The buzz: Hidden away on the basement level of the United Center Building, the two-week-old Bangkok Shokudo is a new concept restaurant replacing the former resident, Tokyo Shokudo, which used to serve Japanese lunch sets. The focus now is on lunch-friendly Thai food served up with a few twists and a Japanese aesthetic. The restaurant comes under the umbrella of the S&P brand whose boss Patra Sila-on says that they’re looking to stick close to Thai food’s original taste and form while revamping its presentation with Japanese style crockery. They also plan to open a branch of Bangkok Shokudo in Japan.
The décor: A pretty typical Japanese vibe. Several changes have been made to the old restaurant to make the place more interesting, including the placement of jars filled with Thai dessert, reminiscent of sister restaurant Vanilla Home Café, modern hanging lamps and some red accents on the partitions to add some color.
The food: Bangkok Shokudo takes Thai food and adds in some Japanese ingredients. The most obvious examples are the single dishes like khao soi (noodles in Northern style, B135-B145) that can be enjoyed with shrimp tempura or tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets)—the recipe is otherwise very similar to the S&P one. Appetizers include jazzed up versions of what you used to find in S&P in the old days like the tasty yam makue yao (eggplant in spicy salad, B125), which comes topped with a shrimp egg dressing, and new dishes like mushroom tempura (B125). There are also some straight Thai favorites like guay tiew ped (noodles with duck, B135), khao khai kon kraprao (rice topped with half-cooked omelet and stir-fried basil and chicken, B125-B135) and yen tafo (noodles with bean curd, B135). The menu is brief but provides good options for a quick lunch.
The drinks: Classic drinks like o-liang (iced coffee in Thai style, B50), cha yen (tea with milk, B70) and nam matoom (bael juice, B50). But if your having a tough work day, they also serve Asahi (B80) and Singha (B80).
The crowds: Japanese and Thai office workers in the Silom area, and those after a simple lunch in air-con comfort. Pieng-or Mongkolkumnuankhet
Hidden away on the basement level of the United Center Building, Bangkok Shokudo serves lunch-friendly Thai food with Japanese twists, both on the plates and in its handsome décor which mixes handmade-looking crockery and blonde wood.
Food giant S&P is behind the whole thing, for better or worse. The clean, fresh produce is executed with industrial precision, but it does taste a bit bland and mass-produced. Perhaps more offensive are the actual recipes. Is a layering of seafood green curry on an omelet and rice (B135), served in a (very pretty) bowl, such a hot idea? At first, the perfectly cooked (which means bordering on undercooked in our book) seafood and the soft blend of textures is pleasant enough. But after a few bites, even the spicy kick fails to shake off the feeling you’re eating something that’s been run through a blender—some kind of fusion baby food.
Not everything on the menu is Thai-meets-Japanese, though. You can have your khao soy noodles, for example, with traditional options like beef or chicken (B125)—or you can go nuts and have it with a tonkatsu (pork cutlet, B135). Again, the khao soy itself is pretty good, but the fun of a deep-fried pork cutlet basking in rich coconut sauce wears off fast. You can also opt for the straight-up Japanese dishes, but if the incredibly oily shrimp tempura (B145) we had on our last visit is any indication, it might be best to stick to the Thai side of the menu. There, you’ll find some rather nice old-school treats, like the yam makue yao (eggplant in spicy salad, B125), which for some reason disappeared from S&P menus some time ago. We also like the sukiyaki (pork B135, beef B145), whose mix of veggies makes for a tasty broth.
As an affordable and handsome canteen for office workers, Bangkok Shokudo is a very solid option—they even have a menu of Thai desserts (B55-65) and classic drinks like o-liang (iced coffee in Thai style, B50), cha yen (tea with milk, B70) and nam matoom (bael juice, B50). But if your desk is not in one of the surrounding buildings, it’s hard to imagine why you’d ever visit. No outside alcohol.
|Address:||Bangkok Shokudo, B1/F, United Center Bldg., Silom Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||B - B|
|Open since:||May, 2013|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 9am-8pm; Sat 8am-5pm|
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