Sathorn Soi 10, home to Lady Brett and Rocket, is turning into one happening street. It makes sense, then, that the beloved Hanakaruta on Soi 39 would pick this spot to open its second branch. You’ll find the familiar wall of booze, mezzanine-height shelves stacked with countless spirits and rice wines, along with the simple, warm decor of the original.
Much of Hanakaruta’s charm lies in its impeccable barmen, who hand-carve giant balls of ice all evening long, their faces frozen in a sardonic smile that never seems to waver. That’s not to say people don’t eat here, though. You need to soak up all that booze, after all. The food is designed to do just that: small portions, plenty of spicy and deep-fried options and Hanakurata’s famous “pizza.”
Let’s start with that (and forget any allusions to Italy). This is a comforting slab of bread heaped with sautéed and simmered veggies (hence the dish’s name, “kinpira styled sautéed burdock pizza,” B240). It’s not particularly subtle but burdock root, processed cheese, seaweed shavings and hardboiled egg slices do manage to pack as much umami as humanly possible into a single dish—so save this one for your sixth whiskey highball (B130).
A more reasonable awakening of the palate lies in the cuttlefish pickled in salt with red pepper (B100): it’s gluey and spicy, but there’s also a freshness and addictive saltiness to it. We also like the Japanese-style omelet with salted cod roe (B160), although we would like more of that fish eggs goodness.
At these prices, it’s hard to complain, though. The three pork cutlet on skewers are only B50, for example. So even if the sweet, almost chocolate-like sauce isn’t the best, you won’t wake up to an empty wallet on top of that hangover. We wouldn’t describe a menu with dozens of dishes ranging from raw tuna carpaccio (B250) to tomato and cheese caprese (B230) and salmon avocado sushi roll (B210) an after-thought. But however comforting, none of this will really justify repeat visits, either.
Watching the barman in his impeccable vest pour you a plum high-ball (B140) or watermelon ice-sour (B160) is worth the trip, though, and it’s good to know you won’t starve in the process or have to spend too much for the privilege.
|Address:||Hanakaruta (Sathorn), Sathorn Soi 10 (Opposite from Moko restaurant), Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 6pm-2am|
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