The Bangkok Mules - Mekhong rum, brown sugar, ginger ale, lemongrass - at Salt went down a little bit too easily. It was the Mekhong rum, a classic spiced rum flavored with Thai herbs and spices that starts bitter and finishes sweet, that took me to another time: a time with Somerset Maugham and river deltas and mosquito nets: It was old, exotic Thailand. It seemed slightly incongruent that I was enjoying this evocation in Soi Ari at a modern restaurant with smooth concrete floors, wood trim, large windows, a constellation of liquors behind the bar, stone finished tables and a disc jockey.
Soi Ari is a part of the new Thailand. Hip sidewalk cafes and coffee shops are intermingled with a burgeoning ex-pat neighborhood. Down the road from Salt is the Muse Garden Cafe, a small restaurant and gallery that served a pork larb mixed with Japanese panko encrusted fish, a unexpectedly delightful fusion.
My wife drank the Lush - a white wine, lychee, apple and watermelon drink - while I worked through a few more Bangkok Mules and we sat at the tall windows next to the bar that faced a very busy Soi Ari. We watched as well-dressed Thai urbanites hopped out of taxies and tuk-tuks and into the hot Bangkok night. The food at Salt is decent, not exceptional, but the people watching and cocktails are simply divine.