Stale basil – Basil, Bangkok Thailand

Basil at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is probably one of the IT places to go for great Thai food in the early 2000s. Back then, there were very few places that served authentic Thai food in a great ambience. With less competition, Basil was able to shine brightly. However, with more big brand name hotels and innovative restaurants sprouting up in Bangkok, Basil has somewhat lost its shine.

A modern take on a typical Thai roadside stall

The interior of Basil remains very much the same since its opening about a decade ago. The place is slightly upmarket and sophisticated. It’s a testament that great design can withstand the test of time. The service was excellent throughout the dinner.  The waiters were prompt with their service and since they were so attentive, there was really no need to get their attention.

Mieng Kham

The experience started really well. My partner and I were served Mieng Kham, a traditional Thai street snack that is slowly disappearing from the streets of Bangkok. Instead of serving us wrapped Mieng Kham, we were encouraged to prepare it ourselves. It was fun preparing the snack. First you need to spread the palm syrup on the chaphlu leaf. Next, add the dry ingredients then finish it by rolling the leaf. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to eat the snack but I liked it after one bite. The different textures and rich flavours from the roasted peanuts, shallots, roasted coconut shavings, lime, chilli and dried tiny shrimps just exploded in my mouth.

Tom Yum Gai Bann

But sadly, nothing really excited us after the kaleidoscopic snack.

Before we started on the main course, we were offered a selection of white jasmine rice, brown rice and pandan-flavoured rice.

The Tom Yum Gai Bann or Spicy natural farm chicken broth with lemongrass is not scorching spicy so that’s a plus for me. There is also a generous amount of chicken meat and herbs, which is good. However, the soup is too little.

Moo Thord Takrai Nga Khao

It was the lemongrass promotion week and we ordered the Moo Thord Takrai Nga Khao or Deep fried marinated pork loin with white sesame and crispy lemongrass. The strips of pork loin are tad too dry even though they are flavourful. The meat would have tasted better if the pork strips were pulled out from the boiling oil earlier.

Stirred Fried Beef with Asparagus

The Stirred Fried Beef with Asparagus is so ordinary that even my mother can do a better version. Yes, the meat is tender but it’s just stir frying beef slices and asparagus with oyster sauce. Nothing spectacular. But the price did shock us later.

Nueng Manao

The worst has to be the Nueng Manao or Steamed sea bass with chilli, garlic and lime sauce.  First, the sea bass was not deboned properly. Next, the fish came out lukewarm even with a lit tea light under the bowl. The heat from the tea light wasn’t sufficient to keep the dish hot. And the sea bass just got colder by the minute in the air-conditioned restaurant.

Lemongrass Panna Cotta

The meal was such a letdown and I wanted to give the dessert a miss. Thank goodness, I didn’t. It was the Lemongrass Panna Cotta that saved the otherwise disappointing dinner. The pandan-flavoured sauce complements the lemongrass panna cotta perfectly. Even my partner, who doesn’t enjoy dessert, likes it.

Our meal came up to about THB 3,500.  For that sum of money, there are restaurants that can offer better food at the same or even cheaper price.


Basil at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok
250 Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2649 8366

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