Our hotel in Ayutthaya, a former Siamese Royal capital, didn’t provide evening meals, so our guide recommended the restaurant at the hotel next door, the “Sala Ayutthaya”:https://www.salahospitality.com/ayutthaya/.
This is a large luxury hotel and as we entered through the imposing wide door, we found an art gallery near the entrance exhibiting portraits of King Rama IX.
An unusual path with walls around 20-foot high on either side took us to the riverside restaurant where we had a choice of tables in an air-conditioned room or an open deck. At 7pm on a Sunday, the terrace was already full of Thai families, coming towards the end of their meals. We decided to sit inside as the view was exactly the same as from our terrace.
We’d checked out the extensive and expensive “menu”:https://www.salahospitality.com/ayutthaya/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2019/02/All-day-dining_say.pdf beforehand and so knew which section to head for – the Thai dishes which were around half the price of Western dishes.
Complimentary nibbles of minced vegetables served with fresh pineapple were provided and we chose a minced pork loin dish and stir-fried chicken with ginger, both non-spicy, and a portion of brown rice and mixed vegetables.
Drinks were naturally expensive and my soda was 129 Baht: by way of contrast, they were 9 in Seven Eleven and 30 in our hotel mini bar. However, by choosing wisely and limiting drinks, our bill for a simple meal came to 1,012 Baht (£25). However, service and food were exemplary.
Having established there were no other eating options without the need for a tuk tuk, we reluctantly returned to Sala Ayutthaya on our final night: we find that repeat visits are often disappointing. This time, the indoor restaurant was unavailable and so we sat on the deck, overlooking the Chao Phraya River and floodlit Wat Phutthaisawan, but one row back fearing mosquitoes.
The same waitress provided the same complimentary nibbles whilst we ordered a pork belly dish and a smoked aubergine salad with prawn tempura and egg. When my partner requested his dish non-spicy as he was flying the next day, the girl was highly amused.
The aubergine salad was said to be a ‘little spicy’ but even though I pride myself on tackling Indian vindaloo, I found it very spicy. Although the prawn dish was one of the cheaper meals on the menu, there were five huge prawns in batter which presumably reflected the fact that we were near the river and so fish was plentiful.
When the bill arrived, we were asked if we were residents and wanted to sign. When we said we were staying at the iuDia next door, we were given a 10% discount on production of our room key. We wished we’d known this before as our bill came to a more reasonable 890 Baht (£20), even though we’d had more drinks.
Our entertainment for the evening was watching a young Thai couple dragoon a passing waiter into taking copious amounts of photographs of them, both at the table and on the lower deck. Their food arrived during the photo shoot, but on returning to their table, they continued snapping away, rather than eating what must have been cold food.