Sala Daeng’s Greek taverna promises plate-smashing times.
Greek restaurant Aesop’s conjures an ouzo-fueled party atmosphere. This next-gen rebirth of a family-run restaurant from Sydney serves hearty Greek classics like eight-hour lamb shoulder, chicken souvlaki and moussaka (think beef lasagna with eggplant in place of pasta sheets) in a hall made for big, boisterous gatherings. After dinner, the place transforms into a dance floor where guests are encouraged to hurl crockery, as is Greek tradition, to a soundtrack of “Zorba’s Dance.”
The buzz: This next-gen rebirth of a family-run Greek restaurant from Sydney, Australia, conjures an ouzo-fueled party atmosphere unlike anything that’s come before it in Bangkok.
The vibe: Take a turn off tree-shaded Sala Daeng Soi 1 and you’ll find an old villa given a fresh lick of blue paint. All stucco walls, neon lights and wooden pew seating, the main dining hall is made for big, boisterous gatherings. Nods to tradition come in the form of the bar’s Greek columns and the blank stares of a sculptural bust. “The inside is Athens, while the outside is Mykonos,” says Greek-Australian co-owner John Gamvros, referring to the courtyard that will officially open on Nov 25 with the first Big Fat Greek Sunday Brunch Party. A kiosk will also open during the day to serve healthy snacks to the neighborhood’s office workers, but it’s at night where the real fun is to be had. After dinner the place transforms into a dance floor, complete with plaster crockery which you’re urged to hurl at the ground to a soundtrack of “Zorba’s Dance.”
The food: The spice-laden version of Greek food served here will appeal to fans of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Flavorful dips like taramasalata (fish roe with lemon and garlic, B280) and tzatziki (yogurt, garlic, lemon and mint, B220), served with billowing, fresh-baked pita (B100), set the foundation for a meal that’s made for sharing. The Deli Tray (B490) features an assortment of eight dips and nibbles, including hummus, spicy feta, and rotating salads and meze. Hefty must-orders include the eight-hour lamb shoulder (B1,450 for 250g), chicken souvlaki (B390), moussaka (think beef lasagna with eggplant in place of pasta sheets, B420) and the tender grilled octopus tentacle (B890). You’ll also want to spare some room for the feta and olive-heaped Greek salad (B300) and their light and crisp spanakopita (filo pastries stuffed with spinach and cheese, B250). Tables of four or more can order the Happy Greek set (B1,200/person) for a full-on feast that includes your own smashing plate.
The drinks: Menabrea beer is on tap (from B140) and a slew of Greek wines are on offer (from B240/glass), whilst their cocktails play to the strengths of ouzo—the anise-flavored Greek national spirit—and tsipouro—a powerful pomace brandy. Of course, the likes of the Aphrodite (ouzo, rosemary-infused rum, Greek yogurt, mint, lime, strawberry and soda, B290) can also be ordered as jugs that serve four, for B1,000.
Why we’d go back: Need we mention that Sala Daeng is buzzing? The plate-smashing party vibe at Aesop’s brings something genuinely different to town. The food, too, comes brimming with Mediterranean freshness. Bookings recommended. Carl Dixon