With Ratchadamneon Avenue now a hot new place to be, what would be a better spot to wind down, relax and reminisce about our country’s pride and joy than a hangout by the Chaophraya, the River of Kings, in the old quarter of Ratanakosin Island itself?
Situated at Ta Tien – one of the oldest piers by the river, Eat, Sight, Story is a renovated space out of the long-deserted ‘Ta Reur Daeng’ (Red Pier), once the pier used for transporting goods from China, especially the terracotta and ceramic pieces that uniquely adorned the nearby Wat Po. Stories has it that this is a historic pier, built as early as in the 1900s, with the name derived from the red-coloured boats that once occupied it. The area used to be so prosperous and bustling with businesses that it cultivated also a vibrant trading community with lines of shophouses, shrines and spirit houses within this narrow alley leading towards the river.
But when roads became the major commuting routes for Bangkok, the role of this pier had gradually declined and later this once busy place was entirely deserted. After years of being rented for mooring private boats, Ta Reur Daeng, which is right opposite to Wat Arun, has now been revived as a restaurant and bar with its food and drink varieties designed to appeal any type of hungers throughout the day.
We were invited to experience this place not too long ago. The restaurant has both outdoor by the river seating and air-conditioned room with colourful tables where they keep their wines. Their menu is quite comprehensive with selections of Thai, international, fusion and one-of-a-kind snacks (think chocolate-stuffed deep-fried taro dumplings and baked pumpkin and sticky rice). They also have an open kitchen for pizza as if to highlight the dish, so we order “Krapaw Moo Pizza” (Bt190++), which is a delicious crispy thin crust layered with thick pieces of marinated pork stir-fried with spicy basil leaves and mozzarella cheese. You might think mozzarella cheese and spicy pork would make odd bedfellows, but in this case, they surprisingly compliment each other. The usually bland cheese gets a lovely kick out of the spicy pork and it all makes the pizza much more interesting. They also have a numbers of other pizzas, all thin-crust, including the vegetarian choices.
We also ordered their fusioned ‘pla salmon’ (Bt280++) which, instead of using the rare salmon like they usually do with the pla dish, are made up with deep-fried salmon chunks dressed with lime, chili and nam pla sauce. I quite like the idea of adding the deep-fried crispy sour mango as a garnish as well as a sour touch to the taste.
You can’t go wrong with the staple of somtam when you are in Thailand. Our seafood somtam (Bt200++) comes with deep-fried crabsticks and lots of blanched seafood – fresh shrimps, calamari, and mussels with the crunches, aside the green papaya, from toasted cashews and cow-peas. A good tasty and light dish when the weather is hot and humid. And if you are hungry like we did, order a plate of grilled pork neck and sticky rice (Bt170++) to go with it, too. The fatty pork, grilled to perfection, was cut into thick pieces that are glistening tender, aromatic and crunchy. So hearty with the provided spicy sauce and softly-steamed sticky rice.
Eat, Sight, Story at Soi Ta Tien, opposite to Wat Po, is open every day from 11.00-22.00 (Mon-Thurs), 11.00-23.00 (Fri-Sun). T: 02-622-2163.