-themed cushions.
Overlooking the pristine lawn, The Parlor is a perfect spot for some refreshments or even Afternoon Tea.
On a cool evening, it’s just bliss to enjoy its “open air” concept, breathing in the fresh air blown in through the rustling leaves all around while relaxing with a drink or two. During the evenings, there’s also a pianist there to entertain guests.
JACK BAIN’S BAR
Behind The Parlor is the Jack Bain’s Bar – a warm elegant enclave. Rows of wooden shelves line the walls holding books on history, mysteries and culture. There’s also a good selection of DVDs and CDs available or how about a game or two of chess?
I can’t help lingering in this super comfortable “study-like” charming bar … great place to unwind. The bar also has the flexibility to transform into a private space for group events like a wine-pairing dinner, a family reunion etc. As for me, I found it to be the perfect place for some drinks before heading to The Palette Restaurant for dinner.
THE PALETTE RESTAURANT
Just across the bar, The Palette Restaurant beckons. This is where Executive Chef Thiti Thammanatr flexes his creativity on new items to add to the menu. With more than 30 years’ experience under his belt, Chef Thiti just took over the reins in 137 Pillars House’ kitchens
in July as Executive Chef. Prior to this posting, he has cheffed in Canada, Thailand, Singapore and several years in Kuala Lumpur with Tamarind Springs.
At The Palette Restaurant, we got to taste some of Chef Thiti’s creations. Describing his food as “global hybrid”, Chef Thiti explained how he loved to combine his broad range of culinary styles to create his dishes using two or more ingredients with different cooking techniques.
“Cooking is like fashion to me. It evolves and changes every season. My creation is based on the forward thinking of food on what the next season is going to be like” – Chef Thiti Thammanatr
THE DINING ROOM
This is our favourite dining place in 137 Pillars House. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Dining Room is stylish, cosy and relaxing. I love those diaphanous drapes hanging from the ceiling that give certain tables a hint of privacy and generally provide a soft and romantic air to the place.
The diverse and accommodating menu offers a good variety of classic Thai dishes (most of them meant to be shared) prepared with fresh organic ingredients harvested from local farms. It was drizzling the few times we were there or else we would have opted to sit at the al fresco courtyard surrounded by lush greenery.
The breakfast spread may not be very extensive but the variety featured delicious local Thai fares as well as western favourites. Hot local dishes like stir-fried vegetables, fried rice or noodles, braised chicken, rice congee, dim sum were served side by side with cheeses, salads, cereals, pastries, breads, waffles and the mandatory egg station.
I loved the beefy soup noodles which were prepared upon order in piping hot tasty broth accompanied with bouncy beef and pork balls. It was so good that I ordered another bowl of just the broth, meatballs and soft sweet daikon.
I got to indulge more on their Thai specialities at lunch from the a la carte menu. Flavours were generally stronger and richer as Northern Thai food leaned more to Lanna style with generous use of coconut milk. When in Chiang Mai, the must-try item is Kao Soy which is a bowl of yellow egg noodles, half soft and half crispy, soaked in a rich curry broth with meat or seafood. Kao Soy is sold everywhere in Chiang Mai from restaurants to street peddlers.
The menu at The Dining Room is pretty extensive but we could only manage to check out the above few as portions were big. Service was impeccable – quick, attentive and ever-smiling.
Whether you stay there as a guest or not, dining at 137 Pillars House is a lovely experience. Besides the variety of food offered, the old-world charming ambience together with the attentive and gracious service from their welcoming staff, a dining experience here is bound to be memorable.
137 PILLARS HOUSE
2 soi 1 Nawatgate Road
137 Pillars House is a member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” which groups together 520 smaller hotels across 80 countries – these are like the “Wish List of Special Places”. If you are choosy about staying in more personal type of luxurious boutique hotels where top-notch service and quality is unquestionable, check out the special gems in www.slh.com