Whether it’s a nascent trend towards less pretentious eating environments or down to the astronomical rents charged for commercial premises or simply an attempt to make better use of under-employed space, it’s getting increasingly common for home-owners to open their doors and welcome in paying diners to sample the fare from their kitchens.
This week I’d like to introduce you to the Hidden Terrace, a humble eatery tucked away in a small sub-soi off Rama IX Road. Not only does this 40-seater occupy the whole ground floor of a family residence, it is also operated mainly by the members of that same clan. Dad doubles as the coffee-roaster, mum’s the cashier and the son’s the chef, while the matter of expediting food to tables is attended to by the chef’s siblings (and a few extra helpers).
The Hidden Terrace serves up home-style, East-meets-West cuisine dreamed up by chef Art, a Seattle Culinary Academy graduate, Angelini alumni and part-time TV cookery demonstrator.
From the decent-sized menu, our dinner began with Caesar salad (130 baht). Crisp romaine lettuce leaves, Parma ham, wedges of hard-boiled egg, bacon bits and croutons had been laced with a home-made Caesar dressing and topped with a generous helping of grated Parmesan.
Following that delectable opener, we tried the rocket salad (140 baht). Simply presented in the style of a Thai mieng (a platter of ingredients of contrasting flavours that are combined to make a tasty morsel according to each diner’s personal preferences) with a trio of elements — cubes of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and arugula leaves — arranged separately on the plate and sprinkled with a balsamic-based dressing.
Grilled marinated pork shoulder with jaew sauce.
Unanimously voted by our party of four as our absolute favourite that evening was spaghetti tom khlong (230 baht), pasta with a scrumptious Thai twist. As its name suggests, the basic Italian dish has been reinterpreted to mimic that ever-popular sour-and-spicy herbal soup. The noodles came tossed with crispy chips of deep-fried, dried pla salid (snakeskin gourami fish), roasted chillies, finely sliced sawtooth coriander, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and crisp-fried garlic to yield a result with the fragrant, pungent flavour profile typical of Thai cuisine.
The parade of piquant Thai meets rapturous Italian continued when our of squid-ink spaghetti with drunken seafood (240 baht) arrived at the table. Prepare for a lip-smudging experience if you order this, though, because the combination of squid ink-infused noodles, prawns, mussels and squid flavoured with basil, chilli, kaffir lime leaves and green peppercorns, was bountifully blackened.
The name given to the next delightful offering, spaghetti anchovy (210 baht), may be a bit of a misnomer since those expecting to tuck into a serving of salty pasta will surely be disappointed. That’s because the spaghetti, which had been sautéed with cured anchovies, tomatoes, black olives and basil and then garnished with biscuit crumbs, exhibited distinct buttery, sweet and fruity notes.
Our next pasta dish may have had a mild-sounding name, but the chicken pesto spaghetti (170 baht), while being rather overwhelmed by the creaminess of grated Parmesan, did boast a satisfying pungency thanks to the Italian basil sauce which perfectly complemented the pan-fried deboned chicken with its wonderfully crispy skin.
And although it seems to be the most popular choice here, pasta is certainly not the only option worth trying out at the Hidden Terrace.
From a selection of protein-heavy entrées — which included grilled duck breast with orange sauce, salmon steak and mixed sausages — we went for the grilled, marinated pork shoulder with jaew-style herbal sauce (170 baht) and found gratification in this rather everyday Thai fare that was garnished with romaine leaves and served with a salty-sweet dip made from fish sauce, ground toasted rice and roasted chilli powder. I couldn’t afford to leave the Hidden Terrace without trying its elf-green-coloured bestseller, a cake called Smurf (85 baht a slice) which is kept in a display fridge with a few other dessert choices which included cheese pie, cup cakes, tiramisu, banoffi and macaroons.
The deliciously moist, blue Curacao and lime juice-infused Smurf cake was enhanced with a sea salt-sprinkled cream frosting and was not at all sugary. In fact, it had a rather buttery tang to it, making it even more addictive.
This restaurant has an adequate selection of beverages (coffee, cocktails, beer and wine) and the service was most agreeable.
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About the author
- Writer: Vanniya Sriangura
Position: News Reporter