Soi 3 hosts a flood of middle-eastern eateries, some empty, some full. But somewhere deep in Soi 3/1 lies Shahrazad Bangkok, a Lebanese restaurant with a distinctly Iranian theme. The question then, is does this restaurant stand-out amongst a street literally lined with diners of similar stature?
Ambiance and Decor
Honestly, nothing to write home about. Which is sad considering most Lebanese/Mediterranean joints are like mini-metropolises. Usually blissfully embraced in some baller Arab music, chatter of children and an absolute mountains of food scattered around on the table. Unfortunately everything seems so uninspiring at Shahrazad Bangkok, the décor is ‘royalty’ themed, kind of Persian, but it all seems unfinished. Tables and chairs are comfortable enough, but again, nothing noteworthy. Everything seems suppressed, and hushed, even though the restaurant was at almost maximum capacity, with only a table or two empty.
I must admit, the service was pretty spot-on, it was responsive and the food arrived fast enough. However, what keeps me from giving this place a 5-on-5 is the fact that their restaurant seems equipped enough to only handle customers that speak English/ Arabic and completely by-passes the fact that Sharazad is located in Bangkok! The staff is mostly middle-eastern and/or Burmese (I’m just guessing here). Oh, and if you’ve never eaten at a middle-eastern joint you’re going to miss out on the delicious sauces they usually serve with food. My group had to ask for certain sauces, which weren’t charged, but they weren’t served either. Servers (females) are dressed in the traditional and beautiful Burkha.
How I wish I could give Shahrazad Bangkok an acceptable score for food, I really wish I could. But as you’ve probably noticed, ‘uninspiring’ is the recurring theme here, and obviously the food is no different. Here’s what we ordered
What We Ordered:
Hummus: Pretty standard affair, olive oil, sprinkled paprika and cilantro.
Naan: I remember us asking for Garlic Naan, and getting served the plain one. No complaints, however, in fact this Naan was probably one of the better ones I’ve had all year, it was soft, hot and not thick!! I cannot emphasize how many over-thick Naan’s I’ve eaten in my lifetime, where you’re just left chewing on dough long after the dish you ate it with is gone. The Naan was garnished with roasted sesame seeds.
Lamb Chop: “Who cut these pieces up? They look like my dog chewed on them!” – Gordon Ramsay. Flavor-wise they were okay, they were cooked well too, although I suspect the meat wasn’t mutton (goat), it was sheep.
Chicken Tikka: I feel like the chicken wasn’t marinated long enough in the yougurt/lemon juice/cumin mixture. It was kind of dry, and none of the ingredients especially shined through, which is surprising considering cumin is especially strong in typical Tikka Masala dishes.
Sheesh Kebab (Mutton): I feel like a broken record. Unremarkable is indeed the word of the day. Once again, nothing struck me as special about this dish. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it wasn’t something I’d write home about, which is what I usually expect when I’m eating Mutton (it’s an exotic meat, c’mon). The presentation of the dish was lackluster, and the distinct lack of flavour from ground spices seemed to be dulled, almost like they didn’t add enough to the initial marinade. At the very least, the dish was cooked well, it wasn’t undercooked or over-cooked and the meat was super soft.
We paid 950 Baht for a total of 5 dishes. When I went with my friends we were 5 people, and although we decided we’d had enough, it wasn’t because we were full, but because the food wasn’t exactly the best we’ve tasted.
The price range is very standard for middle-eastern cuisine. Lamb based dishes are more expensive than chicken.
Appetizers are around 100-250 Baht, main courses are between 250-750 Baht, drinks are around the 120 range and there is an offering of Iranian Food, which is the same rate/ a little more expensive than main course meals. Lastly, Shahrazad Bangkok has one special feature fit for parties. They have ½ KG and 1KG mixed meat platter priced at 1,000 and 2,000 Baht respectively. Please note, the meat platter can be customized, but I’m not sure if the meat platter includes Beef, since the server made no mention of it when we asked him.
To conclude, I feel bad. I’m not used to ripping on restaurants like this, and I don’t think I shafted this place really bad, but most of the criticism is warranted. Shahrazad Bangkok really needs to up its Middle-Eastern food offerings in Bangkok if it is to survive. As someone who’s lived in the Nana area for the past 15 years, I’ve seen hundreds of establishments come and go, so believe me when I say that Shahrazad could be the next one to leave, unless things change drastically of course.