Thamachat (Thammachat or Tamachart) is the name of a tropical oasis in Phuket town, which farangs and locals have dubbed Natural Restaurant since “thamachat” means “natural” and their Thai food menu is prepared without MSG. But the thatched roof, multilevel terraces, odd nooks and jungle-like ambiance is what sparks curiosity. Even those accustomed to exotic Phuket restaurants find the décor inspiring. Amidst creeping philodendrons, twisting tress and stone fountains is a medley of antiques, log tables, tribal masks & “junk” – a typewriter, goddess sculptures, teddy bears, elephant carvings, an old TV, glass-ball fishing floats, wicker lamps & metal lanterns. Natural Restaurant Phuket Town - on Phutorn Rd. (400m from Ranong Rd.), is open from 9am to midnight.
Mor Mu Dong Phuket Restaurant serves authentic Thai food in thatched huts and private stilted “salas” (traditional open-air shelters) perched over brackish swampland amidst tangled mangroves in eastern Chalong. It’s isolated, extremely rustic and, for the less adventurous, perhaps too authentic for comfort, with seating on wooden sala floors with mats (or in the main hut on plastic chairs), and menu items including insect delicacies. Not surprisingly Mor Mu Dong was featured on Bizarre Foods; yes, it’s the place Andrew Zimmern feasted on leafy greens sautéed with wasp larvae and stingray. It’s also the place for fiery hot red-curry pork & a dish not seen on typical touristy Phuket Thai menu boards: pla pao, a succulently tender salt-encrusted slowly grilled whole fish.
Down an alley along the Chao Phraya River sits Arun Residence; a Sino-Portuguese wooden house (ca.1920), transformed by Dr Piyanuch into a boutique hotel, alfresco restaurant & rooftop bar, with teak furniture & colonial charm. Two terraces offer dramatic views of Wat Arun, and when illuminated at night, the porcelain encrusted pagoda radiates a golden glow across the water. That alone could grant The Deck status amongst the most romantic restaurants in Bangkok, yet the cuisine, if possible, rivals the view with tamarind king crab, pomelo salad, duck confit, New Zealand lamb and desserts like panna cotta lod chong and crème brulée. Exotic vistas, gourmet dishes and old-world Thai grace is reserved for those who can find their way to The Deck Restaurant Bangkok.
Glance up at the letters above the door and you’ll have a hard time figuring out what they mean till you look again, tilt your head and see the letters spell English words! The large “Urban Thai” signage uses the Thai alphabet, but if a Thai person were to read them, they’d have to tilt their head till it falls off because it doesn’t spell anything in Thai. Walk past the wooden door of this Shanghai restaurant and you’ll never know how mouthwatering their authentic Thai food really is. But with over 6,000 Shanghai restaurants, you might be asking, “how do I find authentic Thai cuisine that won’t burn a whole in my stomach or my pocket?” Travelling to Thailand works, but you can’t just hop a plane every time you get the urge for papaya salad. So… step into Urban Thai!