Middle East Dining @ Soi 2 | Arabesque

KohSpot’s search for quality Middle Eastern food outside of Sukhumvit Soi 3 has been a long journey through the desert, almost Biblical in its futility, so we decided to venture closer to the source this time.

Arabesque is located at the end of Sukhumvit Soi 2, where hotels and serviced apartments call the shots, including running guests up to the bak soi on golf carts. Because Arabesque is at least 500 metres down the soi, there’s barely any foot traffic. The eatery was undergoing an intensive mop session when KohSpot arrived, but the outdoor courtyard is a more pleasant option for eating. Management seemed to know how to keep people working.

The courtyard is something of a leafy oasis, with plenty of shade and tables for dining or a hookah. The restaurant has been converted from a lovely old house painted salmon with a faux Spanish villa roof tiles.  Like many Middle Eastern restaurants in Bangkok, the best dish here is likely the mezze platter (250 baht). Babaghanoush was the real star of the show here, but a piquant mash of vegetables, herbs and lemon juice was threatening an upset.

KohSpot went for the lamb platter (250 baht) described as “fine cuts” that were slow-cooked on the menu, but the lamb was a tad tough, it was mostly rice in a porcelain dish and there was some sort of odd spongy carb at the bottom of the dish that presumably was edible but we weren’t going to find out.

The mint lemonade (120 baht) was an exemplar of the drink, always a good choice when you know the eatery has the fresh ingredients to make it. Arabesque tried to claim there were changes to the pricing of the food that weren’t listed on the menu when KohSpot’s bill was incorrectly tabulated, but that sounds like saving face to us after we caught the overcharge. Game recognize game; hustle recognize hustle.

There’s no reason Arabesque can’t be a real gem, tucked away from traffic, a dreamy garden party for friends, but it needs to serve better cuts of meat, figure out what hours it’s actually open, and advertise, since no one knows it exists.

Location: 68/1 Sukhumvit Soi 2, about 500 meters down the soi, most of the way down, on the right-hand side.
Mass transit: BTS Nana
Hours: 11 am to midnight daily
Phone: 02-656-9440

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