Situated at the end of Sukhumvit Soi 1, Na Aroon Vegaterian Restaurant is surprising not only for its hidden location but also for the delightful array of organic Thai vegetarian dishes served here. In a beautiful boutique hotel surrounded by a leafy garden, this fantastic restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a healthy leisurely meal and some decadent desserts.
You enter this beautiful hotel via a wooden door covered in stencilled gold leaves and it feels like you have stepped back in time. The restaurant is on the ground floor, a high ceilinged dining room decorated in a traditional Thai style. The hotel has been around since the 1940s and the owners have kept the vintage feel, with polished wooden floors, colourful silk cushions and display cabinets full of unusual knick-knacks. On dry evenings the tall windows are left open, allowing a cool breeze to flow through the space, giving diners a view onto Ariyasom Villa’s lush gardens. Although the restaurant is rather smart, staff members are welcoming and the atmosphere relaxed.
Food-wise Na Aroon focuses on the vegetarian and organic, but that doesn’t mean the menu is boring. There is plenty to choose from, even if you are normally a meat-eater. To start, you can either try some of their imitation meat, far more delicious than it sounds, vegetarian pork dumplings, or stick to a vegetarian classic and order tofu satay: marinated, fried and served with a deliciously spicy peanut sauce. There are plenty of vegetarian meat main courses as well as a variety of Thai and western dishes including duck confit or chicken with cashew nuts. Favourites include the vegetable korma served with poppadums and rice or a three-mushroom curry (either red, green, or yellow Thai style).
When it comes to dessert, the menu turns decidedly European, with a great selection of comforting puddings, including a delicious apple crumble served with custard and ice-cream, traditional bread and butter pudding and rhubarb tart. The owner has a sweet tooth and makes all these desserts himself, a rare treat to get such traditional puddings in Bangkok. Na Aroon also serves a selection of Thai sweet treats, including bananas in syrup and coconut and the tasty yet healthy grass jelly served with coconut sauce and muesli. Drinks selection includes a decent variety of wines by the glass and a comprehensive cocktail menu, including a mango daiquiri – the perfect blend of fruit and booze.