Teriyaki Bar Kelly’s
Named after the silver screen icon Grace Kelly, the cute tavern-like Teriyaki Bar Kelly’s joined the happening Sukhumvit 51 neighborhood, already home to the likes of WTF Gallery and Opposite Mess Hall, late last year. For starters, its vibrant 50s-style décor offers something refreshingly different from other recent Japanese restaurant imports. Mix and match lampshades hang from the ceiling and vintage movie posters line the walls, while the soundtrack is similarly lost in time.
To match, the kitchen serves up well-priced izakaya-like comfort food (wings, noodles, nabe, teppanyaki, takoyaki) suited for drinking, with many dishes hailing from the owner’s hometown of Nagoya. The stars—as the name suggests—are its teriyaki skewers, made with a recipe that they claim is over 30 years old. Leave it to the chef to select your sticks of grilled meat (B315/five, B498/eight) or order from the lengthy list yourself. An option like the pork breast and leek (B70) reveals tender meat and a nice smokiness, while the mushroom and bacon (B55) is a straight-up savory hit, not too sweet.
One could happily stick to these moreish offerings, while ordering from the cheap and cheerful cocktail list (from B180), the lengthy selection of sake, shochu and umeshu, or sticking to the requisite Asahi draft (B120). The “bottomless drink” promotion (B400/person/120min) is tempting, too.
Similarly well suited to drinking are the fried chicken wings (B90/3pc, B175/6pc), coated with a garlic teriyaki sauce that’s a specialty of Nagoya. Crispy and sticky on the outside and juicy inside, our one complaint would be that they lack seasoning—there are no salt and pepper shakers in sight, either. This criticism could be leveled at a few dishes, like the Hakata cod roe piping hot potato salad with mayonnaise (B125), which on our last visit didn’t really live up to its description—the potato was steamed but not mashed, there was no discernable sign of roe and no crispy potato chips for scooping. When questioned, the otherwise bright and attentive staff came back from the kitchen with the message that the menu had been changed.
Better is the chicken and vegetable teppanyaki with Korean pepper paste (B195), which is so juicy we had to ask for a baguette to soak up the rich, oily flavors. If you can, save room for Kelly’s Ice Cream Sandwich (B230), a big dollop of ice cream on gooey bread wrapped in a sweet omelet.
While nothing here is likely to blow you away, Teriyaki Bar Kelly’s remains something of a hidden gem (its Facebook page is almost entirely in Japanese, which gives a good indication of the clientele, too), suited for a few easy shared bites and drinks in a cool but unpretentious setting.