The Boston-born tapas bar blesses 72 Courtyard with its contemporary sharing plates.
High-profile chef duo Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have both won James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northeast award, the Oscars of the culinary world. In 2005, they opened a hugely successful Barcelona-inspired tapas bar in Boston; quickly followed by one in New York. Bangkok was next.
We find the food here exciting yet down-to-earth. Billed on its brief menu as a “tapas bar,” it’s somewhat fitting that Toro fills up rather late as a drinking spot. But Toro is actually very versatile. The famished will order giant pans of paella with an addictive char at the bottom of the skillet (B890/1,600 for half/whole portions of either chorizo, clams and shrimp or chicken, mushrooms and clams) while the adventurous will go for fusion creations like the flavorful combo of asado de huesos (bone marrow and oxtail marmalade served with radish citrus salad and cocoa nib, B450).
In fact, while the kitchen does roll out cold cuts (B700 for a rather generous board of different varieties), cheeses (from B250 for 50g of Cabrales, Manchego or Mahon) and patatas bravas (fried potatoes with aioli, B250), most of the menu is very creative. You won’t find any hamburguesas (black angus mini burger with tomato jam and aioli, B290) in Barcelona’s Bar Velodromo, but we love the dish. Like the rest of the menu, it balances fatty and umami, with something pickled, spicy or vinegary. Similarly, the smoked eggplant with onions, peppers and tomatoes has a dash of sherry vinegar which makes the rich, unctuous dish a little tart (B200). (We’re not so impressed with the sweet sauce drizzled over the grilled pork jowl [B450], a rare misstep.)
Drinks are solid, too: strong gin cocktails (try the West G&T, Martin Miller’s gin, cucumber, peppercorn and tonic, B380) and a well-curated list of wines. Just don’t expect service, to make you feel all that special. This is, after all, a tapas bar—albeit an incredibly versatile one that works for demanding foodies, large groups of friends or even a date. It has made everyone else doing Spanish tapas in Bangkok look stodgy and old-fashioned.
|Address:||Toro, 72 Courtyard, 72 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), Bangkok, Thailand|
|Open since:||June, 2016|
|Opening hours:||daily 6pm-midnight; Sat-Sun noon-3pm|
|Nearest train||BTS Thong Lo|
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