Scala Movie Theatre, Siam Square Soi 1
Daily: 11.00 – 14.00, 17.00 – 21.00
We have recently been on a track of revisiting old tasty memories of Bangkok. Scala Restaurant at Siam Square is another place we always go when we feel like giving ourselves some retro tastes and feel. The entire place, after all, has been around for almost 50 years, and it is another of Bangkok’s legendary and perhaps the most beautifully handcrafted restaurant ever.
When I was writing for The Nation newspaper more than ten years ago, I had a chance to interview Khun Nanta Tansacha – the owner who ‘grew up in the theatre’ during the time when her parents started out with three theatres in the then still deserted Siam Square area. If you come to Scala today, you will still see for yourself the elegant feel of the old-day theatre. The elaborate chandelier at the top of the stairs, the handmade stucco adorning the walls, the carved wooden elements, the airy foyer, all the things that say ‘glorious past’ of the movie theatres back in the day.
A good story of Scala Theatre and the endeavour of the owner to perpetuate the place is here. The story is in Thai and credited to Thairath newspaper. Thank you.
To sum it up, the theatre + restaurant is now sitting on a long-leased land owned by Chulalongkorn University. The leasing contract is ending next year and there was a rumour that the university is planning to ‘revamp’ the space according to the current estimates of the land. After all, they might be thinking that this is Bangkok’s prime of the prime area and why are they leasing it to a theatre who is selling their tickets at Bt100-140 which is definitely not the best way to maximise the profits. If you are a film bug, you’ll know what APEX Siam Theatre is sort of ‘a place’ to go for some rare and worthy screenings. This is the place we saw several non mainstream movies, good, well-selected movies, movies that do not promise big returns, but artful, artsy, good, great and fantastic – all at the mere price of Bt100 – 140 (the place sells popcorn and snacks at regular prices, so generous).
And we haven’t started about how this place is a true gem when it comes to the architecture. In fact, upon the revelation that the theatre will be destroyed to pave way for the area’s future ‘development’ back in 2012 the ASA (The Association of Siamese Architects) gave their preservation award to the theatre, making it the second theatre in Thailand to receive such award. For more information about the architectural significance and the awards, here’s a great story. You can now still go to movies at Scala and Lido. For their showtimes, please click here.
Tucked in the basement of the theatre is Scala Chinese restaurant with the flamboyant interior to match. Back in the day when we still didn’t have so much of the restaurants and malls, this is a place family gathered for a good meal. Now, they retain the vibes with oldie music, old pack of staff and the whole original ambiance of the 1970s. We used to come here a lot, and we stopped. But every time we have a craving for this kind of vibes and a big plate of Shanghai noodle, this is our place. This place was known to serve one of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s favorites- stewed pork leg with steamed bun. People come here also for Pekking duck, served originally with the crispy skin and steamed flours. But our all-time favourite is their Shanghai noodle topped with pork tenders and lots of chopped cilantro and ginger. The prices that used to be quite high are now generous compared to other modern places in town. Below are the food we had recently. All are delish. And we paid just Bt1,600 for everything.
Latest news has it that Scala and Lido are now on a yearly lease contract. May be they are just waiting for the opposing craze to wind down. May be they are up for something new. May be, just may be, they are reconsidering the whole plan and have some appreciation to this glorious artifact.