A few Thai restaurants have come and gone in Ubud, over the past few years. Kokokan Club was the first and remains the only one today. When it first opened, the chef was Thai. He trained the local staff, and they carry on with his menu today.
This Thai menu has to be one of the most complex and complete ones available here in Bali. They offer 43 different Thai dishes, plus a few from neighbours; Singapore, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. Even a reasonable Potato Samosa from India.
A Som is the traditional way to start any Thai meal, a Thai salad. The freshness and sweetness of the fruit combines with crushed peanuts and chilli to cleanse the palate. Papaya is one of the more popular choices for a Som base, here it is combined with prawns. Yam Pla Muerk is a spicy squid salad, with celery and tomatoes and a mint chilli sauce.
Yam Wonsen is a glass noodle salad tossed with prawn, minced chicken, squid and a potent chilli sauce. Por Peh Sod are traditional cold, soft spring rolls, stuffed with shredded vegetables and glass noodles, covered with a sweet soy sauce. Tod Mung Goong are prawn cakes, but here the prawn mix is combined with vegetables more like its Indonesian equivalent. A dipping sauce would be an added improvement, so ask for one.
Tom Yam Goong is on the menu of course, as in just about every Bali non-Thai restaurant as well. Gai Tom Kah is the soup that I prefer, combining chicken with lemongrass and lime leaves in coconut milk. A couple of strays are the Undis Gerang Asam from Indonesia [black eye peas in a tamarind and chilli broth] and Kang Hed Say Hom Pom from Laos [a mushroom and coriander soup].
Hor Mok Talay is a steamed seafood mix wrapped in banana leaf, Goong ob Woonsen comes in a hot ceramic pot of glass noodles, mushrooms, prawns and lemongrass, an all-time favourite. There are a number of prawn curries, green, red and yellow, deep-fried fish and even a Laksa from Singapore.
Gai Hor By Teoy is another regular Thai favourite. Pieces of chicken are marinated, then wrapped tightly in pandanus leaves before being first steamed then deep-fried. Another regular is the Thai version of chicken and cashew nuts, Gai Phad Med Mamuang. This is one dish that everyone can eat, and enjoy! Hor Mok Gai is chicken breast that has been steamed in a banana leaf before being served with a mix of red chilli paste and coconut milk. Gai Pahd Kieng is chicken that has been stir-fried with ginger and onion.
A rogue item on the menu, Karampli Hor Sai Hed is described as Cabbage Rolls that have been stuffed with minced chicken and mushroom, a dish I have never encountered before in Thailand and no doubt regional.
That all time Thai special, Gaeng Ped Fucthong, heads the menu. Pieces of Roast Duck in that wonderful fragrant rich red curry coconut milk sauce. Whilst often combined with fruit [pineapple, lychees, etc] this version is with one of Thailand?s most popular vegetables, pumpkin, and excellent it is too. This main should be the centerpiece for any Thai feast, although here they also offer chicken and beef versions of this red curry dish.
For the lone diner there are also many rice and noodle dishes. The traditional Pad Thai [Thai noodles] with prawn, tofu, egg, bean sprouts and crushed peanuts is very popular as is the rice version, Khao Pahd Goong. Fried Rice is also served as a part of a few of the more popular main courses for those who cannot break old habits and demand to have everything just like ?back home? wherever that may have been.
A variety of vegetarian dishes are also available, Stuffed Eggplant, Steamed Mushrooms, a few stir-frys and a Japanese Vegetable Tempura. The only Thai dessert is a famous one, Fucthong Sungkaya [steamed pumpkin in custard].
The wine list is rather limited but wine is available by bottle or glass.
Thai food is not just hot chilli, some dishes are quite mild and some even sweet. The staff here will guide you if you are afraid of getting a chilli blast. Overall, Kokokan Club is a very pleasant old-fashioned dining room, with style, in a setting that faces water gardens and un-spoilt greenery in this quite retreat just outside of Ubud.