Bangkok's first attempt at a “natural” wine bar is here.
With its phonebook-thick menu and chalkboards scrawled with notes on viniculture, aging processes and pairing tips, this rusticated wine bistro is as much about getting educated as it is about getting sozzled. Alongside wine from organic, biodynamic and sustainable producers are cold cuts and tasty Mediterranean dishes.
About Eatery calls itself Bangkok’s first “natural” wine bar. That means it offers only organic, biodynamic and sustainable producers, to go with a Mediterranean menu that puts similar stock in well-sourced ingredients. This dedication recalls El Mercado or Quince—warm, bustling places where good produce and drinks take precedence over kitchen wizardry—and About deserves mentioning in such hallowed company.
It’s not just platters of cold cuts and cheeses (from B450); there are also tons of vegetarian, vegan and even raw vegan options. Amid rustic woods and brickwork, incredibly detailed chalkboards display wine pairing tips, oyster specials and customizable dietary options (upgrade your pasta with spelt flour egg pappardelle for B40, or edamame noodles for B100). The menu leaves you with little doubt you’re eating the good stuff: a namedrop of Sloane’s here, D.O.P. cheese there, umpteen mentions of “organic.”
When everything comes together, the results are delicious, as in the goat cheese and wild arugula salad (B280), bursting with the mild sweetness of melon, blueberries and sun-dried tomatoes. The calamari fritti (with aioli, B280) spotlights super-fresh squid, even if the flouring is a little soft and squishy.
If we had any real complaint on our last visit it would be that our paccheri pasta with diced octopus, nduja and pecorino cheese (B580) was just so salty we resorted to wringing out the calamari’s lemon wedge to take the edge off. Otherwise, the pasta was perfectly al dente and the sausage packed a spicy kick. Better rounded is the tender smoked organic chicken (B590), sourced from Korat, whose woody notes are complemented by chorizo crumble and an amazing bacon-potato terrine.
While the food’s good and all, the drinks are arguably the main draw. The wine list (from B250/glass) covers sparkling, red, white, rose and what’s called “orange wine” (white wine made using the same method as red wine), with icons indicating each wine’s viniculture, aging process and whether it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Slightly bitter on first taste, the Cos Pithos Bianco orange wine (B330/glass) from Sicily wins us over with its full-bodied texture and complex, slightly savory notes. In keeping with the current bar-slash-bottleshop trend sweeping town, wine can be ordered to go, too. It’s clear the people behind About Eatery care a lot about what they’re doing, and it’s infectious. Corkage B400.
This review took place in September 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.