Asia Bar + Kitchen
The buzz: Brought to you by the owner of restaurants like Barn Thai Jazzaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Asia Bar + Kitchen is a veritable melting pot of Asian cuisines—from Southeast Asia and East Asia to the Indian sub-continent. Situated in the Holiday Inn Express near the BACC, the spacious venue is an energetic kitchen by day, and lively bar by night.
The décor: Black walls, high ceilings, rustic floorboards, hanging lamps and cane partitions combine to give off a natural-meets-industrial vibe as jazz plays in the background. The outdoor area is furnished with a similarly elegant attention to detail, with large umbrellas and a bit of greenery providing a cozy, garden escape right in the heart of Bangkok.
The food: The owners say they want to keep the cuisine authentic, which means Malaysian, Singaporean, Hong Kong, Indian and Indonesian dishes that aren’t adulterated or adapted to the Thai palate. Start your meal with appetizers from the tapas menu like the recommended penang lorbak (pork wrapped in tofu skin and served with homemade sauce, B130) before moving on to mains like the Malaysian satay chicken (B180), Hong Kong wonton noodle soup (B150) and Indian roti (plain roti prata served with dhal beans and chicken curry, B150). If you’d prefer flavors closer to home, there are also Thai options such as pad Thai (B150), which they’re very proud of. Top it all off with exotic desserts like Indonesian fried banana (B70) and Malaysian ice kachang (Malaysian ice with rainbow syrup, B70), which is a bit like our waan yen, or opt for Thai mango with sticky rice (B70).
The drinks: The bar stocks famous beers from all over Asia, with prices starting from B130. The highlights are Cambodia’s Kingdom, China’s Tsingtao and the locally-brewed Phuket Beer. Opt for the Six Pack drink set (B650) which gets you the choice of any six beers in the house. Cocktails start from B180, including the recommended Mango Tango (rum, fresh mango, fresh lime, and mint leaf). Sake is also available, both hot and cold, from B180.
The crowd: Mostly hotel guests and groups of 30-something office workers. Monthakan Chantra
Asia Bar + Kitchen serves up a melting pot of Asian cuisines—from Southeast Asia and East Asia to the Indian sub-continent—at hotel prices and food court quality. Situated in the Holiday Inn Express near the BACC, the spacious venue’s black walls, high ceilings, rustic floorboards, hanging lamps and cane partitions give off a hip industrial vibe—too bad about the lackluster soundtrack and struggling air-con. The outdoor area is furnished with large black umbrellas and a bit of greenery, providing a surprisingly laidback escape right under the BTS line. Unfortunately, a couple of South African wines by the glass (B260) and a ho-hum selection of run-of-the-mill Asian beers (such as Tsingtao, B130) don’t make this a particularly great bar for savvy drinkers. As for the food, the Thai dishes are very disappointing—and do note that your B150 pad Thai and B80 Coke will run up a bill verging on B280 net after service charge and tax. Even the more original Malaysian, Singaporean, Hong Kong, Indian and Indonesian options fail to excite the palate. The roast duck (B330) just can’t compete with MK, not to mention the nearby Four Seasons Restaurant (Siam Paragon, G/F). Our experiences with the roti prata served with dhal beans and chicken curry (B150) and Malaysian satay chicken (B180) are similarly disappointing. There’s just a lack of freshness and quality in the basic ingredients that the kitchen is working with. It’s less glaring in some basic noodle options, like the well-executed Cantonese hor fun (wok-fried noodles in gravy with shrimps, B180), but overall, this is pretty uninspired food. Asia Bar + Kitchen does have this deal where you can get six beers for B650, and service is pretty sharp (this is a hotel after all). Combine that with the cute outdoor area and you’ve got a proposition that might make sense in very desperate times—such as after a movie at MBK, when the nearby malls and food courts are closed—but one that is otherwise just best avoided. Corkage charge B500.
|Address:||Asia Bar + Kitchen, G/F, Holiday Inn Express, 889 Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Open since:||June, 2012|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-11pm|
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