I found out about Loving Hut from the Eating Thai Food web site, which did a month-long focus on vegetarian food in Bangkok. The small chain has several branches around Thailand, and in many more countries. Their web site is rather vague about where they’re based, but it appears to be southern California.
The branch I ate at is located in the small shopping arcade attached to the Marriott Riverside Hotel (which changes brands to Anantara in November 2011). The picture filled menu gives diners a large array of options, which are mainly vegetarian versions of traditional Thai dishes. To the uninitiated, the menu might be confusing, with offerings such as ‘Prawn’ Tom Yum and ‘Chicken’ Green Curry. This follows a relatively common line of reasoning among Thais that, to be palatable, vegetarian foods need to replicate the taste and texture of ‘real’ food, eg meat. I know that true, lifelong vegetarians can have a problem with this, but there are plenty of menu options that don’t try to replicate the look and taste of meat.
For my late lunch, I decided to try the baked black olive rice. This can be a difficult dish to pull off, and the Loving Hut’s version is a little bland, but squeezing a little of the provided lime wedge on it, as well as a generous amount of chopped chilies makes the dish quite palatable. Given the extensive menu, there’s likely to be something for everyone’s taste.
In addition to the food, there’s quite a good list of drinks, including fresh fruit smoothies using such seasonal delicacies as durian and mango.
Expect to pay around 200 Baht per person for a meal at The Loving Hut.