Herbs and spice may entice, but if you can’t tell galangal from lemongrass, much less state their medicinal properties, then Ruen Mallika is your best bet.
The menu features colorful A4-sized images, with herbal ingredients and their health advantages listed for every dish.
The two-story restaurant is housed in an 180-year-old traditional teak Thai house, with al fresco seating on the wooden deck and air conditioned seating upstairs, the latter on floor cushions.
The higgledy-piggledy walls are adorned with framed newspaper clippings and Thai miniatures, while to take your mind off your gnarled knees random signs offer timeless wisdom like “A dead man can take not a cent. It is needless to be stingy”.
All the Thai classics are served, with appetizers starting from 120 baht and main courses from 250 baht. Thai desserts include the nostalgic coconut ice cream served inside a bread roll with sticky rice, as well as custard apple ice cream.
Traditional Thai music is played a few decibels too loud, but adds to the traditional ambiance.
The tom yum standard: 250 baht for a mushroom variation, and 570 baht for a minimum 300 grams of river prawns. The soup was medium spicy and sour, without too many diced and sliced herbs floating around.
189 Soi Sukhumvit 20, Sukhumvit Road. Open daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. +66 (0) 2663 3211. www.ruenmallika.com