I was pleasantly surprised with the meal I had last night at The Diner's Express, a small cafe in a corner of the Villa Market at The Avenue shopping plaza on 2nd Road. The meal was cheap, quick and tasty.
The Diner's Express is a mini-version of the Took Lae Dee restaurants attached to Foodland Supermarkets. TDE features an open kitchen like its bigger Foodland cousins. However, TDE only has about 10 tables for three and it's right inside Villa Market. It's open from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
The menu at TDE is a mixture of farang dishes, mostly of the comfort food variety (hamburgers, sandwiches, pastas, pork chops, etc.) and Thai standards, again much like Took Lae Dee. From The Diner's Express FB page:
Prices are moderate, especially for the Thai dishes. However, a few of the farang dishes, such as the pork chop, cost close to 300 baht and for that price, you could be having the daily special at The Bite or dozens of other restaurants.
I chose the tonkatsu with rice (108 baht) and a "Watermelon Blast" to drink (78 baht). I could have kept the meal under 150 baht if I'd had water or a soft drink.
Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish consisting of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. It's usually served with shredded cabbage and a thick sauce that resembles Worcestershire sauce in taste and consistency. The cabbage was missing, but the sauce was there.
It tasted fine. The cutlet had been deep-fried properly; the breading was golden brown and had the right level of crunch, while the pork wasn't at all dry. However, the cutlet was very thin and the portion would have been small for a lot of people.
The Watermelon Blast was also good. Unlike a lot of places, TDE hadn't skimped on the watermelon and the smoothie had a lot of taste. It's an excellent drink for keeping hydrated in hot and humid weather.
Bottom line: Although my experience is limited with The Diner's Express, I'd say it's not a bad place for a quick bite if you happen to be in Villa Market. However, I have a hard time imagining that anyone would make a special trip just to eat there.