The name Cabbages and Condoms does not really elicit thoughts of a delicious meal, enjoying the ambiance, or much else related to taste oriented oral delights. On the other hand…..
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Getting to Cabbages & Condoms Pattaya
Having spent the morning navigating traffic jams and the senseless driving of all around, I was hungry and our Chef Phasinee was in a sour mood. “I am hungry!” she declared.
A few suggestions were made that only seemed to be worsening the atmosphere. The car turned and the announcement made that we were on our way to Cabbages and Condoms.
“What! Are You Joking?”
I think the Chef Phasinee was about to commit homicide and I was not really enthused with the idea either! Cabbages and Condoms as the name of a restaurant, does not really conjure up great ambiance nor pleasurable oral delights, so far as food is concerned at least.
A short climb up Pratumnak Hill and then descent towards the sea, led us to the Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant and Resort car park. Things were definitely looking up!
This place looked classy!
The Walk from Parking to Restaurant
The restaurant is a fair way from the car park and you first enter the resort reception area which begins to set the scene. A waterfall wall with the beginnings of an explanation as to the ‘Why' Cabbages & Condoms exists.
It is, in part, a business that promotes education for rural Thais, extending the original raison d'etre which was to promote the use of condoms during the beginnings of the HIV crisis in Bangkok. It has come a very long way since.
We walked further along the path which gently slopes down towards the sea, passing some hydroponic equipment and gardens clearly used to grow some of the produce used at the restaurant.
Along the way, you walk past villas that are available for stay if you are on vacation – and I would love to stay there!
Amusing signs pepper the way as well, some of which you can see from the photos I have added.
For those with wheelchairs, the paths are thoughtfully laid out for easy navigation and very pleasant though the distance from the car park to the restaurant is a fiar distance compared to most places.
The walk is worth it and there is plenty to spark your interest as you go and perhaps pause to take in the environment rather than rush from car to table.
They have thoughtfully provided plenty of shade thanks to the trees and have a water spray system that cools you in the hottest of days.
It has obviously been very well thought out with great attention to detail.
When we got to the restaurant we entered the reception area which has statues featuring clothes made from condoms as well as other imagery to augment the founding idea of the restaurant.
With the sea as a background and its west-facing view, you would be able to see the sunset if you book in the early evening. We were here at lunchtime so we had the shimmering sea to look at as well as interesting condom shaped lampshades and glass-topped tables under which condoms are tastefully arranged.
If you can tastefully arrange condoms that is ha ha.
To be honest the decoration is not all condoms, there are carvings and other things to look at.
The condom theme does not make it unfriendly to families – in fact there were a few families there and no one seemed to be distraught at the theme.
We sat down at our table which is elevated from the sea, sitting on the side of Pratumnak Hill and looking out across the sea. It really was lovely.
Service, Pricing & Menu
Service at the restaurant was quick and attentive with serving girls who are quick to give a smile to make your heart stir and were efficient in taking our order despite our indecision on what best to eat.
The menu is quite standard fare so far as dishes on offer is concerned. Most of these would be found on many a better-than-average restaurant menu. But there were a few exceptions such as whole leg of lamb (for 4-6 persons) that you would search far and wide to find.
The standard Thai dishes are competitively priced, especially when you take into account the view and location of the restaurant.
The Western Style dishes were more pricey but the cost of Western Food is so very high in Thailand as it is taxed to the max. If you want to contribute to the treasury then eating whole legs of lamb and imported steak is a great way to help.
What We Ate
We stuck to traditional favorites though. Garlic Bread was the least Thai selection ordered, and the least good of all the dishes. The butter used tasted a little odd but at least there was a good spread rather than the usual minimal smear that you'll become used to getting in most Thai restaurants! 6/10 for the garlic bread.
We had Mieng Kham as a starter which looked great. It is a North-Eastern Thai dish comprising betel leaves and a mix of dried shrimp, peanuts and other tasty morsels which you lace with sauce and then feed your salivating mouth.
Video – How to Eat Mieng Karm
Mieng Kham is a great dish but this offering was a bit too dry and lacked the taste it should have achieved. It wasn't bad but not great either and I think could do with a few added ingredients to make it exceptional. But it is not usual food for us so a 6/10 for novelty.
The main courses were Baked Coconut Rice, Hor Mok Seafood, Geang Kua Kung Saparot (Pineapple & Shrimp Curry), and for desserts Look Tan Loy Keaw (Palm Fruit in Syrup) and Banana Fritters with Ice Cream.
The three main courses were excellent.
The rice was aromatic and served in a hollowed-out coconut in which it may very well have been baked. Whatever the method the presentation was top-notch with a few peanuts sprinkled on top which I liked.
I must confess I love Hor Mok and Hor Mok Seafood is my favorite – it also comes in various other varieties such as Hor Mok Pla (made simply with fish morsels) and sometimes other protein bases. Hor Mok Pla Salmon is another great order if you find it on the menu – it wasn't on this one.
Hor Mok is a Southern Thai curry commonly served in banana leaf parcels for individuals or sometimes a larger banana leaf container for multiple portions. I expected a fairly small portion but was pleasantly surprised.
Full of prawns or shrimp, squid and surrounded by a deliciously creamy steamed curry that is partially set, it tasted amazing. Quite often, you will find restaurants serving rather small prawns and sliced squid in this dish but not at Cabbages and Condoms. Nice large juicy prawns and the tender tentacles from that end of the squid (the best bit). 10/10
Some people hate pineapple on pizza and some people hate it in curry. I can't say I hate it but usually find curry containing pineapple to be underwhelming. I think maybe because some restaurants use pineapple that is not fresh enough or put too much in.
Curry is a great mask for not so fresh ingredients.
“Chuck anything in that is past its sell-by date and who's to know!” seems to be the thinking.
I have to say that THIS Geang Kua Kung Saparot Curry was fantastic. The curry tasted creamy and not too spicy, the pineapple was fresh and had some bite left to it so not overcooked, and the same large juicy prawns devoid of head and shell, (well the tail shell remained which is a handy way to handle them), were swimming around to be fished out and enjoyed. Another 10/10
I should say the service staff taking our order, a trainee who was cuter than a button in the pretty sense and cuter than a bug's ear in the smart sense and had a lovely smile. She had the sense to ask how spicy we wanted our food.
This is not the norm in Thailand and if you are not asked then do tell.
Thai restaurants are not big on desserts. In many cases, the Dessert menu seems rather like an afterthought – a postscript to the important business having been taken care of.
Cabbages and Condoms was no different sadly. A rather uninspired set of sweets to choose from that sorely needs an upgrade.
For dessert, we ordered the Look Tan Loy Keaw (Palm Fruit in Syrup) which is the fruit of palm served in ice and syrup. To be honest it was as uninspiring as the dessert menu and as a dish needs something else with it – though I am not sure what. It tasted very ordinary. 6/10 for being a bit boring.
The banana fritters were somewhat better. To put things in perspective, banana fritters are usually soggy, oily pieces of soggy overripe banana or, in an attempt to counter the oiliness, crisped to the extreme.
But that complaint cannot be leveled at the Cabbages and Condoms dish. The bananas were ripe but still firm and the batter was softly crisp and obviously cooked in oil at the right temperature.
They complimented the ice cream nicely and for once the whipped cream did not smother the entire plate. Tastefully done and quite tasty for an 8/10.
The coffee to finish was worse than some but better than others. It was freshly ground and not some powdered coffee that some joints offer. Served in a nice looking branded cup that set it off and some warm frothed milk on the side. It had a rather bitter aftertaste so it only gets 7/10.
In conclusion, Cabbages and Condoms restaurant is a quirky restaurant in name as well as decoration. The food ranges from fantastic to a bit up from ordinary but the fantastic definitely trumps the ordinary.
When you add on the charming and helpful service and the fantastic ambiance all at quite reasonable prices then you have a stand out restaurant.
Sitting at a table overlooking the sea is quite wonderfully relaxing so do make sure that you book to ensure you get a seaside [sic] table. The restaurant is terraced so there are a good number but it gets busy sometimes so booking is advised.
Given the good views, prices and overall food quality the resort itself might be worth a look too!
Review Summary & Telephone Number for Bookings
Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant
Great views from this terraced restaurant on Pratumnak Hill South of Pattaya. Some excellent dishes in the extensive menu which also offers limited Western food if you must. Fresh, premium ingredients without skimping on quantity and tended with a chef's hand. Service very good and with a smile. Great place overall.
Price Range – $$ – Moderate
A note on star ratings. For each item 0 stars is very poor, 1 star is Average, 2 stars is Quite Good, 3 Stars is Good, 4 Stars is Very Good, 5 Stars is Exceptional. The various ratings are then averaged for an overall score.
In any category, it will be very hard to score 5 as marks are deducted fairly aggressively. Any restaurant scoring over 4 stars in the summary is well worth going out of your way to visit for a special occasion. 3-4 stars is well worth trying if you are in the area and very good and 2-3 stars is good enough for a regular meal more so than a special occasion. Note also that the pricing affects the star rating – an expensive restaurant will have to be proportionately better than a cheaper one.
Bookings Tel: 038 250556-8
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Ty lives in Pattaya with his family and loves to travel and eat nice food. His favorite drink is Matcha Green Tea at the moment.
Ty creates videos on Youtube (Tastes & Places) and reviews all manner of places to see as well as great places to eat so that you can choose the best places to spend your valuable vacation time.