Over the last couple of years Sathorn Sois 10 & 12 have transformed into a one-stop style and food strip with their smart restaurants, hipster coffee joints and artsy vibe. Situated on the opposite side the Sathorn thoroughfare is Suan Phlu; a quiet, under-the radar neighbourhood that’s long attracted a global residential mix due its proximity to embassies, but is firmly off the tourist trail. While it’s yet to offer eateries with the gloss of Rocket Coffeebar
, this laid-back, unpolished stretch is home to a smattering of stellar eat and sip spots frequented by stylish locals and expats. Better yet each is but a few minutes stroll from the other.
For a long time the name Uncle John was whispered among in-the-know Bangkokians who’d discovered the no-frills fine diner tucked on a back soi of Suan Phlu, but were reluctant to shout about it in case it got too popular. Well, word has been out for a few years, and while Uncle John is no longer a secret, this simple shophouse still fires some of the cheapest gourmet food to be found in the Thai capital. Ignore the Tango-orange walled interior, somewhat haphazard service and don’t even think of going to the loo – you’re here to eat. And dine well you will from a menu of French standards (think duck with berry and orange sauce or grilled seabass); recreations of the dishes owner and hotel chef Sanjorn creates during the day, cooked over a single-flame stove.
No reservations, cash only and be prepared to wait especially on weekends.
Loulou Forks & Glasses
Continuing with the Gallic trend is new gal on the block, Loulou. Opened in May this year, this relaxed, simple and chic in/out wine bar and bistro is becoming an after-work go-to for a more leisurely evening of oysters (available most days) and a varied menu of French comfort fare with daily changing specials and affordable pours to pair. Opt for a table on the woody patio when weather permits.
Although raucous, no-nonsense imbiber Junker & Bar
was one of the first international sip spots to open on Suan Phlu, Smalls is the more sophisticated, grown-up iteration. Through the revolving door you go to a vintagey, snug n' swingin' cocktail lair where the pours are anything but (small). Cosy up in a ground-floor nook, or brave the precarious climb to the roof terrace for street views. There’s live jazz on Wednesdays, plus the occasional international DJ set, but don’t arrive until after 10.30pm.
Not the fast food chain, silly, but a terrific, easygoing Italian restaurant, helmed by a real-deal Italian owner. Stripped back and simple, with room for just 10 people, Nando’s serves a diminutive but hearty menu of pastas, pizzas and a few Italian mains just like nonna used to make – perfect carb loading before you hit Smalls.
/ 279/2 Suan Phlu Soi 8 / +66 81 373 3865 / lunch & dinner daily
Loulou Forks & Glasses
/ 459/61 Suan Phlu Soi 8 / +66 83 041 4351 / 5pm-1am Tue-Sat / facebook.com/louloubangkok
/ 186/3 Suan Phlu Soi 1 / +66 95 585 1398 / 7.30pm-2am Wed-Mon / facebook.com/smallsbkk
/ 459/59 Suan Phlu Soi 8 / +66 2 679 4219 / lunch & dinner daily