Riverside repast

The restaurant’s gourmet rendition of the street dessert khanom krok.

A two-minute walk down an old town alley toward the Chao Phraya River recently led me to “Supanniga Eating Room By Khun Yai x Roots Coffee”.

This 70-seat Bangkok establishment, which looks as inviting as it is interesting, is in a small, waterfront space between a local shrine and a rundown warehouse.

Supanniga x Roots, as it is popularly known, is the culinary collaboration between two Sukhumvit wunderkinds — six-year-old traditional Thai restaurant brand Supanniga and four-year-old coffee roaster Roots.

The joint venture project, which opened two weeks ago and boasts some of city’s most exquisite views of the river, serves as an all-day dining venue that offers authentic home-styled Thai cuisine along with carefully selected coffee-based drinks.

The menu is a slightly smaller version of Supanniga’s full-scale spread, but still extensive with all the classics. Savoury dishes are few but the choices of snacks and sweets are more generous. This is probably to cater to time-rich café-hoppers in need of light bites, as well as sightseers who are here for a snack by the river.

Although it was a gloomy weekday afternoon, the place enjoyed brisk business. Flocking the 40-seat, air-con restaurant was a mix of locals and tourists, who ironically seemed to be here for a substantial meal rather than a snack.

The appetiser platter (295 baht) features an assortment of traditional Thai light bites re-created with little twists and is the restaurant’s recommendation as a starter.

Rice crackers are served with a house-made sweet-spicy dip made with roasted chilli paste and tiny morsels of pork crackling; ma hor or caramelised balls of minced pork and ground peanuts arrive on tangerine pulp instead of pineapple; and miang-styled wraps are represented by sweet pork floss and orange in cha-phlu (betel) leaves.

The 70-seater is set in a two-storey waterfront structure and boasts some of city’s most exquisite views of the Chao Phraya River. photo: photographer

Among many entrées much-loved by regulars is the yum neua lai (190 baht) or sour and spicy beef shank salad, which exhibits a nice marbling web of collagen-rich tissue and crunchy consistency, and fresh Chinese celery.

The supple shank can be had in phad kaphrao or in a sweet panaeng curry, as well.

In the gaeng (curries and tom yum soup) category, moo cha-muang (240 baht) is without a doubt the best-seller. Supanniga’s impressively subtle rendering of the eastern Thai coastal stewed pork with tangy garcinia leaves proves again and again my favourite compared to versions offered anywhere else.

Although I never miss ordering it every time I am at Supanniga, I felt several other authentic Thai curries are equally worth-sampling. They include gaeng khi lek or creamy curry of Thai copper pod tips with grilled beef or pork; Southern-styled curry with crabmeat and chopped betel leaves; tom khlong pla krob or sour and spicy herbal consomme of smoked dry fish; green curry of house-kneaded fish balls; and beef massaman curry.

The all-day dining eatery blends traditional Thai restaurant and a coffee house. photo: photographer

The menu offers two chilli dip platters, nam phrik kapi and nam phrik khai pu.

We went with the latter (240 baht) and were pleased with the sour and spicy blonde-hued dip generously leavened with seawater crab roe and crabmeat, a tasty unification between eggy crab roe, refreshingly tangy lime zest and a dash of fresh chillies.

Next up was Supanniga’s faultless rendition of khai luk khoey (170 baht). Medium-boiled whole duck eggs delicately flash-fried until the exterior turns bubbly and golden brown. It is served with a salty-sweet tamarind-shallot sauce.

Another dish ideal for those with a spice-sensitive palate is the fried cabbage with premium soy sauce (170 baht). Each leaf of fresh cabbage is wok-charred to gain a slightly salty-sweet caramelise crust and is delicious with or without rice.

The restaurant has a decent selection of personal-portioned rice and noodle dishes. Featured menu dishes are phad Thai with crab roe, Khon Kaen-styled fried rice, wok-fried seafood suki yaki and khao khluk kapi (fried rice with fermented shrimp paste served with assorted condiments).

The café’s sweet offerings are just as praiseworthy as its savoury counterparts. The 14-item dessert collection offers a mix between local classics and Western dainties.

The Appetiser platter features a trio of traditional Thai snacks.

Among the highlights are rich and creamy Thai tea panna cotta (120 baht), which is the restaurant’s signature dessert and newly introduced is the pandanus cake with layers of sago pearls, young coconut flesh, coconut cream mousse and palm sugar glaze (150 baht).

Should you be in a mood for Thai desserts, there are khanom krok or pan-baked, freshly-squeezed coconut cream soufflé with assorted toppings (150 baht), khanom pang sangkhaya or steamed bread with creamy butterfly pea custard dip (150 baht) and mango sticky rice with organic coconut ice cream (190 baht), to chose from.

Add a cosmopolitan French flair to your visit with orange cheesecake with Grand Marnier sauce (180 baht) and pineapple upside-down cake with burnt caramel rum sauce (150 baht).

As a coffee bar, it offers a decent variety of cold-brews and espresso-based concoctions. Whether you choose to settle on classic choices or house creations you won’t regret it.

Should you need recommendations, my best are the Trio Cold Brew, a mixture of coffee with layers of Thai tea, chocolate sauce, house-made condensed milk and fresh milk on ice (120 baht) and the Hanuman Cold Brew, a black coffee infused with dehydrated jackfruit flesh and a special blend of oolong and chrysanthemum tea topped with sun-dried banana and icing sugar (140 baht).

The restaurant is equipped with a private pier and can be easily accessed by boat. Options include taking the public boat, scheduled tourist boat or a private chartered boat from Sathon pier (BTS Saphan Taksin) or River City.

Medium-boiled duck eggs with a bubbly exterior is served with a salty-sweet tamarind-shallot gravy.

The sour and spicy beef shank salad.

A platter of nam phrik khai pu or chilli dip with crabmeat and roe, accompanied by fresh vegetables.

The coffee bar offers a decent variety of cold-brews and espresso-based concoctions. photo: photographer