Growing up in a North West London suburb with a large Asian community, authentic Indian food was never hard to come by. I have grown up surrounded by Indian restaurants, Indian sweet shops and cash and carries selling snacks, spices and fresh fruit and veg.
In fact, I never realised how much I took for granted being able to walk around the corner to grab a quick samosa or some Indian sweets until last week when I had a sudden urge for real Indian food. I guess I was feeling homesick!
Now I knew I didn’t want to venture into Sukhumvit road (tourist central in Bangkok) to eat bland western style curries with the sexpats so I decided to do a bit of digging and see if I could find some real deal Indian food. After asking around and doing a lot of Googling, one name kept coming up; Toney Restaurant in, you guessed it, Bangkok’s Little India or Phahurat as it’s known here.
We decided to get the Chao Phraya Express Boat from Sathorn pier to Memorial bridge and walk from there. It took about 10 minutes and was an excellent opportunity to soak up some of the local atmosphere. Little India is not an obvious place; you could easily walk straight through it if you weren’t paying attention. The only difference between Phaharat and any other typical Thai neighbourhood is what is being sold so make sure you’re paying attention!
The Road up from the pier is called Chakphet Road. To get to Toney Restaurant, you just follow the road up to the India Emporium Mall. Directly opposite the mall is a parade of shops. Toney’s in behind that by a small canal. All you have to do is go down one of the little lanes in between the hole in the wall restaurants, walk to the canal and you can’t miss it (it’s easier than it sounds but thank God for google maps!).
Now for the food, we decided on all vegetarian dishes, but they do serve meat dishes there.
Here’s what we ordered:
Shahi Paneer – Butter Paneer.
Chana Masala – Chickpea Curry.
Rajmah – Kidney Bean Curry.
Roti bread – Indian flatbread
Aloo Paratha – Indian bread stuffed with spiced potatoes.
Did I find the authentic Indian food I was looking for? Absolutely!
The shahi paneer was exceptional, really creamy and rich, with large chunks of seared paneer cheese. Shahi paneer has got to go down as one of my favourite Indian dishes of all time, so I’m incredibly fussy about it. The Toney version passed the test with flying colours.
The chana masala was well spiced with good heat coming from plenty of chilli powder; It didn’t blow my head off, but the chilli was unquestionably there.
The rajmah was a little runnier than I’m used to but still better than I’ve had elsewhere in Bangkok. I’m not sure I would order this a second time around as it was just OK.
The Rotis were soft and charred to perfection, hand stretched and cooked to order over a coal fire.
The paratha bread was unbelievable. Honestly, I can say it was one of the best parathas I’ve had, and that’s saying something. They are jam-packed with a spicy, garlicky potato filling and wrapped up in a crispy bread like a kind of fajita. Do NOT miss these if you come to Toney.
We didn’t leave a single drop in any of the bowls which tells you we enjoyed it. The best part is the whole meal came in at 220 Baht for. That’s £4 for both of us with two drinks of water, which makes it some of the cheapest Indian food in the city. And believe me, we came out stuffed like the paratha!
You’re not going to find a five star setting at Toney’s but what you will be greeted with is some real deal, authentic, cheap Indian food for when you’re sick of rice and noodles!
To get there either take the Chao Praya Express Boat to Memorial Bridge (N6) and walk 10 minutes. Alternatively, take the MRT to Hua Lamphong and get a tuk-tuk or it’s a 30-minute walk.