25 Degrees, G/F, Pullman G Hotel, 188 Silom Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS Chong Nonsi
Open Since:May, 2012
US restaurant chain 25 Degrees is another establishment looking to add sophistication to Bangkok’s gourmet burger scene—only this time with a glitzy “bordello meets burger bar” concept to match. The décor is akin to an upscale Hollywood diner—from the lush red wallpaper, black and white photos of yesterday’s heroes, leather upholstery and giant checkerboard mirror behind the bar to the garish “Open 24 Hours” sign out front. As it turns out, you’d be forgiven for thinking that style takes precedence over substance here. The build-your-own burger option (starting from B210) is as impressive as it is daunting, letting you pick from an outrageously long list of cheeses, condiments and toppings. Instead, you can play it safe and order one of the four signatures. Spilling out of a brown bag, the Number One (B330) arrives looking very, very appetizing. But the gargantuan offering, layered with caramelized onion, bacon, arugula, gorgonzola Prelibato and thousand island dressing, is proof that even the most mouthwatering ingredients can be undone by a subpar, artificial-tasting bun, which in this case has a strange, rubbery skin and a doughy supermarket-bread texture. This same problem afflicts the Number Two (B330), despite its pleasing combo of Burrata cheese and roasted tomato, basil and crisp prosciutto. The prime ground sirloin patties, cooked-to-preference, are juicy though a little plain, so you’ll need something to wash it all down. We recommend bypassing the unspectacular cocktails (B220) for the real highlight, the adults-only spiked milkshakes. The Night Owl (Kahlua, chocolate liqueur and vanilla ice cream, B250), in particular, is a decadent delight. Beyond the shakes, though, the results are underwhelming. On our last visit, the roasted beet salad (baby arugula, feta, citrus vinaigrette, B180/B320) contained beet that tasted only very lightly roasted, if at all, to finish off a rather lackluster dish taste-wise. (The feta was also scarce.) Flavor is not something the BBQ buffalo wings (B140/6 wings) lack; served atop a portion of nice and crispy curly fries (also available separately, B80), they come slathered in a rich marinade that’s heavy on the vinegar. Tasty, sure, but also overpowering. Also, like both the curly fries and plain old French fries (B80), the wings don’t age too well; so you best eat them fast. The main problem with 25 Degrees is, ironically, why the bordello tagline is so apt. You’re spending big on what’s ultimately a guilty pleasure, but first impressions don’t always last and you’re left with a rich but not entirely enriching experience. Corkage B500.