TL;DR: Come for the amazing condom art, fun atmosphere and cheap, homely Thai food
We’ll be perfectly honest. You’re probably not going to be visiting Cabbages & Condoms on Sukhumvit Soi 12 for any gourmet cuisine.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s pretty good – simple, classic Thai food in large portions at reasonable prices. You can’t go too far wrong here.
We started with some vegetarian spring rolls (Po Pia Tod) and chicken with mushroom parcels (Thung Thong) which were both perfectly crispy on the outside with a flavourful filling. The parcels did tend a little towards the dry side so we did need to make full use of the sweet chilli dipping sauce to moisten them up a bit.
Next came stir fried vegetables with shrimp, pork and chicken (Phad Phak Noppakao) which was a triumph in textures if not in nuanced flavour. Meaty shrimp and moist cuts of pork and chicken complemented by crisp al dente vegetables with a light sauce – very satisfying.
The stir fried beef in oyster sauce (Nuea Phad Nam Mun Hoi) told a similar story with feather-light beef contrasting with the textures of mushroom and bell pepper.
Dessert came in the form of mango with sweet rice (Khao Niew Mamuang) and banana fritters (Kluay Horm Tod) – two perennial favourites of What’s On Sukhumvit. They weren’t much to look at – Cabbages & Condoms don’t seem too fussed with presentation – but they didn’t need to be.
The mango was perfectly ripe with the sticky rice offsetting its sweetness nicely, completed with a healthy dollop of coconut milk and, if you’re after some creamy, melt-in-your-mouth gluttony, then the banana fritters will serve you well too.
Washed down with a few Singhas, we left sated and a few pounds heavier than when we walked in. If that’s not a glowing review, then I don’t know what is.
But, of course, however satisfying the food, the main draw of Cabbages & Condoms is the wonderfully unique condom sculptures and decorations.
We should explain – the restaurant is actually an income-generating vessel of the Population and Community Development Association and is designed to promote safe sex and responsible family planning.
As such, sexual health posters and notices adorn the restaurant’s walls while lamps and life size figurines are made entirely of coloured condoms – an impressive and utterly unique site. When your bill is brought over at the end of your meal, instead of a couple of mint chocolates to cleanse your palette, you’ll be given some condoms instead. We assume that these are to be stored for use at a later time.
We should probably make clear that Cabbages & Condoms is maybe not the most ideal restaurant for a first date. Unless you’re very open-minded…