Opened: May 2009
The buzz: Defying the cliché where rock clubs equals dingy, dirty and filled with long haired unsavory types, the owners of newly opened Bangkok Rocks give the city’s live rock music aficionados a classy and convenient spot to chill out with a bit of headbanging.
The buzz: Promising quality ingredients prepared by Thierry Enderlin, who used to work in three-Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse’s kitchen, Bonjour serves up French fine dining without the stuffiness.
The décor: The house turned restaurant is simple but elegant. The large windows throw ample light onto the deep red walls dotted with paintings of France. The bourgeois decor is replete with cloth-encased chandeliers and velvet lounge chairs, where gold plates and cutlery lie on intimate tables for two and larger tables for groups.
We actually think the departure of Bonjour’s French chef was a good thing. The young Thai guy now at the kitchen’s helm is ready to experiment and has a very sure hand—and he’s been in France long enough to have all the basics covered. He’s also much better at using local products which, along with the introduction of set menus, have brought the prices down to more realistic levels.
Fine French dishes served in a bourgeois villa that boasts velvet lounge chairs and a small tropical garden.
Upon opening, Southern restaurant Khua Kling Pak Sod was the talk of the town. But hey, what do delicate Bangkokian tongues know about Southern food? Surprisingly, the buzz was well deserved. The eatery is unapologetically Southern, hitting every spicy note, which genuine home cooking from those parts is all about. Under the rule of a matriarch chef hailing from Chumpon, the single-room restaurant is family-run: the late father’s portrait stands in the dining room, the courteous daughter takes the orders.
This eatery is unapologetically Southern, hitting every spicy note, which genuine home cooking from those parts is all about. Under the rule of a matriarch chef hailing from Chumpon, the single-room restaurant is family-run. She’ll point you to the signature dish, a Southern classic of course, khua kling, which they recommend with diced pork. It can be hazardous if you don’t watch out for the chilis, but that’s the way it’s meant to be.
Another single-room family-run eatery, they serve up unapologetically fiery and authentic Southern Thai cuisine.
To mangle an analogy, style is temporary while class is permanent. This beautiful converted home and former furniture store turned restaurant certainly has style in abundance but it just doesn’t have the complete package to make it truly classy. The white washed brick walls, cream sofas and beautiful antique furniture manage to give it a relaxed but extremely sophisticated atmosphere that, style-wise, is pretty unique for Bangkok, even for the heady neighborhood of Thonglor.
The white washed brick walls, cream sofas and mish-mash of retro furniture give this spot a relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere that is pretty unique for Bangkok. While service can be a touch erratic, the small but diverse menu is well-executed and has a good mix of starters, pastas and mains that includes international and Thai inspired options. If you like sweet drinks, then make sure you take advantage of the extensive cocktail list to go with your meal.
When it comes to Italian fine dining, La Bottega lives up to expectations in every way shape and form, from the authenticity of the food (drawn from all parts of Italy), the hands on service by Chef Luca and his staff, the classy ambience and yes, the hefty bill at the end of your meal. For a slightly more uptight and hiso option, head indoors with the rich Thai and expat families; otherwise, head for the dark wooden balcony. And that’s where the decision-making stops.
The latest project of well-traveled chef Luca Appino, this deli cum restaurant sticks to traditional recipes but stands out thanks to its distinct emphasis on fresh and, when possible, homemade ingredients. A range of authentic dishes takes you on a tour of different cities in Italy as indicated on the menu.
Tucked in a narrow soi, the blue barn that houses Lampada is hard to miss. A farmhouse in the middle of Thonglor may sound ridiculous, but this art showroom, chandelier store and cafe manages to avoid outright kitsch. The café on the second floor is a welcoming space that’s reminiscent of a kitchen in an American country home. To one side is the kitchenette complete with hanging oven mitts and wire-meshed cupboards. You can take a seat on one of the comfy couches, wicker chairs or at the counter with high stools set in front of the floor to ceiling window.
A farmhouse in the middle of Thong Lor may sound ridiculous, but this art showroom, chandelier store and cafe manages to avoid outright kitsch. The café on the second floor is a welcoming space that’s reminiscent of a kitchen in an American country home. Mixing Thai and Western offerings, the kitchen rolls out some very worthy food like the deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with mixed mushrooms, the punchy yaam wun saen muu saab (spicy glass noodles with minced pork) and the spicy chicken stew served with rice.
As this place was formerly the popular Zeist (the owner and chef of Bistroteq is the brother), it’s clearly not the only reason for its dire lack of clientele. It is certainly not the food, which shows imagination and a dedication to fresh ingredients. The kitchen’s pride in their work transfers to the knowledgeable staff who are quick to offer intelligent recommendations. Indeed, our only grumble would be that they are a little too attentive at times. But, when there are three staff for three customers, you can perhaps forgive a little over-eagerness to please.
The food shows imagination and a dedication to fresh ingredients. The kitchen’s pride in their work transfers to the knowledgeable staff who are quick to offer intelligent recommendations. Appetizers include mouthwatering soups like the blue crab bisque. The risotto prawns with mushrooms are light and zesty, and the duck breast is spot on with crispy skin and tender meat. Despite the less-than-full dining room, Bistroteq is definitely a restaurant that deserves our support.
You take your fresh-off-the-boat farang friend to this two-storey, wooden house-turned-restaurant to give them a taste of everything Thai—food (a generic menu of properly executed standards) and entertainment (football on a big screen, a chick with a mic and a guy on the keyboard). If you can take the heat, choose the alfresco dining option. The wooden patio is split over different levels and surrounded by a body of water and tall trees. Inside, you’ll find simple furnishings encircling a large showcase of a miniature European town with an electric train.
You take your fresh-off-the-boat farang friend to this two-story, wooden house-turned-restaurant to give them a taste of everything Thai—food (a standard menu of properly-executed standards) and entertainment (football on a big screen, a chick with a mic and a guy on the keyboard). If you can take the heat, choose the alfresco dining option. The wooden patio is split over different levels and surrounded by a body of water and tall trees.
This two-story wooden house-turned-restaurant is a great place for those seeking an introduction to Thai food, thanks to its broad menu of properly executed dishes.
Everyone’s heard the expression too many cooks spoil the broth, but here’s another one, too many dishes confuse the cook. This seems to be the case with Mint Balcony, a small coffee shop cum restaurant that suffers from trying to offer a little bit of everything. Despite its relatively small size it has a huge menu that spans the globe from Mexican and German to Italian and Thai. The result is a number of OK but ultimately bland dishes.
The buzz: It seems a little social responsibility does exist in this town, even in the sketchy square between Sukhumvit’s sois 2 and 4. What used to be an after hours haunt, Sin Bar, has transformed into a Zen-like restaurant with a conscience. The venue and the American Chamber of Commerce have united to ensure that 10% of Aura’s profits will go towards water purification systems in underprivileged communities. That means every beer you order provides for 600 glasses of purified water. So raise your glass to redemption.