12:51 by Jess Barnes
After treating us to an Opposite Mess Hall pop-up in Nov and Dec, chef Jess Barnes has taken over the reins at Viva Market Thonglor where he’s introduced an all-day dining menu laden with Opposite staples like duck waffle and bone marrow dumplings—get a taste with the B340, three-course “express” lunch. It’s all a prelude to Barnes’ full-on comeback, 12:51, which we’re told will open upstairs within a few months.
Set to open in a tree-shaded spot on Sala Daeng in time for Songkran, this Greek restaurant is an offshoot of Sydney’s three-decade-old Aesop’s restaurant (nothing to do with the soap). They’re promising a “social dining” approach—think sharing dishes, nightly emcee, plate smashing—which ought to place it a notch above the more sterile competition.
Yuval Schwok, the owner of Charansanitwong’s underground, occasionally controversial, live music venue The Overstay, is gearing up to unveil another creative space with a difference. Taking over a reclaimed metal barge, Bangkok Island will set sail along the Chao Phraya River in early 2018, combining live music bar, independent art space and workshop venue. Read our interview
After being forced to close its doors on Dec 31 (due to the landlord wanting to build another condo), this secret cocktail bar is set to rise from the dead. The owners are seeking out a new home for it around Sukhumvit, though no location is confirmed yet. In the meantime, you can still drink at Backstage, which is run by one of Locker Room's owners.
Luka.Moto and Funky Lam Kitchen
Sathorn brunch favorite Luka is heading to Thonglor. Luka.Moto sees the cafe serve up coffee and eggy dishes alongside a showroom from Motorrad, BMW’s motorcycle brand. After dark, the place transforms into Funky Lam Kitchen, a restaurant dedicated to modern Laotian cuisine complete with a molam soundtrack. Expected to open Feb or Mar.
Ministry of Crab
On Asia’s “50 Best Restaurants” list for a few years now, the Sri Lankan crab specialist offers its signature crab in four ways: chill crab, pepper crab, garlic crab and Sri Lankan crab curry. Chef Dharshan Munidasa has stopped by Bangkok a few times, and announced we would be getting a Ministry of Crab by the end of last year. Well, that didn’t happen. Better luck this year?
One of Alain Ducasse’s restaurants
No doubt the Frenchman is one of the world’s top chefs. Not only did he become the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin stars in three different cities, but he currently holds 18 Michelin stars at more than 26 restaurants across the world. Word has it he’ll be opening a restaurant at IconSiam (see below), where he’ll be joined by another 100 restaurants from around the world.
Roast, Roots, Ocken and The Commons
It’s going to be a big, big year for Think Beyond, the group behind the much-loved Roast and Roots. In April, Roots will open a standalone cafe (or “coffee experience bar”) right beside BTS Surasak. Next door will be Ocken, which promises a more experimental, fine-dining approach compared to Roast. Speaking of which, that particular brunch nirvana will be opening a new spot somewhere around Siam in mid-2018. Back in Thonglor, The Commons will unveil a new-look second floor with a garden barbecue vibe—heavyweights Daniel Thaiger, Birds Rotisserie and Seven Suns are already on-board.