I feel a little sad as I write this blog post about Bangpop, not because I don’t like it or had a bad experience, oppositely Mr Bao and I had a great meal and enjoyed the dishes there. But I am sadden by the fact that The Sharing House has now closed down and Bangpop has now taken over. I first heard about Bangpop from Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar) who got an email from a PR company telling her this bad news. We were both really shocked and surprised that such an good restaurant would be gone in such a short period of time >_< I have visited a few times and have always liked their dishes. We suspect it is because during the weeknights, The Sharing House found it hard to attract enough customers to sustain business :(
Anyhow, I have always liked Paul Mathis (owner) restaurants such as The Sharing House, Henry and The Fox, Coffeehead and many more. So I definitely wanted to try Bangpop and also support them ~ Through Instagram, I found out that Bangpop had a ‘soft-opening’ for the first two weeks and offered a 25% off the whole bill. Perfect timing to try, after all Thai food is one of my favourite types of cuisines. I made a booking on the last day of their ‘soft-opening’ and was able to get a table for two at 6:30pm. As you can see from the picture, ‘The Sharing House’ signage has not been removed yet and simply painted black, while there wasn’t any clear signage of Bangpop yet, however, the menu was stuck on the windows near the front door for customers to look at.
I was really curious to see if they would change the decor of the restaurant, especially the bar area which cost more than $12,000 worth of lego. It was a relief to see the lego still there but the words ‘The Sharing House’ were no longer there. Even though this space has now become a Thai restaurant with the same chairs and tables, we didn’t feel like we were dining in a new restaurant.
I even recognised some of the waitering staff, like the manager in this photo who’s making the coffee :) He was always nice and helpful and would always try to remember customer’s names, which I found quite nice, as not waiting staff do that ~ The waitress who looked after our table was also very friendly, and told us that they were in the trial and error phase and welcomed any type of feedback.
Bangpop’s menu was quite simple with a range of small/entree dishes, salads, curries, mains and desserts. We started our meal with the marinated chicken spare ribs with nam jim talay and picked shallots. I don’t think I’ve had this Thai dish before, but I really liked the tenderness of the chicken spareribs and the crispiness of the chicken skin. The nam jim talay had a good balance of sweet, sour and spicy, we found it to be a great appetiser as the sourness helped increase jump start our appetite :P
Green papaya salad is my ‘must-order’ dish whenever I go to a Thai restaurant, I love the crunchiness from the green papaya and crushed peanuts. This salad was more on the sour and spicy side, which I really liked because I like my salads to be extra spicy :P While Mr Bao struggled with the heat and drank a lot of water hahaha sorry I’m a bit mean ~
For our mains we chose the beef shin which was cooked for 16 hours in a penang curry with fresh shallot, lime leaves and coriander. The curry was much milder in flavour with only a little heat to it and strong coconut flavour through it.
The beef shins were cooked wonderfully and was tender and soft to eat, definitely the way we like our meat. Mr Bao really liked the curry sauce and kept putting more on of it over his rice :D
Mr Bao requested that we order the “Khao Mun Kai” which is a chicken Maryland cooked in chicken stock with rice and nam jim. I thought this dish was going to be a Thai version of the Hainanese chicken rice and even though there were similarities, especially with the three sauces provided. The sweet and sticky soy sauce, the nam jim and the clear chicken stock. However, it was quite different in terms of flavour and texture as the rice was not fragrant and the chicken pieces were Maryland which had no bones. We enjoyed this dish especially the sauces, but found the chicken pieces to be a little bland and could have been improved with some seasoning ~
I don’t know why we were still hungry after all that food lol so we decided to add a Pad Thai with tofu, garlic chives, bean sprouts and fried shallots, but to Mr Bao’s disappointment it was actually a vegetarian dish and I’m sure you all know how he feels about vegetarian dishes :P Having said that though, we really liked the flavours of this pad thai and what really impressed us was how dry it was and not at all oily or sticky :)
Time for dessert :) I let Mr Bao choose what he wanted and he ordered the deep fried ‘sugar banana’ served with coconut ice-cream. Sorry I don’t really remember how much this cost but I assume it would be about the same as the other dessert at around $8.90. Unfortunately we didn’t like this dessert very much, the sugar bananas which I assume to be lady fingers were deep fried in a light batter, which strangely tasted quite savoury and underneath it there was little chilli flakes and a spicy and salty syrup. We felt that this dessert was more savoury than sweet, even though the coconut ice-cream was lovely and creamy.
I wasn’t going to say anything but the manager came over and asked us how the desserts were and I told him nicely that it tasted rather savoury and spicy and whether this was what it was supposed to taste like. He was very professional took our advice and went back to the kitchen to ask the chef, turns out that the chilli was supposed to be there as it was a chilli sugar syrup but they forgot to write that in the description. The manager was very generous and insisted that he take this dessert off our menu even though we declined and said we were happy to pay. I think it’s very rare to find restaurants who are wiling to take constructive criticism and take that feedback and improve their dishes :D Very impressed with this!
The other dessert we got as one that I saw over on Pig Out Travels post and was immediately intrigued because I know I love young coconut water and the flesh so thought it would be wonderful when made into a jelly. But my first reaction when I saw the dessert was ‘It’s TINY!’ hahaha don’t be mislead by the photo because it was a really tiny glass probably the size of a medium apple! But that’s okay because they do say ‘good things come in small packages’ e.g. diamond rings :P Anyhow, this dessert did not disappoint it was wonderfully refreshing and light as it used young coconuts and mature ones which had stronger flavours and richer texture. I would have liked it even more if it was just a tiny bit bigger, because I wanted more of it :D
Overall, Mr Bao and I really enjoyed Bangpop, dishes were good and reasonably priced, service was slow at times but given that it was their soft opening it’s understandable. We really appreciated the fact that they actually took our feedback about the dessert and was going to work on it :) Even though I still miss The Sharing House and really hope that we will see up again somewhere else, I had a chat with Path Mathis on Twitter and understand financially it wasn’t feasible to keep it running. I think Bangpop has some big shoes to fill, but they’re doing a fine job and I’m looking forward to revisiting again :D