A new addition to Chiang Mai’s dining scene, Mixology Burger and Bar opened last month (August 2013) providing a modern twist on some classic northern Thai dishes. I’ve eaten here a few times now and been bowled over by the quality of the food. Mixology’s slogan is ‘taste got your tongue’, but that doesn’t just apply to the food it’s also apt for the wonderful range of cocktails. The owners, a young Thai couple, Khun Zen and Khun Bee, have put a lot of thought and care into Mixology to create a vibrant and unique venue with a lovely atmosphere. They clearly have a passion for food and drink and their creativity shines through in the menu and service.
Chiang Mai Mixology burger
I’ve sampled a few dishes now and been very impressed with each one I’ve tried. The quality of the ingredients used is superb and the presentation has been delightful. The owners are proud to use locally sourced organic products in their dishes and whilst the portions aren’t huge, what they lack in size they more than make up for in taste and quality. There’s also been a lot of imagination used to put together some of the items on the menu like the signature dish, the Chiang Mai burger (pictured above). No burger buns used here, that would be too obvious and not very Thai. Instead, two servings of pandan sticky rice are used as an alternative to bread. They are wrapped around the northern-Thai style ground pork patty which is seasoned with local mixed herbs to give it a really tasty zing. Presented on a pandanus leaf with accompanying fresh vegetables, this 120 Baht dish is inventive and delicious.
Grilled vegetable salad with pesto sauce (150 Baht)
Pick some organic vegetables sourced from the Chiang Mai highlands, grill them to perfection and then slowly drizzle over a mouth-watering home-made pesto sauce of Thai basil and Thai mint, place on a banana leaf and you have . . .
Grilled vegetable salad with home-made pesto sauce
Potato skins (120 Baht)
With a selection of fillings which currently includes a choice of nam prik ong, grilled pork, northern-style Thai sausage or sour cream and chilli. So far, I’ve tried the nam prik ong a spicy dip of tomato and pork which is a Chiang Mai classic. On first bite I thought it was a little bland, but then the full flavours kicked in combining perfectly with the potato to produce a delightful dish.
Potato skins with nam prik ong filling
As good as the food is at Mixology, equal billing should also be given to the drinks menu. And what a menu it is. You’d expect to see Singha beer on the list, but you might be surprised to see Australian wines, a wide range of mocktails and a truly impressive selection of cocktails. It would be fair to say that I like the occasional tipple and I’ve sampled my fair share of drinks in different countries around the world, but I’ve never tasted anything quite like the ‘P[r]ick me up cocktail’ below which is probably the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. This is how it’s described on the Mixology menu:
P[r]ick me up cocktail
Tom yum infused Vodka, coconut liqueur, palm sugar, lime and chilli. ‘Prick’ means chilli which is the symbol of hot and spicy. This glass gives you the original Thai taste and makes you become a prick . . . oops . . . a Hot Girl or Guy.
Tom yam vodka cocktail
The word ‘wow’ isn’t one I use often, but it’s the first thing that tumbled out of my mouth when I tasted this drink. I chatted with the Thai mixologist who blended it and he told me had learned his craft in London and his enthusiasm made me smile as he explained his aim was to educate Thai consumers that there are more drinks out there than beer and whisky. If the tom yam infused vodka or other classic long-drinks doesn’t get your vote, there’s an almost endless list of alternatives to choose from and I’m already looking forward to trying some of the more adventurous items on the drinks menu like the Tower of Assassination which I’m told involves blue flames and a towering inferno of liqueur!
Sometimes when you walk into a bar or restaurant you haven’t been in before you just get a good vibe. It’s not always tangible, it’s just there; a sense of friendliness and comfort that says you’ve made a good choice. I had a ‘sabai sabai‘ feeling the first time I stepped through the door of Mixology. Credit for that goes to not just the owners, but to all of the staff at Mixology. Rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that the staff actually enjoy being there and it’s a good balance of sanuk and professionalism. A special mention too for the charming and extremely chilled-out PR manager, Junior. Born in England but raised in Thailand, Junior looks set to become a star attraction in his own right judging by the amount of customers taking photos of him.
My meet and greet with Mr Junior
The décor at Mixology is a mix of vintage finds from various street markets like Portobello Road and Brick Lane in London and Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. There is some quirky stuff on display here, but it fits in well in this environment and combines particularly well with the trendy but welcoming atmosphere of the bar. It’s definitely not your average Thai bar or restaurant and the owners should be applauded for having the vision to try something different. The venue isn’t particularly big, but I think that works in their favour providing a more intimate and welcoming space for customers. I’ve noticed during my visits that the clientèle has been mainly Thai, which I take to be a good sign in a city where the locals are invariably the most discerning customers.
A real gem of a place and one well worth seeking out if you visit Chiang Mai. In fact, the tom yam vodka cocktail alone is a good enough reason to visit! Don’t be intimidated if you can’t speak Thai, the owners and staff speak perfect English and the menu is available in English too. Whenever I’ve visited the food and service has been outstanding and this is somewhere I will definitely be taking friends and family.
Mixology is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 to midnight*. They are located just inside the moat in the south-west corner of the old town area of Chiang Mai in between The Rim hotel and Nong Buak Hat Park. Take a tuk-tuk or red songthaew to get there. If you’re staying in the Old Town area of Chiang Mai, Mixology is a 10-minute walk from Wat Phra Singh.
*Any changes to opening/closing times are posted by the owners on their Mixology Chiang Mai Facebook page »