Looking for a view? I found it. At least one of them, in an overpopulated high-rise Bangkok with far to many cars. I had invited two of my good friends out. What a view, Romy said and looked at the famous Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn) on the far bank of Chao Phraya River. To blend, Awy responded and took him back to real time Bangkok. Late evening. Dinner time and the colorful dishes on the table.
In other words, he implied, food comes second. You know, it´s not always about the food, Romy continued. I disagreed, but quietly. He was my guest. And I had already pushed my margins by a bad choice on transportation to take them here. And of course, sometimes you want the setting, the scene, those things that can change a conversation, not just the usual wobbly metal table and some red or blue plastic chairs in the middle of a round-a-bout. True! But 20:30, after a few hours of walking, including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, I really wanted a variety of good food. And there was a minor highlight for the stomach at Arun Residence as well, the well seasoned Plah Koong (shrimp salad). If not, there would have been no review. You need to deliver on something to get me interested. And for me, nailing it down to one element, it´s always about food. It´s what you swallows. But a nice view, it sure makes it better.
Half an hour earlier. We choose, or more precisely I took them to Arun Residence for the evening, a resto that sombody had whispered in my ear some time ago as a very nice option. I was on my way to Europe in a couple of days and I thought it was the time to give my good friends something special so I flagged down a taxi at the BTS-station Saphin Taksin, which of course was the wrong move. A Boat-Taxi (that has the arriving pier next to Arun Residence) would have done the same distance in 10 minutes instead of the more than half an hour that we spent in the two taxies as the first one was sacked as he didn’t have a clue about directions. Sometimes, all the knowledge you acquire a bit later than needed comes handy. At least I could use it for my review.
Anyway, the Residence is a renovated Sino-Portuguese river house nestled alongside the Chao Phraya River that cuts trough the city. The residence is classic seventeenth century Thai architecture. The small boutique hotel has a few bedrooms/suits, a restaurant called The Deck By The River where we were sitting next to the river and the bar Amorosa on the top floor. The Deck overlooks the river and the famous Wat Arun on the far bank; a beautiful scenary for a lunch or dinner, preferable dinner as the dark always does good to the Temple of Dawn.
The Deck serves 120 seats in several rooms and they’re also more than happy to organize your private party as you wish. Charming? Yes, it is. Quiet? Yes, it is. And the service is fine, but things happens when you ask for it, not upfront but that is the going rate in Bangkok. For me the importance lies with what you fill your stomach with, but I admit, sometimes you need to think of those that gives you the income to fill your belly as well. The Deck By The River is a proper place for representation. Expect around 1000+ per person incl. drinks.
If you have spent some time at Grand Palace or What Pho near by during daytime, or you have been walking around in the neighborhood for some time, taking in the scenery, you’re most likely very thirsty and/or hungry. Then it´s worth stopping as a relaxing treat to your eyes. But don’t expect to much food wise. The food are adapted to foreigners, so to repeat my friend Awy, it´s to blend. The balance in the seasoning has been missed out. That said, they had a good Plah Koong (Thai style shrimp salad). The other dishes including a curry, some langoustines, som tam etc. was rather mediocre. If the kitchen had improved, it would be a perfect spot, but until then it´s the Phla Koong and the view.
On the other hand, the bar Amorosa is worth while going to enjoy the sunset. A great view. Some decent cocktails. They have an extensive list of cocktails from 175-250 B, the usual spirits by the glass and a decent lust of beers, soft drinks, fruit juices, coffees etc.
Name: Arun Residence (Including the restaurant The Deck By The River and the bar Amorosa)
Food: Thai (adapted to serve western tastebuds), some western dishes.
Opening Hour: Mon-Thurs. 11:00am to 10:00pm, Fri-Sun 11:00am to 11:00pm
Address: 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong Maharat Road, 10200 Bangkok
How to get there: Walk out the southern exit of Wat Pho, turn right (west) and walk along Soi Chetuphon, across Maharat Rd and down the red-paved Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong (Sometimes written Nokyung) to the river. Past the charismatic old Chinese godowns, or warehouses, overlooking the Chao Phraya river, is the Arun Residence: http://www.arunresidence.com