Has Pattaya become the dining out bargain basement of Thailand? Probably that is a little bit of a sweeping remark, because it is many years since I dined at some of Thailand’s other culinary centers, but there is no doubting that there are some great bargains to be had in Pattaya.
What sparked that above paragraph was the visit by two friends from Australia, who just could not get over the incredibly reasonable prices for restaurant meals they experienced while dining out in Pattaya. Amongst those was a wonderful Thai-style open air restaurant around a lake, complete with VIP air-con rooms and a band. Part of a group of around 20 people, the food bill came to B. 7,000 – that’s B. 350 a head. A bargain. It is on Siam Country Club Road, about 700 meters from the railway line on the left hand side and is called “Suan Ban Bueng”, and sorry, no English sign, but a neon “fan” above the entrance! Take a Thai person with you.
However, the bargains can also be found in the farang eateries. One such is Jameson’s Irish Pub, a favorite watering hole for the expat community, which is also renowned for the standard of its food, and if you look at the “Weekly Specials” you will find quite incredible bargains. Prices that you haven’t seen for five years, they are so low.
Now when I say “specials”, last week I had the choice in the first course of potato and ham soup, or chicken Hawaiian salad or Scotch eggs. Main course choices included fillet steak, pork hot pot or roast chicken. Desserts were pineapple crumble, ice creams or Thai fresh fruits.
Now the prices: three courses B. 265, two courses B. 250, one course B. 235. In other words you can have a main course and then pay only another B. 15 for starter or dessert. Beat that for value!
The specials change each week, and that also covers the ‘Pie of the week’, with last week’s being minced beef and mushroom, with french-fries, peas and gravy for B. 185. Another bargain.
The a la carte menu, which changes every month, does not require you to take out an overdraft either. For example, chicken in a red wine sauce is B. 255, while ‘giant’ pork chops is B. 395 (and anyone who has eaten at Jameson’s before knows they are gigantic)!
Children are not forgotten either. The Kiddies Menu has seven choices, with all at B. 95, and that includes a glass of soft drink and a scoop of ice cream.
There is also a Thai menu (generally B. 105-160) which has received top marks from our Thai Madame.
But from the adult Specials menu, I decided on the soup, followed by the pork hot pot. The potato and ham soup came hot to the table, in a large soup bowl. Plenty of ham too. Great starter.
The main course of pork hot pot was served in a very hot bowl, with crumbed potato and onion on the top and the sliced pork in a ‘soup stock’ of carrots and onion. The pork just fell apart and the serving was so large I had to ask for a take-away bag and finished it at home the next day for lunch. Nobody leaves Jameson’s hungry.
There have been times when diners have said to me, “Restaurants know you are coming, so you get bigger serves than anyone else.” I can assure you that was not the case. Landlord Kim Fletcher did not know I was coming, and in fact it was his night off. The staff did not know I was doing a review either. The servings we received were exactly as you will receive.
By the time you read this, the specials will have rotated, but I have heard no complaints about the food, and certainly no complaints about the prices. Where else can you get a starter or a dessert for B. 15? Highly recommended.
Jameson’s Irish Pub, 80/164 Moo 9, Soi Sukrudee (Soi AR), Central Pattaya. Secure parking. Open seven days 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. Telephone 038 361 873, email [email protected], and www.jamesons-pattaya.com.