The Never Ending Summer
With its warehouse vibe and prime riverside location within The Jam Factory, which also houses a gallery space, architects offices and book store, this kitchen dishes out food made from starchitect Duangrit Bunnag's family Thai recipes.
Starchitect Duangrit Bunnag took over an old warehouse across the river and, with only minimal changes to the original structure, turned it into something special. Of course, if you’ve lived in Bangkok over the past two years, you probably already knew this. Still, it’s worth admiring the rustic and cozy, yet airy and sophisticated, dining room with its soaring ceiling, flecked paint, iron accents and eye-catching open kitchen.
The sticking point has always been the food, in which Duangrit and his partner, Naree Boonyakiat, attempt to recreate the kind of recipes they enjoyed while growing up in their upper-class Bangkokian households. We can only assume the pair were raised on a diet rich in sweets, because most dishes here seem doused in sugar. Two blatant examples are the khai palo (braise pork belly with boiled duck eggs, B250) and nam prik long ruea (shrimp paste sweet relish served with sweet pork, salted egg yolk and fluffy catfish flakes, B320), which are both incredibly hard to finish, even though the latter looks impressive with its fresh array of seasonal vegetables. Similarly deficient in character are the pla haeng tangmo (cold watermelon served with dried fish flakes, B250) and gaeng rawaeng (turmeric curry with chicken, B340), which both taste like they’re stuck in neutral.
We do enjoy the stir-fried lotus stems with shrimp paste and minced pork (B250), which are nice and crunchy, if a little low on shrimp paste, but nothing can prepare us for the disappointment that is the khao klook platu (Meklong mackerel fried rice, B250). The tiny toy-like mackerel are completely devoid of aroma, while the rice is tasteless, saved only by the side of shrimp paste, which is surprisingly sour given everything else the kitchen serves up.
Food and design pretensions aside, Never Ending Summer packs plenty of charm. It was one of Bangkok’s first plant-filled warehouse restaurants. And unlike the rest of them, it’s actually in a warehouse. It’s right by the river. The cocktail list is handy, too, featuring yadong dressed up with vodka, rum and gin, along with Thai herbs (from B300). But positioned as a restaurant focused on old recipes, Never Ending Summer offers a sweet but not particularly satisfying trip down memory lane. Corkage B500
This review took place in September 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||The Never Ending Summer, 41/5 Charoen Nakorn Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Open since:||December, 2013|
|Opening hours:||Mon 11am-11pm|
|Nearest train||MRT Hua Lamphong|
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