Secret Recipe is the underdog of Bangkok’s mid-range restaurant food chains. It’s better than 5-Daaw and other fast food restaurants, but cannot compete with ever-present chains like Greyhound, Audrey or Dean and Deluca. This leaves Secret Recipe in a limbo, where it’s a good place…but not good enough. It’s a wonder this chain has survived Bangkok’s fiercely competitive gastronomical environment.
Ambiance and Decor
Where Dean and Deluca employs a sleek, modern, black and white look, and Audrey is decorated in a way that a wedding held at the restaurant wouldn’t look out of place; Secret Recipe is bare-bones. Adorned with grey walls, grey sofa booths and uninspiring color schemes there’s a reason this eatery is a second-thought in consumers’ minds. Everything is so forgetful.
Full disclosure: We visited the branch at La Villa Ari and went through all the options, Coco Ichibanya, HOBS and even Fuji before we considered this place, purely because it’s so unappealing to the eye.
The only saving grace of the La Villa Ari branch is that it overlooks the BTS. At least the views outside look good.
Secret Recipe Bangkok was grossly understaffed,with a total of three waiters during lunch hours. But that didn’t exactly mean bad service. Surprisingly, waiters were super attentive — even with a 10-person group sitting by our side. The speed of food arriving to our tables on the other hand…sheesh. Slow would be an understatement. It took 40 minutes for 4 dishes to arrive.
I had never eaten at Secret Recipe before, but I’ve seen it around, so I was surprised when their food was pretty damn good.
What We Ordered:
Nasi Lemak: Although not served with traditional coconut rice, this really did hit the mark. Fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumbers and tomatoes, along with 2 chicken drumsticks did the trick. The curry reminded me of Masaman Curry, but loads more peanut.
French Fries: Standard French Fries, should’ve been salted more.
Pizza Pesto: Yep, Pesto on Pizza. Don’t let this turn you off though, give it a shot. This pizza came through big time. The pesto seemed fresh, the veggies on it — bell-pepper, onions and fried mushrooms—tasted the opposite. But that didn’t seem to detract from the flavor much. The other gripe I had with this pizza was that it wasn’t cooked enough making the dough soggy.
My total bill for these three dishes came out to 600 THB. Not a bad price considering their portion sizes were fairly large. The Pizza was not exactly big but was quite fulfilling and I barely finished the Nasi Lemak on my own. Appetizers fall in the 80THB to 150THB, main courses are between 200THB to 450THB, drinks are between 75THB, and cakes are sold by slice and whole.
I understand that Secret Recipe specializes in desserts but why do what everyone does? Overall, Secret Recipe Bangkok served good food, and I am now convinced that the food is the only thing keeping it alive.