Uncle John is the type of restaurant that is famous not just because of its food, but also because of the way its made. The story is that Chef Sanjorn Chamnikpa, also known as Uncle John, was working at a 5-star hotel restaurant by day and moonlighting at his own street side restaurant at night, producing delicious 5-star French classics at a fraction of the price. Since its early days the restaurant has gone through a few reservations and changed a little, but the food is just as good and the concept stays the same.
One of the best-known dishes is the steak rossini. It's a hearty piece of steak topped with a generous slice of foie gras, a bit of sauce and some thick cut chips. Other items might include lamb shanks or duck breast, or even a fresh steak tartare. The food is top quality classic European cuisine and there are some Thai favourites on the menu too. What is most impressive is that every dish is cooked by Uncle John himself, but he's not cooking in a fancy kitchen. Instead, his kitchen sits out the front of the shop with a small fire stove and oven that you'd expect from any Thai street food restaurant.
The meals are a little more expensive than your standard Thai restaurant or street stall, but for what you receive they're still phenomenal prices. You could expect to pay at least double at any hotel restaurant for an identical meal. The atmosphere in the restaurant is warm and cosy, but still laid back despite the fancy plates. It's not unusual to have a cat decide to curl up at your feet while you enjoy your meal.
It may seem a little unusual to put traditional French cuisine on your itinerary when you're travelling through Bangkok, but Uncle John is a uniquely Thai experience. While you might find similar food at restaurants around the world, you're unlikely to experience it in quite the same way. There will be plenty more nights for a plate of pad thai while sitting on a street corner, but you should dedicate at least one day to meal at Uncle John.