Review: Som Chai Restaurant

Will Meyrick does it again. This time, he brings the ambiance and menu from the era of the first Kings of Siam into the busy street of Kerobokan. Enter, and you will be taken on a journey that you won’t soon forget.

Here in Bali, it’s not that often that we got to be surprised by a new place. We’ve seen and ate at so many different restaurants that we thought we’ve seen it all. When the Sarong group announced that they are taking over a restaurant and opening up a new restaurant that serves Thailand cuisines, we assume that we know Will’s style enough to guess what the restaurant will look like. Right in the middle of Kerobokan, he leaves a small space just enough for people to valet their car, and he build a wall to close off what used to be a patio. For weeks people are just curious what’s behind that wall. A great strategy, indeed.

As we walk in, we are greeted by a smokey dark room with dancers sitting on a hanging chair wearing a long dress and a mask. There’s a bar with people smoking and drinking here, so we assume this is the smoking area where the guest sits while waiting for their table or simply if they prefer just to eat tapas and drink. At a glance, the area looks like a scene from an old mafia movie. This completely took us by surprise because this is nothing like what it used to. It’s like Narnia, where we traveled via the magic door from the busy and loud Kerobokan to the sexy and sultry Som Chai. We love it!

They named the concept “Steam Punk Siam” because the interiors are inspired by the era of slow travel and the discovery of new and exotic worlds, heady with temptations. Representing a journey through time – a conversation between the old and new worlds, with the high ceiling and large open space immediately imparting a sense of opulence. The use of smoked glass mirrors, marble and gold steel make the room looks old school fancy. This is where we order our cocktails, relax on their comfortable leather sofas and just take it all in. Our eyes need to adjust to the low light. Our vibe needs to be in sync with the ambiance. A good cocktail will do the trick. Grab some Thai Mule or the Negroni at Som Chai Drink, the Old Chinatown bar of Som Chai. We love it.

Once you’re ready, the friendly staff will lead you to your table. This is a whole different ball game. The whole restaurant is open and spacious. Literally a breath of fresh air after coming out of the bar and lounge area. Here, one thing immediately catches your attention: a big picture of the Kings of Siam – a great homage considering how respectful Thailand people are of their kings. Then there’s a giant smoked mirrors adding a vintage and elegant look to the place.

Enough about decor, let’s get into the food. We know Will Meyrick is all about the Asian cuisine and their street food. But this time he did a three month research excursion to discover the intricacies of traditional and Thai cuisine, where wood fire stoves, charcoal fire grills and clay cooking pots impart specific flavors to the food and the inclusion of home made ferments add a wonderful and unique quality. The intensive preparation of these home-made ferments, fish sauces and shrimp pastes is at the heart of Thai style flavours – at once sharp, sour, sweet, spicy and sometimes pungent. The attention to each step of the preparation, both in the kitchen and at the table, brings all the authentic nuances of Thai cooking to the guest in a way that is hard to replicate.

Just like in his other restaurants, Will Meyrick’s food is best shared with your loved ones. That way you will get a bite of everything. From the Som Chai Thai Beef Salad, Fish Cakes, Crispy Tacos, Soft Shell Crab Som Tum salad, Stir fry beef wings beans, to the ‘Smoked Mackarel Jo Bong’, all of these starters look delish. But safe room for the main course. There’s an option of jasmine or red rice served with the meals you ordered because… what good is an Asian cuisine without rice? Well in this case, the food are so good, you could actually go without. They have this beef braised for 48 hours and served with durian that is so good. And the Ho Mok fish bamboo is also excellent. Feeling hungry? Go for their Feed Me menu where you will get everything from starters to dessert for only IDR 450.000/person. Overall… this place lived up to its hype. So, better visit SOm Chai before the place is packed with foodies from across the globe.

Jalan Raya Kerobokan 86 A, Kuta Utara, Badung

Opening Hours
SOM CHAI DRINK 5.30pm – 1.00am
SOM CHAI EAT 6.00pm – 11.00pm


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