Rattanakosin Island is Bangkok’s oldest district and rich in cultural attractions: old temples, museums, and historical sites. Besides those well-known places, if you explore the many lanes and alleys, you will find plenty more interesting places, such as the small, tree-shaded old house hidden called “Baan Lalin”.
Two participants of MasterChef Thailand Season 1, Chef Namfon – (Laksanawadee Sripornsawan) and Chef Ploy- (Natnicha Boonlerd) met each other for the first time and later became close friends, working together until they finally decided to open their dream business.
Chef Namfon – (Laksanawadee Sripornsawan) and Chef Ploy- (Natnicha Boonlerd)
“The goal of any professional chef is to have their own restaurant. After 2 years of working together, it’s time for both of us to have our own restaurant,”
The name “Lalin” is a combination of words taken from the initials of the two chefs’ names “L” and “N”. They went through a naming program and initially found the name “Lalit”, which they thought rather too masculine, and finally decided on the feminine name Lalin, which suits them more.
The house, which is now Baan Lalin, is more than a century old and is situated between Trok Tuek Din and Trok Sin communities. The owner is a local resident who was looking for a new tenant who wanted to turn the house into a hostel or restaurant.
“We’d been looking for a house in the old town area for a long time because it fits our purpose more. We also looked at those shop houses in Tha Tien area but didn’t click with any of those. We kept looking until we found a post advertising this house for rent on Facebook.”
Their first impression of the house was terrible because it was very old and run down, having been neglected for a long time. Their family members didn’t like their choice at all because the house needed major renovation work. Nevertheless, the two chefs were undaunted and wanted to run their restaurant in this house. They consulted an engineer and the renovation work took two months to complete. Baan Lalin served its first customers in August 2019.
“I like it because of its age. We can see many aspects of lives in the community through the windows on the second floor, which work like picture frames.”
Another reason for them wanting to run their restaurant in an old house is because the design reflects Thai characteristics and matches the old crockery collection of Chef Namfon, whose family ran a hotel and tea house businesses in Amphoe Betong, Yala Province. The crockery and glassware can now be put to good use.
The presence of these old items in the restaurant creates a charming, homely ambience. The area surrounding the house is used as a kitchen garden to supply the chefs with fresh ingredients.
“Baan Lalin answers our intention to run a restaurant that can be an attraction for visitors, being a house and a museum at the same time. We want to present common people’s life - the life of ordinary Thai people in the old days.”
Both chefs say that they would like this house to be another destination for the visitors who come to visit Wat Suthat, the Giant Swing, and the communities in this area. They can come and enjoy food in an old house and take pictures, a bit like visiting their grandparents’ home upcountry.
The menu at Baan Lalin focuses on simple food. Chef Namfon is an expert in Thai and Chinese dishes, while Chef Ploy is more for western cuisine. They prepare Thai one-dish meals and for desserts and drinks, they choose the dishes that use ingredients that reflect Thai character.
Savoury dishes, such as kuay tiew phad khai khem goong, khao khlook graprao nua khai sous vide, sen mii mhoo toon, pla haeng taeng mo, khao khor mhoo yang khai tom phak sod, are all freshly prepared.
Must-try desserts are klauy khai cake and taeng thai nam kati cake; both typical Thai desserts. They go nicely with drinks like bouy taeng mo soda or bouy som jeed soda. For patrons with a sweet tooth, sweetish drinks like cocoa and Thai style milk tea will be satisfying.
Trok Tuek Din (Trok Tuek Din-Trok Sin communities)Dinso Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Open: Tue-Sun, 10 am – 8 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Every last Sat-Sun of the month Baan Lalin serves 10-dish Omakase Thai food (Chef’s Table). Contact the restaurant for more information and reservations.