located across the street from the Ekamai Eastern Bus Terminal in Bnagkok on the corners of Ekamai and Sukhumvit Roads (where you will also find the Ekamai BTS Station) is Ban Rie Coffee, also known to Thai people as Thai Banrie Bai Kra Prao Bork.
well known for its coffee this place is actually a fully fledged Thai restaurant. the air conditioned indoor seating, as well as the very large outdoor dinning area and garden, are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. the motif is Thai country style mixed with a bit of Sukothai & Khemer style statuary and red brick work.
i have been eating at Ban Rie Coffee for 4 years now and i have never ordered any food that was not fresh, prepared expertly, and true to Thai taste. the menu is vast but i have always tended to order the seafood most of the time.
my favorite dish is the specialty of the house that i and my guests have never seen anywhere else in Thailand ... boneless crispy deep-fried pla kapong fish cubes which are then tossed with a garnish of diced raw ginger, garlic, shallots, lemon grass, sour mango, and bird chilli, as well as fried peanuts, fried shallots, fried lime leaves, dried chili, dried shrimps and fresh coriander/cilantro leaves. the sauce is made from nam pla (fish sauce), lime juice, and sugar. the fish is probably 2 Kg.
the other dish which is pictured in my photo is the traditional Thai Tom Yam Seafood, the creamy version, not the clear one. spiced just right and full of mushrooms, shallots, squid, shrimp, mussels, and fish it is served in a steam boat to keep it hot. also an excellently prepared dish every time i have had it.
another of my favorite dishes is prepared to perfection here, Stir-fried Crab in Yellow Curry (Poo Pad Pong Kari) which is a stir-fry of crab, onions, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, Madras style yellow curry powder, white pepper, beaten egg, cilantro/coriander leaves, thai celery and green onions. this is not a spicy dish but a rich and creamy one due to the eggs which are scrambled into the sauce at the last minute. best eaten with total abandon with your hands. the crab is so fresh that it does not stick to the shell as is the case in restaurants that do not take as much care as they do at Ban Rie.
the Steamed Seafood Custard (Hor Mok Talay) is also good here. a rich coconut and red curry custard of fish, fish sauce, sugar, and eggs that have been pounded in a mortar and pestle until paste, and then infused with kaffir lime and sweet Thai basil leaves, that is then steamed in a large ceramic bowl.
other traditional Thai dishes such as Cashew Chicken, Crispy Pork Belly with Khana, Batter-fried Shrimps, Yam Plamook (Thai Squid Salad), SPring Rolls, Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla), to name just a few, are all excellent.
they also serve a very good quality steamed jasmine rice. many Thai restaurants do not, and what could have been a decent meal isn't becuase unlike Ban Rie, they serve inferior rice.
they have Thai beer on drought and you can order it by the mug, pitcher, or in one of the very large iced dispensers that they will bring to your table.
the coffee is great, strong and sweet, and they also have a small cake and ice cream menu for those who can find room after their meal.
the waitstaff are good and efficient, and all you need to do is point at the menu which is in both Thai and English. if you do not speak Thai there is always someone who speaks English, but remember this is a Thai restaurant and their English may not be perfect.
certain nights of the week they have a small live band that plays outside during the evening hours.
the only 2 things i find lacking at this place for me are that the portions are all HUGE and you can not get smaller ones. so if you go by yourself, or with just another person, you either order more than you can eat if you like variety, or you just have 1 or 2 dishes. the other downside is they do not have decent napkins, only the tissue dispensers found in most Thai restaurants, so if you are going to be eating a lot of seafood with your hands, try to remember to bring your own small hand towel.
the best thing to do here is go with 6, 8, or more people and order 5 or 6 dishes and lots of beer!
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