Akart Bistro & Bar
This home Yen Akart restaurant serves something for everyone.
Soi Yen Akart’s new restaurant, Akart Bistro, sits in an old two-story wooden house (next to Coffee Craftsman) decked out stylishly with wooden furniture, hanging ferns and lamps.
The homey vibes translate to a big menu that covers something for everyone, from Thai classic dishes like pad Thai (B180), tom yum (with prawn or lobster, B250/B980) and stir-fried morning glory (B150) to pizza topped with ham and mushroom (B350) and Australian black Angus tomahawk (from B3,000/1.2kg).
Akart Bistro is a breed of restaurant that’s bound to have foodies turning up their noses. Like neighbors Bitterman and Jann Bistro in Sathorn, this restaurant’s bipolar Thai-Western menu insists on shoehorning gooey cheese, foie gras and lobster into many of its dishes, with frequently disastrous results.
That’s a genuine shame, because this is the kind of chill-chill, spend-the-afternoon place Yenakart has being crying out for. The glasshouse-like extension to a recently reinvigorated 70-year-old villa (also home to Coffee Craftsman cafe) oozes rustic, old-world charm.
The food is not so agreeable. Laced with “signature dishes, “chef’s recommendations” and other sales spiels, the menu covers something for everyone—and no one—from Thai rice dishes way up to lobster-topped arrabiata pasta (B1,790) and a massive Australian black Angus tomahawk (from B3,000/1.2kg).
First, the not-so-bad: a seafood yum tua poo (wing bean salad, B220) comes with nice, sharp flavoring, crisp shallots, and a generous shrimp-to-wing bean ratio that makes up for the fridge-temperature poached egg on top. The further from Thai staple territory you delve, though, the more things fall apart—literally, in the case of the personal-sized pizza (no 12-inch pies here) on our last visit. The seemingly yeast-free, soggy, cracker-like base never stood a chance against the recommended topping of spinach, molten cheese and runny poached egg (B350) whose overriding flavor seemed to be supermarket “Italian Seasoning.”
Moving from “Italian” to “German,” the deep-fried pork hock (with sauerkraut and purple sweet potato mash, B550) at least puts quantity first, but tastes underseasoned and dry, not aided by a powdery gravy. It’s perhaps testament to the restaurant’s popularity that at least three dishes we tried to order were sold out on our last visit, including the mussels steamed with white wine (B345), but we find little to recommend about the baked “volcano” mussels (B390) suggested in its place, which again comes with that tasteless molten cheese that’s overpowered by sickly sweet Thousand Island and tobiko roe dressing.
While we grumble, Akart Bistro is packed to the gills even on weeknights (all those BMWs out front don’t park themselves) so is clearly doing something very right. Despite a puny wine list (only three reds by the glass, from B290), there are worse places to physically spend an afternoon. If you must eat, stick to the Thai side of things (the pad Thai fused with crispy oyster omelet [B280] works surprisingly well) or dessert. Better yet, hit up next-door’s Coffee Craftsman, which nails the comfort food thing far better.
This review took place in Aug 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.