BANGKOK RESTAURANT

Upstairs Mikkeller

The Ekkamai beer bar strays from the usual pub grub with a fancy tasting menu.

The buzz: Above a bro-heavy, chug-tastic craft beer bar, Korean-American chef Dan Bark (past employer: Chicago’s Grace) serves tasting menus that take on the most experimental end of fine dining. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is how fantastically this dichotomy works.
 
The food: When you see “Longan” on the menu of a restaurant like Upstairs, you can be sure that the dish in question will be anything but that simple. And is so. Longan is turned into ice cream, served with a plum sorbet with mochi and pistachio and coated in toasted rice milk. “Seafood Bisque” sees a local river prawn served with tropical santol fruit, clams, Asian mushrooms, sage and tarragon. Every night, the menu consists of 10 such deceptively simple and fastidiously handled courses.
 
The vibe: The simplicity behind Upstairs’ dining room-slash-kitchen laboratory makes a refreshing change from the bare brick and cutesy, warm lighting plaguing Bangkok dining. Here, things have a serene sophistication—walls are a subtle, cool mint; lighting is bright yet inviting; tables are angled so that diners are not sitting back to back and can see the work taking place in the kitchen. The whole experience is more akin to a chef’s table than a regular restaurant.

The buzz: Craft beer house Mikkeller has opened up the second floor of its Ekkamai home to fine dining. Korean-born chef Dan Bark helms the kitchen—he previously worked as a sous chef at Chicago’s Grace, a bona-fide three-Michelin-star restaurant currently touted as one of the most expensive in America. 

The decor: In contrast to the food, the dining room remains super simple: a few white melamine tables and Eames chairs. In one corner of the tiny space sits the open kitchen, where you can see the chef and his team running around whipping up the food, while six beer taps are placed in another corner.
 
The food and drinks: Upstairs steers well clear of pub grub (though that’s still available downstairs). Diners pay B3,300net/person and enjoy whatever the chef cooks in a nine-course tasting menu, or B4,600net when paired with beers. Bark describes his food as progressive American, meaning a mix-and-match approach to techniques and ingredients unbound by geography. He plays around with different flavors and textures while encouraging diners to have a bit of everything in the dish altogether. Though not too crazily presented, the food still goes in for the occasional fancy flourish in the form of cream, foam, faux caviar and siphoning. One dish, called “Roots,” features beautifully plated, thinly-sliced carrot, radish, fennel and taro on truffle puree and a taro custard whose saltiness complements the fresh, crisp and naturally sweet vegetables. For another dish, simply called “Wagyu Beef,” the chef pairs olive-fed Kagawa wagyu with three forms of broccoli (puree, charred and sliced in ribbons), black and white sesame paste and lime puree. Each dinner comes paired with six generously-poured craft beers, most of which come from the Mikkeller brewery.
 
Why you should care: The delicate food, unlikely location and amazing beers make this an experience unlike any other in town. Natcha Sanguankiattichai
 
 
 
Venue Details
Address: Upstairs Mikkeller, 26 Ekkamai Soi 10, Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 091-713-9034
Website: www.upstairs-restaurant.com
Area: Ekkamai
Price Range: BBBB
Open since: November, 2015
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 6-10pm
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