WHAT IS IT?
From new f&b player the Membership Group, this slick, open-plan mall is half Sathorn Soi 12 relocated and half fresh nightlife experiences. Like The Commons, you'll find acres of concrete, plants and steel, with as much space devoted to communal courtyards as to the venues themselves.
WHERE TO EAT
Not just a replica of what’s being done over on Sathorn
, the new Lady Brett moves the brand forward thanks to the arrival of Opposite Mess Hall’s former head chef, Jess Barnes. The menu retains the barbecue focus while throwing in a few of Barnes' signature tapas-style small plates with a heavy focus on veggie dishes to go with all that grilled meat. 02-635-0405, www.ladybrett.com
Melbourne’s hipster dining bible Broadsheet
called this Australian-born Mexican restaurant “ironically cool, laid back, and heavily inspired by the Latino street-art culture of Los Angeles.” Opens in late March. 061-713-0083, www.fb.com/Touche-Hombre-Bangkok
The fourth branch of the chic brunch and coffee spot
comes in the form of a quick “grab and go” pit-stop, focusing on quality takeaway coffee. The food menu has also been condensed to suit the express style, including bagels, croissants and other breakfast pastries. Some open-air seating is also available for those who aren’t as keen to eat on the go. 02-635-0404, www.rocketcoffeebar.com
WHERE TO DRINK
The moody speakeasy lounge
has also made its way over from the upstairs of Sathorn’s Lady Brett, serving up sophisticated craft cocktails alongside refined bar food. As ever, expect it all to be served in a sexy lounge setting, in keeping with the tone of its original branch. 02-635-0406, www.avunculus.com
Joining late-night neighbors Badmotel (across the street) and Mellow (next door), the club offers a more minimal, warehouse-style experience that keeps things raw, casual and loud. You'll also find Asia’s first "body kinetic" dance floor that shakes vibrations into dancers' feet—meaning you'll literally be able to feel the rhythm inside you as you dance. 02-392-7750, www.fb.com/beamclubbkk
Set to open in a few month's time are: large open-air beer garden Beer Belly, vibey jazz bar Evil Man Blues, Hong Kong's Chinese bao expert Little Bao, and New York's Spanish tapas and cocktails specialist Toro.
Address: Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), between soi 16 and 18
Jared O'Brien, Managing Director at Sapparot Group
What is it with Thonglor right now?
Bangkok’s a city full of people that love being spoilt with options without having to go through much effort to get them. With the new community malls opening, Thonglor is now becoming a perfect hub for that—you can spend a whole day, from morning to night, in this two-block vicinity and not get bored.
Do you think there will be clashes between neighboring new malls?
Not really. Each one has its own unique concept and vibe. If anything, it just helps to promote the area overall and brings in more customers.
Do you think the rise of community malls will have an impact on independent stores in Thonglor?
If your brand is strong enough, you will be able to survive no matter where you are. Yes, it does mean that competition is very strong, but that only forces you to stay at the top of your game and, frankly, that’s good for everyone.
WHAT IS IT?
Good food takes center stage at this new loft-like, open-plan community mall from Varat and Vicharee Vichit-Vadakan, the siblings behind Roast cafe. The ambitious project works kind of like a food court, only a really, really good one. Diners can order their favorite dishes from the various food kiosks to dine at the central communal area before heading upstairs for dessert and shopping.
WHERE TO EAT
Established about eight years ago on Koh Chang, Barrio Bonito quickly earned itself Tripadvisor's no. 1 restaurant spot on the island. Co-owner Mariana Villalobos Torres, a self-taught chef from Mexico City, turns out authentic native dishes on a short menu that rotates daily. Usual offerings include burritos, tacos and queso (cheese fondue) with different fillings and toppings like homemade chorizo, slow-cooked pulled pork, beef and lamb.
From the people behind Baan Ying Cafe & Meal come these fun, easy dishes all focusing on one ingredient, egg. Try the cold angel hair pasta with truffle and chive oil, shiitake and salted egg yolk (B250), salted egg cheesy fried (B160) and their version of steak and egg (B490) that places flavorful marinated Australian tenderloin on a bed of cream cheese scrambled eggs. For dessert, they also incorporate salty egg yolk into the baked custard cream (B90).
The most buzzed-about barbecue opening since Smokin' Pug is all about ribs—and pretty much ribs alone. There are two options: the standout eight-hour-roasted beef ribs (B480) and six-hour-roasted pork ribs (B280), both cooked in a smokehouse and slathered with the in-house recipe of rubs and barbecue sauce. 081-933-7143, www.fb.com MeatandBonesBangkok
The ever-expanding Napoli-style pizza specialist (also found on Sukhumvit Soi 31
, Tha Maharaj
and in Sriracha
) continues to dish out some of the best and most authentic pizza (from B350) in town. Chef Paolo Vitaletti sets the bar high with his tangy dough, pillow-soft crust and delicious San Marzano tomato sauce. 02-119-7677, www.peppina.asia
The business that had a big hand in kick-starting Bangkok’s brunch craze serves all-day dishes like crab cakes with eggs Benedict (B360), corned beef hash (B280), and a sinfully rich strawberry waffle (B260). Other meals are represented on the menu too, such as lunch (burgers) and dinner (steak frites B890, roast chicken B480). Thanks to carefully-sourced beans roasted in house, the coffee here is excellent. 02-185-2865, www.roastbkk.com
The folks behind the perpetually popular Soul Food Mahanakorn’s new venture spotlights comforting Thai bites, some of which are turned into burgers: the Risky Chicken (B250) wraps up a meal of somtam with fried chicken in a Conkey’s brioche bun, while the Khao Soy Cowboy (B259) sees pulled pork in khao soy curry mixed with sweet potato and mustard pickles—ferociously fiery with a satisfying crunch from the crispy egg noodles. If the whole thing screams Brooklyn, it may come as no surprise that Soul Food also supplies some of these dishes to hip New York hangout Baby’s All Right. www.soulfoodmahankorn.com
Bao & Buns’ spin-off introduces Bangkok to yet more varieties of Chinese street food, this time mostly from the mainland, like dan dan egg noodles (B140) and grilled pork (B180) from Szechuan, and Shanghai-style grilled beef (B200). Of course, you can still expect a variety of bao buns, including the traditional braised pork belly bao (B130) and the delicious Xi-an burger (pan-fried bao with chopped lamb shoulder, B180). 02-185-2497, www.fb.com/xiaochishop
WHERE TO DRINK
Unlike its sister venue, Brew, The Beer Cap focuses on niche craft beers, both on tap and by the bottle. When we last visited, there were six beers on tap: BrewDog Punk IPA (B160/260 per pint/half-pint), Holgate (B220), Chainbreaker White IPA (B240), Epic Escape IPA (B220), Epic Mid Mountain mid ale (B220) and Limburgse Witte (B140/240). Bottles are categorized by style (not country of origin like at Brew) and cover brands like Hitachino, La Trappe, Rogue and Chimney. 02-185-2517, www.brewbkk.com
ALSO CHECK OUT
Upstairs, you’ll find the Plant House florist shop, Mahajak
sound equipment store and Treasures
vintage fashion store, as well a new Absolute Yoga
Varat Vichit-Vadakan, Co-owner of the Commons
Why did you choose Thonglor for The Commons?
Firstly, I’m a native to Thonglor and have always loved this area. But more importantly, Thonglor is a forwardthinking, modern and affluent area. I felt that the people of Thonglor would be ready for this new kind of dining experience.
What makes The Commons different from other community malls?
It’s safe to say that Bangkok has loads of community malls—but you won’t find Starbucks or McDonalds around here. We focus on bringing together experts from different fields into a sort of upscale farmers’ market. Every store is hand-picked and specializes in only the best of one thing. If you want coffee, you’ve got a kiosk dedicated to the best of it. Walk a little further and you’ll get the best of Mexican food, or Thai food, and so on.
Do you think there will be a clash between the community malls?
Competition is always scary, but it’s mostly a good thing. Places like 72 Courtyard may have a similar concept to us, but it just means that people are becoming increasingly interested in this sort of dining and shopping experience, and that’s always good news.
Nita Tejapaibul, owner of Treasures (1/F, The Commons)
Why did you choose to open your shop in The Commons?
Since this is my first shop, it gives me much more security than being a standalone. I don’t have to worry every day about getting customers because the mall itself always attracts plenty of people. I love the concept of this mall—it’s very much a community. You can buy a coffee from Roots and tacos from Barrio Bonito and have it all served upstairs in my shop. Everything’s shared around here. After closing, all the store owners sit together and we catch up over a round of drinks. It’s like one big family.
WHAT IS IT?
This mall sticks closer to the format of old-style community malls, bringing together both chain restaurants and unique independent stores in a four-story open-air dining and shopping space. Expect cuisines from Japan to Italy to eventually fill up the still-opening building. Meanwhile, the rooftop garden serves as a perfect chillout spot for catching late-night city views.
WHERE TO EAT
Specializing in ice-cream-based desserts, this cafe rolls out a long list of funky-looking treats inspired by fairy tales and classic fiction. Try the Lord of the Rings
-inspired Inferno Mountain (B380) which comprises three scoops of ice cream topped with brownies and rice krispies inside a chocolate upside-down cone, topped with raspberry sauce and flambed with orange liqueur. 083-386-6992, www.fb.com/mockingtales
The Japanese sushi bar is all about rolls, including the highlight salmon saikyo roll, unagi foie gras roll and unagi cheese roll. Other must-try dishes include salmon sashimi with ponzu sauce and snowfish grilled in soy sauce, all served at affordable prices. 063-175-1599, www.fb.com/sendosushithonglor
This restaurant serves up classic Italian dishes with an added Asian-fusion twist. Expect dishes like salmon steak with spicy tom yum sauce, fried chicken drumsticks in teriyaki sauce, linguine pasta with spicy squid ink sauce and plenty of other east-meets-west combos. 094-789-2619, www.fb.com/ferraroristorante
This cafe focuses on Korean-style shaved iced desserts, topped with your selection of strawberries, bananas, chocolate and various other toppings. Also on the menu are honey toast dishes and coffee, all to be enjoyed with plentyof open-air seating. on.fb.me/1R3pAeP
ALSO CHECK OUT
On the third floor, you’ll find the new Madris Hair Salon (081-753-7337) a chic new spot for a pampering haircut while overlooking Thonglor
SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Argentinian-styled steakhouse El Gaucho
(Eight Thonglor, 088-721-3088) recently opened its third branch on Thonglor, while across the road sits TV chef Madam Tuang’s French and Italian comfort food restaurant Rosemary
(G/F, The Taste, Thonglor Soi 11, 02-712-5998). New Japanese choices come in the form of Hamakatsu
(The Taste Thonglor, 235 Sukhumvit Soi 55, 02-712- 7843), the first foreign outpost of Japan’s legendary tonkatsu restaurant, and Iron Chef Table
(1/F, The Taste, Thonglor Soi 11, 092-768- 7723), the restaurant spin-off of the TV cooking show. Around the corner, Hunts Eatery and Bar
(159/10 Sukhumvit 55 Thonglor 7-9, 095-464-4611) serves American-style gastro food, and down on Sukhumvit, Broccoli Revolution
(899 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-662-5002) dishes out meatfree comfort food.
As ever, Thonglor remains one of the hottest spots for Bangkok’s affluent drinkers, as proven by Rabbit Hole
(125 Sukhumvit Soi 55 [Thonglor], 081-822-3392), a charming speakeasy bar run by two veteran bartenders from the Diageo World Class. The street also recently welcomed the new home for the molecular cocktail specialist Myst
(171 Thonglor Soi 10, 080-770-9800) and Seen Space’s sci-fi concept bar addition, Bon Bon
(Seenspace, 251/1 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-185-2378). For more chilled-out options, check out Dusk
(Thonglor Soi 13, 096-860-7690), an easygoing rooftop bar neighboring Wanderlust, and international craft beers and hearty burger-joint Black Beer’d
(9:53 Art Mall, 124 Sukhumvit Soi 53, 091-769-2640).
(Thonglor Soi 11, 02-003-6973) is a multi-label brand selling clothes from both imported cult bands as well as fresh local names. Knock BKK
(3/F, 333/1 Sukhumvit Soi 55, between Thonglor sois 15 and 17, 081-375-6625) is a three-story building selling wares from Nike, Adidas, Rebook and more, while nearby Indigo Indian
(2/F, Blue Dye Cafe, Sukhumvit Soi 36, 083-714-5333) focuses on Thai handcrafted products with an emphasis on accessories and home decor.
(3/F, The Taste Thonglor, Thonglor Soi 11, 081-172-1472) offers Aussie-inspired desserts from soft-serve cones to French toast; the cozy Warm Wood Cafe
(137/1 Thonglor Soi 10, 02-714-9974) brings out all the cafe staples from desserts to coffees; Dandelion
(919, Sukhumvit Rd., between soi 49 and 51, 085-145-3181) specializes in hearty dessert and breakfast dishes plus monthly baking workshops. Around the corner, Toby’s
(68/1 Sukhumvit Soi 38, 02-712-1774) is a photogenic spot for all-day Australian breakfast staples, specialty coffee and cold-pressed juice, while Once Social Bar & Cafe
(308 Thonglor Soi 10, 084-777-7322) also serves all-day brunch and dessert, including their highlight egg waffles and homemade ice cream. For a healthier option, Organika
(6/F, Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-665-1899) combines a botanical spa with an organic restaurant dishing out nothing but health-focused food. Away from the desserts and brunches, Thonglor has welcomed the minimal Chinese teahouse air seating. Cha Panya
(26/1 Sukhumvit Soi 59, 094-550-4659), Seven Suns
(1/F, Parklane, Sukhumvit Soi 63, 085-664-2616) tea specialist selling brews and tea-making equipment, and the imported coffee beans specialist Triple
(41 Sukhumvit Soi 59, 094-405-6964).
Chalee Kader, owner of Knock BKK, Beer Bridge, Badmotel, Holy Moly and Surface
“Thonglor used to be a bunch of old restaurants that couldn’t renovate because the rent prices were already high. Now, with the addition of these trendy new places, the whole area is getting a revamp. Despite the competition, in a way it benefits every shop with all the traffic coming back in. I hope things will keep growing this way so people can spend time in this area rather than in malls.”
Want to live in one of the city’s most well-heeled areas? Here’s what it’ll currently cost you.
Swanky-looking real estate on the New Petchburi end of the street and with rental that’s just about affordable. Rooms start at B17,000. Contact 02-319-7000, thruthonglorcondo.com
Imposingly designed high-rise property in the sweet-spot between soi 11 and 23. Room rates start at B28,000. Contact www.ivythonglor.com
A concrete and blond wood mid-rise right behind Bangkok Prep. Room rates start at B50,000. Contact 081-647-3044.
Alcove 10 Thonglor
Perfectly located on the road connecting Ekkamai and Thonglor, not far from hot spots like Unfashion and Dark Bar. Sells at B7.6-7.8 million for 1 bedroom units. Contact www.alcovebangkok.com