Tag Archives: Food

SWAY Urban Eatery – Unleash Your Inner Bartender and Pour the Perfect Pint

I follow the Beervana Facebook page fairly closely, and when I saw a post promoting a new bar with the opportunity to pour my own drinks I was instantly curious. The event promoted Bangkok’s first pour your own beer wall and 12 imported draft beers available to sample. I talked Sarah into coming with me and we jumped into a Taxi and out of our ghetto towards the HiSo Bangkok area of Thonglor.

We found ourselves in Arena 10, a football arena/bar and nightlife district. I’d heard that the new brands of beer to taste were likely to run out early so managed to get in there early, so early that we were the first retail customers to ever try out the new pour your own system in Bangkok, so early that our swipe cards weren’t working to start with and we got to try out a few brews on the house.

Sway describe themselves on their Soundcloud profile (how often does a bar or restaurant have a Soundcloud?)

“Sway is located in the heart of Bangkok. Nuanced by the grit and grime of its historic locale, Sway seamlessly blends high and low by bringing up-from-the-street ambience into a clean and modern setting. Sway’s space focuses on innovative design, art that can’t be messed with, and eco-friendly features; all of which are brought to life by the most unique and trendy sights and sounds.”

How to Find SWAY

Sway Urban Eatery is located in Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10, Bangkok.

Arena 10 Map

I Came For The Beer, Whats About The Food?

Sway have a great bar food style menu, and are already pretty well known for their wings apparently.  They’ve got a western head chef and everyone eating on the night seemed pretty happy with their meals.

I got myself one of their burgers, which was pretty damn amazing, great fresh patty, good salad and decent bun (which can be an issue with the sheer amount of “sweet” bread floating around Bangkok.  Definitely good for a bit of Pub Grub.  Sarah on the other hand wasn’t so well catered for being a vegetarian, and had to settle for the default vegetarian option – wine with a side of french fries.  So if you are reading this Sway crew, you’ve got great menu for us beer swilling meat lovers, but please give and option for our poor rabbit food eating friends.

The Music

I was impressed by the music the first time I visited, and approached the DJ upon hearing him drop a Julian Dyne (a kiwi producer) only to find out that he was another Kiwi expat, who used to DJ the Dopeonplastika radio show – Juice Willis.

The DJ lineups so far have been great, with residents including Juice Willis and the Late Night Brotherhood crew DJs Sir Walt & Slomororo.

“With the progressive and modern interior, superior sound system, and unwavering commitment to the love of music, Sway adds an inimitable dimension to Bangkok nightlife.”

Punters can expect a mix of true school hip hop, R&B, funk, soul and quality electronica, while enjoying craft beer and tasty food.

The Verdict

Sway is definitely one of my new favourite places to get a drink, they have an epic range of beer on tap, great DJs, a nice layout, friendly staff and a good food menu for meat eaters like me.  They’ll get extra points from the girlfriend however if they add something vegetarian friendly to the menu.

Snapper – Kiwi Kai in the Heart of Bangkok

Before Sarah and I got together we went for a few food and drink missions in Bangkok. I had a desperate urge for some food from home and decided to venture down Sukhumvit Soi 11 to try out the New Zealand themed restaurant, Snapper.

The Snapper Story

Back in the 90s a kiwi lad moved to Bangkok and ended up staying. Apparently he was constantly on the look out for good old Kiwi fish and chips from home but couldn’t find anything similar in an ocean of pad thais and masaman curries. Fast forward a decade and a bit later and he opens his very own New Zealand seafood themed restaurant, Snapper to feed hungry expats and Hi-So Thais.

Getting There

Snapper is located at No. 1/20-22 Sukhumvit Soi 11. To get there take the BTS to Nana and walk down Soi 11, take a left at Cheap Charlies and you’ll find Snapper down the side soi.

Snapper Map Soi 11

The Food

The snapper menu (in all its ironic “MS Comic Sans” glory) if full of fresh, sustainably caught Kai Moana (Maori for seafood) that is both caught locally and flown in from New Zealand waters.

Snapper WEbsite

I ordered myself the NZ Wood Smoked Seafood platter (450 Baht), a selection of NZ Manuka wood smoked Fish & Mussels
(served cold) with breads & home made condiments along side a side of homemade Kumara (New Zealand sweet potato) Fries (160 Baht per serving). I’m unsure if the “Kumara” fries are actually the NZ variety, or local sweet potatoes, but regardless they were great.

One thing Snapper lacks is a proper vegetarian option for crazy hippies like my girlfriend Sarah, who was left having to make a meal of sides and white wine. We did however manage to find her some rabbit food in the form of The Rocket Salad (240 Baht) consisting of rocket, guava, celery, walnuts & Snapper’s tangy homemade balsamic dressing.

For dessert we shared The Kiwi Pav (200 Baht) as Sarah hadn’t heard of the things before, and it turns out, its actually quite hard to explain to an American what a Pavlova actually is, or why its important! The Pavlova was a great taste of home and comes served with Hokey Pokey Ice cream (again try and explain that to someone who hasn’t been to New Zealand), slices of Kiwifruit & a Forest Berry Compote.

All food comes with sides of good old Kiwi tomato sauce served in old school tomato shaped sauce bottles, and your choice of NZ chilli sauces such as Kataia Fire

The Verdict

I love good seafood but I’m horrible at cooking it, and haven’t tasted any smoked fish since my mum lived in Rotorua, so this was an absolute treat. The Kumara chips were a welcome addition, again something that I haven’t tasted since leaving home over a year ago. The Pavlova was another taste of home that you simply cannot find anywhere in Thailand.

There was a selection of NZ Wines (I think Sarah had Wither Hills) but no New Zealand Beer due to its lack of availability at the time. Now that Wishbeer is stocking Tuatara I hope that Snapper stocks the full range for some authentic New Zealand beer. I absolutely loved the place. For Sarah it was a little harder due to her preference for Vegan (or if push comes to shove vegetarian offerings), it would be great if they had something more substantial on the menu than sides or salads to cater for our meat deprived brothers and sisters.

That said, I’ll be back, theres simply nowhere else where I can get yummy smoked fish and pav!

Steve Cafe and Cuisine – Hidden Gem in Rama 8

Sarah and I were planning to go out for dinner last night at The Wine Connection, but ended up deciding against it due to the protest locations, and her class timetable.

We decided instead to give Steve Cafe and Cuisine a try, a restaurant that we’d often spotted from the Thewes pier when vegetable shopping but never actually tried out in the year I’ve been living in Thailand (of which I’ve spent more than 6 months less than 800m away!).

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The Steve Cafe and Cuisine Story

The Cafe opened in 2012 and has quickly built up a reputation as one of the top places to eat in Bangkok.  Named after its Thai owners English nickname, the restaurant offers Thai/European fusion meals by the water, and aims to provide the owners hearing impaired son with a career and business in the future.

I’m unsure of the exact situation, but I’ve seen Steve branding pop up on an old boutique guesthouse down the street by the Thewes Pier, so perhaps we will be seeing some growth from the business in the near future.

The focus is on quality and nothing is prepared in advance, so expect to wait a little longer for your meals, don’t worry though as the result is definitely worth it!

Finding the Cafe

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If you come via the Thewes pier it can be hard to find. Google maps isn’t much help and we ended up getting lost down an alleyway walking down the klong and past various huts until we ran into some locals fishing.  It turns out they are used to lost foodies trying to find the place and sent us in the right direction.

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The easiest way to find it is to make your way to the temple next door, either come via Samsen down Si Ayutthaya or take the boat t Thewes, walk down the side of the market and in the direction of the 7/11.  Turn right into the temple (Wat Thewarat Kunchorn Worawiharn) and talk through the grounds towards the Chaopraya River.  You will find a small soi that has Steve Cafe as well as another small restaurant.

Steve 3

For those who require the actual address: 68 Sri Ayutthaya Road, Soi Sri Aytthaya 21 (Devet/Thewes), Vachirapayabaan, Dusit, Bangkok, 10300

Steve Map

Some of the best Thai fusion food in Bangkok

What can I say, the food was absolutely amazing and dinner was 1300 baht incredibly well spent (This says a lot when we usually feed the both of us on 300 baht a week, its got to be really nice to justify this sort of spend!) .  I’ve heard that the place is often fully booked, and you need to book in advance, but we had no problem securing a table by the water – I’m guessing the lack of tourists in Bangkok due to the political situation probably had something to do with this.

If you are prone to getting bitten by mosquitos, remember to wear repellent as you are right next to the water!

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Black Pepper & Ostrich Meat Stir Fry with white rice.  Absolutely amazing and the first time I’ve seen Ostrich meat for sale in Thailand.  200 Baht

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Southern Style Bean Curd Yellow Curry with Lai Bua.  This was Sarah’s and she ordered it extra spicy (Ped Mak Mak), the staff gave her a strange look and asked if she was sure, and after explaining that she had lived on the border of Mexico they were satisfied that it  wouldn’t kill her.  Sarah LOVES to throw heaps of chilli powder on her food, so I know she enjoys it spicy, that said even this one was a little too spicy for her, but she still loved it.  (150 Baht)

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Paulaner Beer (180 Baht).  Its always great when a place has a selection of imported beers, as I often get bored of the local stuff.  Sarah rated the house wine as well, and after trying her spicy curry I had to down a bottle of Leo on ice to stop my mouth from burning!

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Purely in the interests of science we decided to try three desserts.  We ended up with Frozen Strawberry Yoghurt (130 Baht), Chocolate Mint Gelato (80 Baht) and Dark Chocolate Ice cream (120 Baht).  While all three desserts were great The Dark Chocolate was absolutely amazing, as it was filled with a dark chocolate sauce and rolled in cocoa powder.

Dinner was great, the service was excellent (the staff speak impeccable english) and the selection of local and imported food and beer made it value for money.  To put it in context, the entire meal cost us around the same as what it would cost for us to take a taxi into town and eat a burger king meal, a couple of 7/11 beers and a takeaway dessert.  I highly recommend checking the place out if you are anywhere near the Old Town area of Bangkok and can see why this is rated as one of the top 15 restaurants  in Bangkok.

Eat for less than 300 Baht Per Week in Bangkok

Despite being a crazy Vegan (when it suits her), Sarah is absolutely amazing in the kitchen, and manages to feed both of us for less than 300 Baht each (not including booze of expensive treats) for lunch and dinner. Although I love to eat my meat, I’m kind of put off most of it here in Thailand after visiting the wet markets and seeing how its stored, the flies that have a nasty habit of landing on raw meat, and well just the general lack of hygiene standards anywhere, so I’m vegetarian unless I go to a restaurant, then its steak and bacon everywhere – this definitely keeps our costs down.

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Many expats I’ve met don’t bother cooking due to “how cheap” food is here in Thailand. While it is comparatively cheap compared to home, you can only spend so long living off 40 baht street food, pork on a stick, pad thai or fried rice. Eventually you want something decent. Eating this way we are able to enjoy curries, home made friend rice, noodle soup, pastas and more and I’m spending less than $15 NZD per week. Other expats who are cooking tend to go shopping at their local supermarket, or mall, and purchase pre packaged stuff and brands from home – or live off microwavable/toasted 7/11 food – I should know, I was one of them!

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Tescos and similar supermarkets are great for things such as rice, cooking oil, and other stuff, but for fruit and vegetables the secret to really keeping your costs down is to find your local wet market. We make a weekly trip to ours across the Chaopraya River at Thewes (4 Baht each way) and have a few favourite vendors that we visit all the time.

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You can literally get anything at these markets from live fish, frogs and eels, fresh vegetables straight from the farm, and some fairly questionable meat, and you are pretty much guaranteed to be the only foreigners there.

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Heres what we get for our money (Approximately 480 Baht):
Stall 1 (100 Baht): 5 x Fresh Squeezed Mandarin Juice
Stall 2 (20 Baht): 2 x Tofu
Stall 3 (180 Baht): 1 x Coconut Milk, 1 x Mushroom Sauce & Mushrooms (Shitake and one that we have no idea what it is)
Store 4 (180 Baht): Chillies, Lemongrass, Kale, Carrot, Tomatoes (2 Types), Red Onion, Garlic, Lettuce, Potatoes, String Beans & Ginger

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Add rice, noodles and some spices and this provides us with yummy curries, rice dishes, noodle soup, scramble tofu and more – and gives us heaps of left over cash to save for when we want to go to a nice restaurant or drink some expensive imported craft beer!

Where to Find Kiwi Style Meat Pies in Bangkok

I’m in Bangkok, Thailand – its been just over three and a half months since I’ve had a pie.

I started getting cravings a month ago when I was in Berlin after a mate posted up a pic of one he’d cooked.  I went on a pie mission, getting all the ingredients for a bacon and egg pie, except for the one I needed the most – pastry. I just couldn’t find anything savory.  The closest I came was a “half” pie down the road from where I was staying in Pannierstrasse (see below) at an Australian themed cafe.

DSBKK PIE
Fast forward to two nights ago, after a few days of posting on DSBKK I’d been referred to a few places that sold the genuine article resulting in much discussion (including trying to explain to the sweet pie eaters of North America the concept of a “real pie”).   A few suggestions came up including the British Pie Shop (they are cooked in tins, so not the same as kiwi/aussie pies) a deli near Conrad plaza (no website yet) and Bradmans Sports Bistro (which may or may not be open?) on Suk 23.

Pie 1Luckily on Thursday night I had a reason to be in Soi 11 for Caspa at Bed Nightclub – and had an hour to kill.  Heard rumours that the Australian Pub and BBQ sold pies and had to go check it out.

Ordered a pie, along with Coopers pale ale and was not disappointed   Literally heaven, for the first time in three months I was eating a proper meat pie.  Puff pastry, filled with steak, gravy and a little bit of potato/pumpkin.  Heaven.

Next we will begin our Thai pie project, where we will attempt to make a kiwi pie, using Thai street food as the filling.

Let me know of any places overseas that sell proper Kiwi style meat pies (or something close!)

UPDATE 18 December 2012:

Starbucks Chicken & Mushroom Pie Chicken & Mushroom pies available at Starbucks Thonglor! Also available ham and cheese quiche (real men eat pies) and sausage rolls.  Unsure if other Starbucks stock the same selection.

Places I know you can purchase pies overseas (will update as reports come in):

Bangkok – Thailand:

  • The Australian Pub & BBQ: Sukhimvit Soi 11, Bangkok – The best I’ve had overseas.  Not cheap (you can buy a lot of Pad Thai for the same price) but worth every cent.  They also have Coopers Pale Ale available.
  • Starbucks Thonglor 13: Sukhimvit Soi 55, Bangkok – Cheap, only 60 or so Baht, only had chicken and mushroom, served with tomato sauce, not amazing but you get what you pay for.

London – UK:

  • Jumbucks: 24 Shephards Bush Green, London – Basically, they are the same as Jesters pies, so again not a “proper” pie in the Kiwi sense, but when I was london it was bloody good at least compared to the god aweful cornish pasties they eat there. Have a large selection of NZ food and drink brands available to purchase as well (though very expensive)

Berlin – Germany:

  • Melbourne Canteen: Pannierstrasse 57, Berlin, Germany – With an Aussie chef and being served by someone from Auckland, you’d think it would be a proper pie.  Thats where you would be wrong – pie came out served in a Ceramic pot, cost at least 10 euros and while tasty, was not.. ahem what I was looking for.  That said the girls behind the bar were hot, my mates live literally two minutes up the road, and they gave me free booze, so I can’t complain (and they did warn me it wouldn’t be a proper pie that I’d be used to!) .
  • The Dairy Berlin – Pies & Flat Whites: Raumerstrasse 12, Berlin, Germany – I never made it here, but have heard good things from my friends Tommy Flowers and Marie Celeste.  Photos on the facebook seem legit and run by kiwis.