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Displayed prices are for multiple nights. Check the site for price per night. I see hostels starting at 200b/day and hotels from 500b/day on agoda.
Evil Penevil

Under 300 Baht ... And Mediocre (Updated Jan. 15, 2020)

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Methinks you need to make some space in the camera bag for a "mini spice, herbs and condiments kit"! At least that would render the "mediocre" "edible"!

Edited by capdagde

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I had the breakfast burrito at Retrox Game On this morning and it was mediocre.



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With the 50% Eatigo discount at 7.30 a.m., it cost 88 baht, plus 40 baht for a bottle of water.



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The menu description of the breakfast burrito was a bit optimistic. The pork sausage was tasteless; the small strip of bacon had been fried brittle, not just crispy; there was maybe a tablespoon of scrambled eggs; no hash browns but two chunks of what might have been baked potato; and there might have been a speck of mozzarella, not more. Except for the saltiness of the bacon, there was no taste at all.



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I had asked the waitress to hold the baked beans, but in afterthought, that was probably a mistake. The beans would have added some desperately needed flavor.



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I'm glad the sausage had been cut into chunks rather than diced, as that made it easier to avoid eating. Without flavor, sausage is just meaningless calories. And if Retox is not going to use proper hash browns, the potato should have been diced and fried with onions or sweet peppers for flavor. More scrambled eggs and less potato would have been a good thing. The tortilla was tough, a sign that it had been overcooked, maybe even reheated in a microwave. It would have been improved by Mexican or Tex Mex seasoning. Cheese would have helped, too, but not mozzarella. It would be unrealistic to expect r Monterey or pepper jack cheese in Pattaya, but Swiss, Emmenthal or even cheddar would be better than mozzarella.



Bottom line: Unless Retox Game On changes the recipe for its breakfast burrito, I won't be ordering it again. There's no way much a bizarre combination of ingredients can taste good together.




Evil

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Little Tavern began operating in 2018 the premises of the former Queens Arms on Soi Buakhao south of the intersection with Soi Lengkee.  Monday I decided to give it a try, but that was a bad choice.  The meal I had was squarely mediocre.

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Actually,  I shouldn't have eaten there at all.  I had been attracted by an outdoor chalkboard sign that advertised Chicken Kiev with mashed potatoes and veggies for 169 baht.  But when I tried to order it, the waitress said, "Sorry, already finish."  It was about 7.00 p.m. at the time.

Naughty, naughty. A restaurant should take in an outdoor sign touting a special if it's not available.  In the past, in similar situations, I've simply said something like, "I really wanted Chicken Kiev. I'll come back another day," and walked out.  Don't get angry, just vote with your feet.


But I ignored my own rule, in part because I wanted to try Little Tavern and in part because I was tired, hungry and needed to deal with some messages on my phone.  I looked at the menu and said I'd take the baked ham at 150 baht instead.  "No hab today," was the reply.  The waitress wanted me to take the chicken breast with mushroom  at 165 baht. I didn't really fancy that and scanned the menu again.  Nothing caught my eye.  It seemed to be the same stolid pub food that's standard in dozens of restaurants from Naklua to Na Jomtien; Lake Mabprachan to Beach Road; and all points between.

The waitress pressed me to take the chicken breast; it was good and cost the same as the special, she said.  I gave up at that point, ignored all the warning signals and rolled the dice on the waitress' suggestion.  Unfortunately, it came up snake eyes.  Loser, loser, loser!

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The chicken breast with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and the Pattaya Holy Trinity of side vegetables- carrots, broccoli and cauliflower- was not good.  As I've said about all the dishes in this thread, it wasn't bad, just not good.

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When the plate came down in front of me, it looked pretty good and I thought I might have lucked out, especially after I tasted the gravy. It was excellent, clearly made from scratch and full of flavor.  But alas, that was the highlight.  The rest was a letdown and pushed the meal into mediocre territory.

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In Texas hold'em poker,   Ace-King hole cards are called an Anna Kournikova after the beautiful but moderately talented tennis star because they "look better than they play." I'm trying to express the same idea about my meal at Little Tavern, but you eat food, you don't play it, and how Anna Kournikova would taste is anyone's guess.   I doubt many can speak from personal experience.

The three chicken breasts were dry as sawdust and about as tasty.  No seasoning had been used on them.  One edge of each had been pounded thin and cooked so hard it was inedible.  The potatoes were watery and seemed to have been pureed, not mashed.  All the flavor had been boiled out of the vegetables. The gravy was excellent, but gravy alone does not a good meal make.

Here's what may have happened: the chicken breasts on my plate had been intended to be used in Chicken Kiev, but the cook didn't prepare enough portions and for some reason couldn't make more.  Maybe they ran out of bread crumbs or the cook who knew how to make it had gone home.  Who knows?  The  waitress pushed the chicken breasts with mushroom gravy to help use up the ingredients on hand and frying  was the quickest way to do it.

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Aside from the food, there were some positives about my meal at Little Tavern: comfortable seats; good lighting and ventilation; background music at a blessedly low volume; and friendly service. It's a nice place to have a drink and would be a good one for a meal if the cooking improves.

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As noted earlier, the menu at Little Tavern isn't very inspiring.  It's mostly British comfort food, steaks of unspecified "imported" beef and some Thai dishes.

I'm sorry the resolution in the photo below is so low, but if you click on "Enlarge," those of you with good eyes may be able to get a better idea of what is on offer.

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Food prices seem to be on par with or higher than comparable restaurants nearby.  With its rock-bottom prices, the Chunky Monkey has proved very popular.  As several posters have noted, Soi Buakhao and LK Metro are price-sensitive areas and the food has to be top quality to justify premium prices and remain competitive.  That sure wasn't the case with my meal.  The happy hour price for bottled Thai beer is 60 baht, but at a bar across the street, the happy hour price for the same brands is 45 baht.  Little Tavern is likely to struggle on the price front.

If I remember the sign right,  Little Tavern is open between 7.00 a.m. and 11 p.m., but the kitchen closes at 9.00 p.m.

Bottom line:  I won't be rushing back.

Evil

Edited by Evil Penevil

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Your report reminds me of a line I have used on some very odd occasions, when meeting the same results.

'Excuse me, do you have a menu? You appear to have given me a list of things you don't have!'

Of course I usually get the Thai waitress gormless look back, but have a little giggle to myself.

(I am a sarcastic sod!)

Thanks again.

 

 

Edited by jacko

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Then there are places that add items which they post on FB without printing new menus or putting them on a special board.  Good luck on ordering one of them.

Edited by nkped
Adding FB mention

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Each to his own opinion. I had the Sunday roast dinner here a couple of weeks ago and it was magnificent. It was the small dinner at 199 baht but was a real plateful of chicken and pork (could have had lamb or beef as well). I was told they had retained the Queens Arms chef.  Conversely, I gave Chunky Monkey 2 visits and thought it was poor

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Three strikes and the Chunky Monkey on Soi Buakhao is out for me, at least when it comes to eating a main meal there. Last night I had my third mediocre meal at CM and I'm being generous to call it mediocre.

I had the meatloaf, mashed potatoes with onion gravy and garden peas for 169 baht. This is the classic meatloaf meal and one I remember fondly from my childhood. My dad loved it hot with mashed potatoes and peas, or cold the next day in a sandwich, so my mom made it one night every week.  It was also one of the very few school lunch dishes I liked as a child.

Meatloaf is popular  in home and institutional settings because it is an easy recipe that is cheap and quick to make. If  newlywed brides as well as the cooks in schools, prisons, mental hospitals, homeless shelters and on military bases  and aboard ships can get it right, it's a shame the cook at Chunky Monkey can't.

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It is indeed a large portion, but a heaping mound of mediocre food is not a positive thing in my book.  It just means more of it will remain uneaten. However, I do appreciate that if someone on a tight budget cleaned that plate, they'd be getting around 1,500 calories, which is what an older person  needs every day.

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 The meatloaf screamed "no seasoning!" at me.  A mixture of ground beef and pork baked with egg and bread crumbs as a binder has very little taste on its own, but there are 1,000 ways to add flavor. Any kind of sauce ( Worcestershire, BBQ, chili, steak); bacon bits; garlic; any of a number of herbs and spices; ketchup; mustard; even salt and pepper would perk up the meatloaf.  The cook at the Chunky Monkey skipped all of them. Bland, bland, bland. The ground meat itself must have had a high fat content, as it was greasy with an unpleasant mouth feel.

The frozen peas hadn't been boiled long enough and were quite hard.  The gravy was very salty and also a bit greasy. The mashed potatoes were OK, but could have done with some sort of seasoning.

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To lift the meatloaf from the depths of insipidity, I made liberal use of the well-stocked condiment basket on the table.  That pushed the meatloaf into the somewhat palatable category.   If it hadn't been for the condiment basket, I would have rated the meatloaf as poor.

North American meatloaf is almost always topped with a glaze. ranging from dollops of BBQ sauce out of a bottle or spaghetti or pizza sauce out of a can to complicated variations based on homemade tomato sauce. The Chunky Monkey's meatloaf had no glaze, so it was U.K. style.  But if you read the meatloaf recipes from Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, you'll see they use a lot of seasoning and other ingredients to add flavor, which the CM's didn't have.

But theirs no doubt many Pattaya residents and visitors like the Chunky Monkey.  I ate at about 8.00 p.m. and there were 25 diners in the enclosed section and another 15 or so outside.  Just about all of them were eating, not just drinking.

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I assuming that has to do with the prices and not the quality of the food.  No doubt CM is a cheap way of filling your belly.  There are numerous specials on top of the low everyday prices. Wow!  But the prices of the Monkey Madness specials on chicken, fish & chips, sliced steak and pork chop debuted at 79 baht and are now 99 baht.

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 It seems to me that the food and service at the Chunky Monkey has gone down steadily since it opened.  In the beginning, the food was good and the staff friendly.  Not so last night.  The server literally threw down the menu on my table without a word of greeting or a smile, then came back 30 seconds later and asked, "What you want?"

If that were to happen to me in a restaurant in North America or Europe, I would answer "Nothing" and walk out.  However, in Pattaya I make allowances for language skills and work load.  They were very busy last night at the CM.  It's also possible several months of dealing with chea-  I mean, price-conscious, budget-minded customers- has left the wait staff jaded.  It does appear the service at CM is getting close to the infamous "service with a scowl" at the original cheap-Charlie bastion, the Sailor Restaurant.  

Bottom line:  I won't be back to the Chunky Monkey unless I have strong reason to believe the food  has improved.

Evil

I'm including a few pics of the menu to give a better idea of what's on offer and how much it costs.

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Maybe a name (and uniform) change to "School Dinners" ?  Your description is perfect for a restaurant of that name, Evil..

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I am quite sad to read the reviews of the Chunky Monkey. I hit the place shortly after opening and the meals, service and prices were all good. The service ladies seemed to give personalized service and seemed happy to see you each time you were there. I did however start seeing some of my favorite meals going down hill even then and moved onto the curry and beer combo's which were very satisfying and reasonably priced. I realise that there is a tendency to believe that people eating at places like this are CC's but there are also people out there who who have been there and done that with gourmet food and found it pretentious, meagre and over priced. I fall squarely in this category and enjoy some of the great meals available in Pattaya that cost little but taste great however every restaurant has off days due to staff holidays and the comings and goings of the industry. Don't get me wrong. There is crap aplenty and disappointment could be on the next plate be it in a gourmet haven or a 50 baht street café.

Sent from my Nokia 6.1 using Tapatalk

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Surly staff eh.... bet they took them on from Crazy Dave's when it shut. 

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From  what I have read elsewhere, the former owner of the Robin's Nest has had problems hiring and retaining staff, cooks in particular.  I recall the Chunky Monkey canceled its Christmas dinner plans because of difficulties with the staff.  It's also up for sale.

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Evil

Edited by Evil Penevil

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This may not be new, but Jolly's no longer seems to offer a Sunday carvery  buffet.  The restaurant and the Piss Stop Bar have had a checkered past due the major, major legal problems of the husband-and-wife owners. It doesn't get more serious than being sentenced to death. The food had gotten atrocious in the wake of all the hassles and the restaurant was closed for months.  Apparently it's being operated by the family of the wife and old staff.  The menu and specials haven't changed, but the carvery is gone.  I just hope the food has gotten better, but I'm not brave enough to try it again.

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Portofino is a new Italian restaurant and pizzeria that occupies what had once been half of Jameson's Irish Pub.  It started serving customers on March 1. It has an open kitchen and the interior has been nicely done up.

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The pic below comes from Jameson's  FB.  I was at Portofino on March 4 and there were 12 guests scattered across the restaurant.  It was by no means full, but busier than I had expected.  I ordered a pizza and salad for take away and while I waited, several other people picked up pizzas.

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I ordered the prosciutto crudo pizza (Parma ham, mushrooms. mozzarella)  and a Greek salad for  take away.  The pizza was 295 baht and the salad 195 baht. 

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The pizza had good quality toppings, although the sauce was a bit sweet and lacked seasoning.  Pizza wasn't baked enough for me.  The crust was too soft and chewy. Since there was a decent char on the upper edge of the pizza but almost none on the bottom of the crust, the oven probably wasn't hot enough.

There an old joke, sometimes attributed to Mel Brooks, to the effect that "Pizza is like sex; even when it's bad, it's still pretty good." I've never agreed with that sentiment.  Anyone who believes it has been lucky enough in life to avoid both bad pizza and bad sex.  My personal simile regarding pizza and sex would be "I'm happy as long as I occasionally get a good piece."  It's also easier to find good sex in Pattaya than good pizza.

The pizza I had wasn't bad, just mediocre and certainly not worth 295 baht. The big letdown came from the Greek salad. I'm not going to get into sexual word plays on Greek and salad, but there was nothing Greek about my salad.  It was an abbreviated garden salad, heavy on strips of sweet pepper, with three cubes of feta cheese and a couple of black olives.  No oregano or lemon juice, very few pieces of tomato or cucumber.👎👎👎 

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Bottom line:  I won't be back to Portofino. There are many, many better places in Pattaya.

 In case anyone wants to visit for some strange reason, here's a map of the location:

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and a photo of the food menu:

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Evil

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9 hours ago, Evil Penevil said:

There an old joke, sometimes attributed to Mel Brooks, to the effect that "Pizza is like sex; even when it's bad, it's still pretty good." I've never agreed with that sentiment.  Anyone who believes it has been lucky enough in life to avoid both bad pizza and bad sex.  My personal simile regarding pizza and sex would be "I'm happy as long as I occasionally get a good piece."  It's also easier to find good sex in Pattaya than good pizza.

:bhappyPriceless..... better value than the restaurant it seems....

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The Hungry Hippo is the most recent of the "big three" budget restaurants to open on a short stretch of Soi Buakhao, the other two being the Chunky Monkey and Cheap Charlie's. It's also the latest project of an experienced restaurateur who had started and flipped the Chunkey Monkey.

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In fact, he almost replicated the CHunky Monkey (but in smaller premises) a couple of hundred metters down the street from the original.  The Hubgry Hippo uses the same menu and the bargain-priced food tastes the same as it did at the CM. If you liked the CM under Robin's ownership, you won't encounter any surprises at the HH. The opposite is also true.  If you disliked the old CM, the HH won't change your opinion. One significant difference: the surly service has improved from the waning days before the Chunky Monkey changed ownership.  The waitresses at the Hungry Hippo were friendly and attentive.

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Like its simian predecessor, the Hippo is clean and well-lit; the AC keeps the interior cool but not artic cold. The background music is played at a blessedly low volume. Those are all important factors for me and can't be taken for granted in Pattaya.  It's a comfortable place to have a meal.  Unfortunately, the meal I had wasn't very good.

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I tried the Friday daily special for 129 baht: two eggs, ham and a choice of potatoes, British-style chips or bubble and squeak, which is mashed, boiled or roasted potatoes fried with cabbage and other vegetables.  It's basically a tasty way of using leftovers. I took the bubble and squeak.

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The special also came with a portion of raw salad that was mostly shredded cabbage and carrots topped with a slice of tomato and three slices of cucumber. The salad and fried eggs were OK, but the ham and bubble and squeak plunged the meal into the mediocre category.  

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The slices of standard wet-cured ham were commendably large and thick. However, they were served not lukewarm or at room temperature, but straight-out-of-the-fridge stone cold.  How much effort could it have taken to have given the ham slices a quick turn on the griddle? The bubble and squeak was in name only; it seemed to consist of chopped leftover fried potatoes or even chopped chips mixed with side vegetables but no cabbage. It lacked the proper flavor and consistency. Much of the flavor in traditional bubble and squeak comes from the fat used for frying, usually meat drippings or bacon fat or duck or goose fat if you want to get fancy. The HH's version had seen none of them.

I have realistic expectations about the type of farang food you'll get for 129 baht and am fully aware I won't be scaling any culinary heights at that price.  However. cheap dishes should at least be acceptable in terms of taste. This wasn't. 

I took an order of chilli con carne and rice , also a special for109 baht, home with me. 

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It wasn't Tex-Mex chilli con carne by any stretch of the imagination.  Remember, despite the name in Spanish, chilli con carne is NOT a Mexican dish. The HH's version lacked any of the spices associated with chilli con carne (cumin, oregano, garlic powder) and seemed to be a mixture of minced beef and chopped onion with a few kidney beans thrown in. It was mouth-blistering spicy do to a heavy dose of cayenne pepper; otherwise, it was flavorless.  I couldn't eat it.  I had to wonder if anyone in Pattaya could enjoy that concoction. Any dish that's inedible isn't worth the price, it's a waste no matter how low the price.

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I don't eat a Western breakfast very often these days, but friends who do tell me the 99-baht breakfat special is OK.  

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There are several other cheap breakfast options on the menu as well ...

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and plenty of specials ...

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Drink prices, especially bottled beer, are low at HH.  Small bottles of beer go for 50 and 55 baht, while large bottles (620 ml) of Singha, Chang and Leo cost 79 baht.  That's very competitive, even for the Soi Buakhao area.

Bottom line:  The Hungry Hippo is a cheap and cheerful place to have a beer and people watch if sitting outdoors. But in terms of food, the only description can be cheap and mediocre or worse.

The location, physical setup and prices for booze give the Hungry Hippo a lot of potential. The massive menu needs to be trimmed and the cooks trained in how to properly prepare a narrower range of farang favorites. Everyone loves a bargain, myself included, but the food has to hold a reasonable standard.

I've included a few excerpts from the Hungry Hippo's 23-page (!) menu.

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One final observation:  I visted the Hungry Hippo at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night and was finished by 9.30 p.m.  No other customers entered during that 30 minutes and only two remained when I left.  On a recent visit to Cheap Charile's around 7.30 p.m., there was a steady stream of customers in and out during the 45 minutes I was there, with 20 to 25 at any given moment.  I haven't summoned the bravery yet to retry the Chunky Monkey, but it appears devoid of customers every time I pass by and that's usually twice a day.  This is only anectdotal evidence based on what I've experienced and observed, but Cheap Charlie's  seems to be leading the pack among Soi Buakhao's low-price farang restaurants.

Evil

 

 

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An unusual set of circumstances put me on Third Road on Monday, so I decided to try Steak Kao Rai once again.  I wish I hadn't;  it was one of the worst meals I've ever been served in Pattaya.  I'm being generous in describing it as mediocre.

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For many years now,  Steak Kao Rai has been filling the bellies of thrifty farang with inexpensive beef, pork, chicken and fish dinners.  There are a few other dishes on the menu,  namely spaghetti and salads,  but most punters have gone to Steak Kao Rai for the same reason they monger on Beach Road:  cheap meat.

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I had intended to have the ฿139 beefsteak, but changed my mind went I saw another customer's order.  His piece of beef  (it sure wasn't a steak) looked very thin and frazzled. I decided to have the ฿89 pork chop,  as it been an acceptable option in the past when Steak Kao Rai had run out of beef.  Unfortunately, that was a bad choice.

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The pork chop was shockingly thin,  more like a pounded schnitzel than a chop. Even worse, it was mostly fat.

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The whole center section (circled) of the "chop" was fat and there were several other blobs as well.  Yuck!

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When meat is that thin, it fries quickly.  The piece of pork I got probably didn't need more than 30 seconds on each side.  That's hrdly long enough to allow the fat to warm, much less render.  Double yuck!

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I cut all the fat away, which left about two mouthfuls of meat.  If I'd been served meat like that in any farang-owned restaurant in Pattaya, I would have complained strongly.  Meat like that simply isn't acceptable.

I didn't complain at Steak Kao Rai because it seldom does any good when the restaurant is Thai owned and operated.  It just didn't seem worth the hassle for ฿ 89.  Otherwise, the 10 French fries on the plate were industrial cut, but deep fried better than most fries in Pattaya.  The salad would have been good if it hadn't been slathered with Thousand Island dressing.

Bottom line: It will be a very long time  before I venture back to Steak Kao Rai.  It's much better to pay  ฿ 175 for the pork chop special at Kilkenny and get a quality meal without having to cross Third Road.

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Evil

 

But for those of you who want to try Steak Kao Rai, I've included a map and photos of the menu below.

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The restaurant at the Gulf Siam Hotel on Pattaya North Road just west of the intersection with 3rd Road has an interesting sign,  at least for steak lovers:

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Who can resist a ฿89 steak?   I can't,  but I was sure it wouldn't be anything like the pic.  The restaurant itself carries a rather curious name,  Gulf Sixty-Eighty,  but is also known as the Gulf Cafe & Coffee Shop.

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Gulf Sixty-Eighty plays up the steak angle pretty heavily, but also pushes its breakfast buffet and cocktail promotion.

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Inside, it's quite comfortable and attractive.

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And a photo from the hotel's Web site:

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Gulf Sixty-Eighty even has a separate "Steak Menu," but it's not very extensive.

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I had the "beef steak with black pepper sauce" for ฿109.  The ฿89 steak on the sign is a "chicken breast steak."

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Well, ToTo, I don't think we're in a Kansas City steakhouse anymore- or even Sizzler.  That has to be the smallest piece of beef steak I've seen served that wasn't authentic Kobe.

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Of course, of course, I know you're not going to get 300 grams of USDA Prime or imported Australian beef for ฿109.  If the mini-steak had been good,  it  still would have been value for money.  Unfortunately, it was a locomotive steak- chew, chew. chew,  chew.  Tough and sinewy, without much flavor.  The flavor it did have came from the seasoning used, not the meat itself.

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I asked for medium rare, but got medium.  😒   One shortcoming on top of another.

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The small portion of French fries was Pattaya standard.  The mixed veggies and salad were good,  fresh and tasty.  The one outstanding feature of the meal was the black pepper sauce, excellent taste, better than I've had in many expensive places.  I just wish I'd had more of it to pour over mashed potatoes.

On the whole, however, it's the steak that should have been the star and it wasn't.  Tough and bland,  it wasn't even a good character actor in a supporting role.  I can't rate the meal as more than mediocre, possibly mediocre plus. Maybe if I had taken advantage of the cocktail promotion, the steak would have tasted better.     😀 😀 😀

 

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The service was friendly and attentive, but considering I was the only customer (at 4.30 p.m.),  that shouldn't be surprising.

Bottom line:  I haven't given up entirely on Gulf Sixty-Eighty.  I plan on trying a few of the other inexpensive dishes on its menu. It's a nice place to eat and the pepper sauce made me think they might have a decent chef who simply had poor quality beef with which to work.   Maybe I would have been better off with the "mince beef steak with gravy sauce."   Mincing or finely chopping beef has been a counter-measure against toughness for centuries.

In the U.S.,  "Salisbury Steak," named for 19-century physician James H. Salisbury,  has been part of American cuisine for nearly 150 years.  Salisbury advocated a diet high in protein from lean meat and low on vegetables, fruits, starches and fats. He urged people to eat a patty of chopped beef three times a day and drink large amounts of water to flush out the system.  So in Dr. Salisbury's memory, I might order the  "mince beef steak."  Or in direct defiance, I could have the spaghetti.  🤣

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The pic below shows the set-up for the breakfast buffet.  I have no idea what the quality is like, but  ฿159 for an all-you-can-eat buffet isn't a bad price.

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Evil

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Ate in Chunky Monkey last December. My girlfriend had the salmon and I had gammon steak. Both were significantly over-cooked. Edible, but not very good. On the other hand my friend had the prawn sandwich and thought it was excellent. 

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