I have reluctantly just returned from my yearly pilgrimage to Bangkok. I have stayed at the Mandarin Oriental for fifteen years although my mother and grandparents championed the hotel long before I was born.
My first post about this trip is all about food however, I must confess, however that I'm not a foodie at all. In America I happily survive on a daily trip to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a healthy portion of Chinese chicken salad that usually sees me through the day.
The Mandarin, unlike most hotels, has a hearty spa menu which offers an array of delicious dishes which are exciting to order (unlike the crudités and skinless chicken found on most other menus).My favourite fruit comes from Thailand and is virtually impossible to find anywhere else (if anyone in the UK knows where I can find these golden delights please do let me know). I start the morning with a plate of jack fruit and continue to snack on them throughout the day. This is followed by a steaming pot of delicate green tea and fresh carrot juice.Another rudely healthy breakfast option is an egg white omelette with chives and mushrooms with a touch of perfectly steamed asparagus.For lunch my absolute favourite dish (I cannot stress this enough) is the pomelo salad washed down with a young coconut. This contains shredded coconut, prawns, chicken strips, a light dash of chill oil and a plentiful helping of tangy but sweet pomelo. I had my last one yesterday and am salivating at the memory of my treasured lunch time treat. My long time friend, Geoffrey, who runs the pool also makes delicious smoothies which contain no sugar or ice-cream (let him surprise you with his daily blend of fruits so fresh you'll feel like you've just made a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar - with no need to panic about fat or fillings).For dinner I had steamed vegetables with soy and sesame dressing with tofu. It may sound bland, dull and unappealing but like everything at the Oriental, it was delicious, refreshing and intoxicating. Another tried and tested option from the Spa Menu is the broiled Thai sea bass served over a bed of lettuce leaves.Dining at the Mandarin can be as healthy or adventurous as you choose. We dined at the new Italian restaurant, Ciao, which is located on the large marble terrace overlooking the bustling Chao Phraya River. It has a young, sexy vibe and is laden with comfortable sofas where guests can enjoy cocktails and bar food. The food was out of this world, and coming from someone who gets more excited over an Earl Grey tea latte than a reservation at the Fat Duck, this is saying something. The food was light and fresh but intricate, complex and spectacular. I went as far as copying down the menu to show my wedding planner.
If you're in Bangkok I highly recommend going to the Mandarin Oriental for a bite; whether it be the breakfast buffet, Ciao or the fabulous China House restaurant by the entrance (the lacquered duck it TDF). For those of you lucky or smart enough to stay there, the room service menu will ensure that you find no need in exploring the outside restaurants.