The Hard Rock Cafe has been on Beach Road for 12 years (anniversary October 18), and in that time has become a landmark in Pattaya, and a very popular venue for the weekend Bangkokians. In those 12 years it had become a little “tired”, but last month it had a major refurbishment, which has totally altered the ambience.
The memorabilia is still there, but the different color schemes and wall treatment employed and the new black tiles on the floor have brought the décor into line with today.
The first Hard Rock Cafe actually opened in London, and was founded by Americans Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett, and the Hard Rock Cafe now has one of the largest collections of rock and roll memorabilia on the planet. The Hard Rock Cafe manager Matty Carley (recognizable by his red hair) has been to the US to see the collection, and confirms the size, and where the items have come from at his Hard Rock Cafe on Beach Road. These include Elvis’ road crew outfits, Madonna’s elastic jump suit and Elton John’s platform boots. Add to that the TV screens are continuously playing rock and roll, and I enjoyed the AC/DC sets!
You pass into the restaurant, under a sign banning “drugs and nuclear weapons”, and you soon realize this is a fun environment, added to by the service staff who are practically jumping out of their skins to make sure you are in the swing of it all. There is a sit-up bar along one side and the dais for the band along the opposite wall. Along one side, and behind screens, is the kitchen, a very busy kitchen, as Matty proudly said, “We make everything ourselves, including the smokehouse and hand-made dressings such as ranch, honey mustard, blue cheese and several others.”
Another amazing fact from the Hard Rock Cafe was the fact that as well as a revamped menu, the prices had come down! Unheard of!
The menu is a bright colorful one, with plenty of photographs and descriptions to help you make your choices. These include the B. 599 Jumbo Combo, which features Santa Fe spring rolls, hickory-smoked chicken wings, onion rings, potato skins and Tupelo chicken tenders and four sauces. Having had experience of this dish last time we were in – it is huge and easily enough for four people. (You will find this under ‘Starters’!)
American food needs burgers, and there are 10, as well as Smokehouse sandwiches.
For my main I read that the legendary burgers were 10 oz ones and knew I couldn’t possibly get through one, so I went for the hickory smoked pulled pork sandwich (B. 379) which came with sauces, seasoned fries, ranch beans and fresh coleslaw. The sauces were either vinegar based or hickory BBQ. I chose the vinegar and the tartness set off the pork.
Madame went the whole hog (the whole bull), with the New York strip steak, a 12 oz offering topped with a merlot-garlic butter and garlic-herb mashed potatoes and gravy. It took quite some time to get through it all, despite the fact that the steak was very tender.
The wine list is not extensive, but on the other hand, it is not expensive either, with most between B. 1,400 and 2,400. Cocktails are available, beers and even non-alcoholic creations.
A Hard Rock Cafe would not be a Hard Rock Cafe without music, and we stayed for a couple of sets from the Jogadanz band. A new band will be taking over after the 12th anniversary party and we were assured by Matty that this was a solid rock band, to fit the genre of the cafe.
There are Happy Hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each night, but on Wednesdays the Happy Hour continues all night. In addition, there is a DJ spinning tracks from 6.30 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Food should be fun and it is at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Hard Rock Cafe, Pattaya Beach Road, telephone 038 426 635, fax 038 421 673, all major cards accepted. Open seven days from 12 noon until late. Secure parking in the hotel parking areas, but on-street parking on Beach Road in low season.