Thai Lao Yeh : Refined Northern Thai in Sukhumvit, Bangkok

I was recently in Bangkok staying in Sukhumvit and a foodie friend suggested that I check out Thai Lao Yeh for lunch.  Nestled at the end of a side street in Sukhumvit in the Cabochon Hotel, the restaurant serves refined Northern Thai and Laotian food; and I had such a delightful lunch there!

First of all, the décor.

The hotel is decorated in a mix of French Indochinese colonial furnishings with some 1920s Chinese art deco elements and light safari touches: think “Indochine” meets “Out of Africa” and “Shanghai Beach”.  I know it sounds crazy, but it actually works very well. The restaurant is even more eclectic: a restored Thai village wooden paneling on one wall, yellow enamels tiffin carriers on a colonial bar, Chinese birdcages, tables set with Ming-style blue and white plates and bowls and hanging kitchen towels. Boy, was I ever so enchanted even in a restaurant before I tasted the food?

But how was the food?

We ordered five dishes. First came classic Laotian style larb salad with minced pork and yum salad with pork ear. Both have the right balance of spiciness and sweetness. The coriander in both dishes went really well with the porcine delights, while the raw vegetables kept the dishes refreshing and light. Next came the chicken dishes: green curry with chicken and spicy chicken feet soup. The curry had a mid-level spiciness that showcased brilliantly the green curry flavors without overwhelming it, while the soup has significant depth of flavors and spices that complement the chewy collagen goodness of the chicken feet. The spicy chicken feet soup was my favorite and I took immense delight in sucking out each one of the foot.  Our last dish was a fresh steam squid topped with coriander, a perfect counterpoint to all the spicy dishes we had before.

If you need a respite from your shopping in all the look-alike shopping malls on the main Sukhumvit strip, go to Thai Lao Yeh. C’est un dépaysement instantané!   Mid-priced ~600 baht