Al Saray – The jewel of Sala Daeng

by Daniel Sencier

A combination of Lebanese and Indian food was the magnet that drew us to this gem of a restaurant in bustling Sala Daeng, and we really didn’t want to leave! An immediate sparkling welcome from the beautiful restaurant supervisor, Khun Boonruang, started what was to be one of the most pleasant lunchtimes that we’ve experienced anywhere in the city.

The combination of excellent food and great service in pleasant surroundings and at a fair price is not easy to pull off, but here, Al Saray wins on every count. The restaurant is perfectly laid out, crisp, clean, sophisticated and an ambience that only exists where naturally happy people are enjoying their work. We decided to go for a complete mixture on the menu and the delightful hostess had no problem in explaining every dish in detail, even allowing me to practice my limited Thai as we laughed through the menu. The choice wasn’t easy; we could have ordered everything!


Several others were dining, all very happily chatting, tucking into a display of what our possibilities were. A couple who I spoke to said they have lunch there every week and feel like one of the family; such is the attraction of this well-kept secret. I envy anyone who hasn’t tried Lebanese cuisine because it really is “in a league of its own” and you still have your first time to look forward to. It marries into Indian food at Al Saray thanks to the skills displayed by sheer genius in the kitchen where new creations come as natural as light through the windows. Head Chef Hassan Farran, born and trained in Beirut and New Delhi born Chef Sampooran “Sam” Singh Panwar, give an undeniable stamp of authenticity to their extensive menu.

Our dishes started to arrive and on visual alone, I knew we were in for a treat; aromatic spices and herbs drifting in a haze behind the waitress as each creation landed. A full and detailed explanation was delivered as to how we could best enjoy each dish and recommending selected accompaniments. Mezzes of overwhelming variety, tender lamb and chicken, curry to set my palate on fire and humus to die for; the feast began! Did we manage a dessert? It would have been impolite not to, so on recommendation we both went for Kashtaliya with pistachio, rosewater and honey, skilfully served to our plate by a professional hand. Wow! I still dream of it!


Upstairs we found a private function room, ideal for business lunches or family parties, exotically decorated and in keeping with the surroundings on every floor; a virtual palace! As we left, we were accompanied to the door and thanked with the utmost courtesy, wishing us a pleasant day onwards. We’re looking forward to our next visit, and because it’s right beside the BTS Skytrain, we could very easily become “part of the family” at Al Saray.

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