All Senses, 70/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight
Price Range:BB - BBB
70/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-662-6330
Places like All Senses, with its stylishly renovated interior and gorgeous garden, have nostalgic as well as “aspirational” appeal: many of us grew up in houses like these and, as children, we imagined that this is how we would live as adults. Similarly, the menus consist of items that we thought we’d serve at dinner parties, in this case a mixture of urbanized Thai dishes, Japanese finger food and Thai-taste pastas. Though international, the cuisine is still “homestyle” in the sense that it’s simple, familiar and far from sophisticated. A “spicy” Japanese seaweed salad doesn’t pack much fire but has a nice crunchy texture and is jazzed up with a zesty vinaigrette, while the chicken karaage is ably seasoned and tender but closer to a “nugget” than the crispy versions you can find in local izakaya. The “nachos” are a bit of a stretch and more like “chips and dip.” In general, we’re more satisfied with the Thai food: if you want your pasta al dente, you might have a tough time depending on your server; and the “classic” meat with fruit or cream sauces are good for a laugh but not much else. Mussels in black pepper sauce come in a brown gravy studded with a disproportionate amount of peppercorns that overwhelm the palate. We’d also skip the All Senses Fried Rice; gooey and sweet from an excess of mango and cashew nuts, it reminds us of dessert. Better are the soft-shell crab dishes, which are so good they get a whole section in the menu; try one topped with chili or fried garlic or, better yet, the super soft-shell crab salad. Be sure to ask about the daily desserts: try something made with apples (tart or crumble) or chocolate (such as a brownie); the homemade ice creams are OK only if they’re “fresh”—otherwise you’re better off with a blended smoothie. Note: very limited parking. Corkage: B300.