As an expat who has been living in Thailand for some years I feel I’ve developed a finely tuned sense for what is a solid restaurant and what is a tourist trap fronting as a restaurant. It’s a survival skill that anyone that’s lived in the Big Mango for awhile develops to make these distinctions when navigating Bangkok’s food landscape. But sometimes things are NOT WHAT THEY SEEM. Indulge (official Facebook page) gave me the wake-up call I probably needed.
Because of Indulge’s central location on Sukhumvit (at the crossroads of the Asok MRT and Sukhumvit BTS stations) I probably walk past it 3-4 times a week. Each time I’ve walked past their water mister lined frontage, I’ve always assumed it was one of those restaurants taking advantage of its prime location near so many hotels to offer mediocre Thai food at exorbitant prices to tourists unaware of the trap they’d just walked into.
After my recent visit to Indulge I now realize that I could not have been more WRONG in my assumptions. Their menu is filled with unique fusion dishes as well as authentic Thai dishes at very reasonable prices. Their curries, sauces, breads, pastas, cakes and ice creams are also made fresh in house.
Do not judge this book by its cover. Indulge is truly a food gem in the Bangkok landscape and for me it’s been hiding in plain sight!
Let me show you just a taste of what they have to offer from my dining experience!
Where to start?
Indulge’s menu of starters provides a lot of jumping off points to kick start a meal. The only difficult thing is figuring out how to limit yourself so you don’t fill up on starters. Normally my gal and I get a single starter and share it–but we made an exception here because we each wanted to try something different.
It’s not a terrible thing to have too many choices…right?
Green Apple Crab
There are two things in the world that my gal won’t say no to: crabmeat and green apples. True story! So when given the menu her eyes locked on the Green Apple Crab (280 baht) dish like a drooling raptor. This dish was an excellent way to discover Indulge’s unique fusion offerings.
The salad is loaded with chunks of ender crab meat, tart green apples, celery, and a light dressing made with mayonnaise and curry. Covering the salad is a crunchy pastry shell that’s perfect to break up into makeshift scoopers to top with the salad. The dish is presented beautifully with a radish, sun dried tomatoes, greens, walnuts, and a decorative swirl of shockingly green dressing made with fresh basil and a touch of turmeric. Personally I’ve only seen this color in Marvel comic books–but wow does it compliment the dish!
I’m a fan of all larb dishes. I’ve had beef, duck, chicken, pork, and even crispy fish larb. This is the first time I’d seen Larb Salmon (280 baht) on the menu and I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity to try it! This dish is made with raw Atlantic salmon and all the herbs and Thai spices you’d expect from a larb.
One thing I really like about this dish is that Indulge doesn’t hold back on the spices. You can see in the picture all the thin strips of kaffir lime, red onions, and red chili heat in the mixture. It’s packed with flavor and portioned to share. If you’re a fan of larb I highly recommend this dish.
The main events…
One thing to note here, the “Mains” section of the menu is divided into 2 sections. The right side of the menu has the Thai dish and in the left section of the menu it’s fusion counterpart dish is offered. We tried a mix of traditional and fusion dishes but I’ll also note the counterpart dish for you just so you can have an idea what they’re rockin’ on the menu.
Coffee and Lemongrass Pork Belly
Before visiting Indulge I did some research. Seeing Coffee and Lemongrass Pork Belly (380 baht) on their menu is what convinced me to visit. Pork belly is one of those staple items in my diet–coffee and lemongrass marinade? I’m your Huckleberry. Not only was this my absolute favorite dish (that is sure to inspire future cravings), I want to know how to make this.
I got a few hints. I know the pork belly is marinated for 3 hours before being slow cooked in the marinade for another 18 hours. It explains why the pork is so tender you can cut it with a butter knife. I also suspect the skin is blow torched before serving to give it that slightly crunchy brûlée like surface. But that’s all the details I could get…
The dish is served with a veggie ratatouille and a decorative smear of apple and cider sauce whose vinegary bite cuts through the porky fatness. But c’mon, look at that pineapple topped pork belly. That’s the real star!
Its menu “counterpart” is a traditional Thai Red Chili Pork Belly (380 baht) served with sautéed French beans.
Green Curry Duck
Indulge does curries a little differently than other restaurants. At Indulge the meat is the main focus and substance of the dish and it’s not drowned in a soup of watery curry. This Green Curry Duck (380 baht) isn’t a traditional Thai curry–I’m sure the broccoli, eggplant, and pad of polenta gave that away, right?
But the curry itself is delicious and the thick slices of tender duck breast is incredible. If you’re a die-hard green curry traditionalist this might roundhouse your tastebuds. But if you’re a fan of duck and green curry you might just appreciate this fusion twist. I dug it!
The menu “counterpart” for this dish is the Pineapple and Fig Duck Polenta (450 baht) served with roasted rosemary pineapple and poached figs. After tasting the duck breast in this green curry I wouldn’t mind giving this other dish its day in court as well.
Lamb Shank Massamam
One of my favorite curries is massamam curry. This Lamb Shank Massamam (520 baht) has a hefty price tag–but it’s worth it because it’s served with an entire meaty New Zealand lamb shank. The curry is more like a thick gravy of spices for smearing on the lamb and potatoes. This is one of the best massamam curries I’ve had.
Can you see all the spices? It’s a generously portioned meal so bring company to share it–or bring it home with you for leftovers. We did and I vouch that it held up well for lunch the next day.
The menu “counterpart” for this dish is the Mediterranean Lamb Shank (560 baht) which is slow cooked with Arabian spices and served with couscous and veggies.
Indulge’s dessert menu shifts accordingly to the fresh ingredients they get. On their current menu, this You’re a Little Cheesy (390 baht) is a special Grana cheesecake, covered in buttery cream cheese frosting, with a tart berry compote, slices of fresh fruit, and raspberry sorbet. Yum!
Too full? Not to worry. You can always finish your meal with dessert-like cocktail such as The Insomniac (280 baht), a chocolate espresso martini with Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, and espresso, a Tipsy Affogato (280 baht) made with Frangelico, espresso and vanilla bean ice cream, or a classic Irish Coffee (280 baht) made with Jameson Whiskey, caramelized brown sugar, and cream foam.
A word about drinks…
Speaking of drinks, Indulge’s top shelf bar concoctions in their signature cocktail menu allow your liver to indulge as well!
During our visit we went on a chrysanthemum kick. I enjoyed a Chrysanthemum Mule (300 baht) made with chrysanthemum infused Absolut Vodka, chrysanthemum juice, fresh lime, lychee, ginger, and ginger beer in a copper mug. My gal sipped on a CG&T (290 baht) made with chrysanthemum infused Beefeater Gin, chrysanthemum juice, tonic, a twist of lime, and a sprig of rosemary.
If you prefer wine, the bottle on each table serves as a wine list and is worth exploring. Red wines start at 260 baht per glass or 1,260 baht per bottle. White wines start at 270 baht per glass and 1,300 baht per bottle. If you want bubbles Prosecco is served at 200 baht per glass or 1,200 baht per bottle.
Don’t get me started on the beer….the selection is good and the happy hour specials are also wallet friendly!
A chat with the owner…
During my visit I had a chance to visit with one of the owners, Dee. Opened in May 2014, Indulge is a family owned and operated restaurant with Dee running the front office operations, her husband Nick working behind the scenes, and daughter Channi creating both the food and drink menu. I was unable to chat with Channi during the time of my visit as she was in Sri Lanka learning with the chef of Ministry of Crab. You see, this is the family that is bringing the world famous Ministry of Crab to Bangkok next month!
But chatting with Dee she explained that the ideas for all the unique dishes stem from what Channi learned while attending culinary and hospitality school in Switzerland, learned on the job in London restaurants, or pulled from her travels in Asia, Europe, and North America (as an example, the Salsa Verde Baby Chicken (370 baht) is based on a friend’s recipe who is a famous chef in New York City).
Normally in my articles I like to take a picture of the owner or chef. Dee preferred that I didn’t. Not that she’s shy or anything like that–she just doesn’t want to be singled out for Indulge’s success. She believes it’s truly a team effort with everyone in the kitchen, in the front, and behind the scenes contributing. According to TripAdvisor reviews it’s clear that Indulge is successful. At the time of this article 1,665 reviews put Indulge at #50 ranking out of 11,795 restaurants in Bangkok.
So no pictures of Dee. Just happy staff and happy customers. But if you’d like to see Dee just go there anytime between 10am and 10pm. You’re sure to meet her!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Indulge is near the corner of Sukhumvit and Asok–you’ve probably walked past this restaurant several times already. If you liked what you’ve read in this article then go in. You won’t be disappointed!
It is an easy walking distance from both the Asok BTS station and the Sukhumvit MRT station. Parking is also available at the Interchange 21 Building next door.
There is outside seating along Sukhumvit road which is excellent for people watching (and non-smoking). For smokers there is a raised section outside with an attached bar. Wanting to escape the heat? There’s ample seating inside and they are able to move tables around to accommodate for any sized group (though large groups should consider making reservations in advance!).
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to visit Indulge I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram. However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!