Bitterman is a triumph of style over substance. Set in a spacious two-story glasshouse teeming with tropical greenery, the restaurant is a picturesque refuge from bustling Upper Silom. The food, though, is mired in mediocrity. Like many a Thai bistro, the menu goes big on pasta, protein and cheese—all “handcrafted,” if the menu branding is to be believed.
One of the recommended dishes, the Mr. Rapee (B280), perhaps best sums up the overall misdirection: a mountain of black spaghetti, spicy Arrabbiata sauce, a bechamel-like creamy substance, a massive layer of melted cheese and, the cherry on top, a large river prawn. It’s part cheese-saturated lasagna with a hint of local flavor (owing to plenty of Thai basil and chili)—and simply not very good, though the prawn is fresh and plump.
Dishes like The Deep Fryer (soft-shell crab with seasonal greens in a chili mustard dressing that tastes of green seafood sauce, B180) and Fish-Sauce- Chicken (chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, B140) are less outrageous, but fairly pedestrian. At least they’re relatively cheap; another recommendation, the Bitterman 4.1 (B760), is a massive let-down, both in size and in quality. The meat of the slowcooked beef short ribs is chewy and the dish’s flavor profile one-dimensional thanks to a slathering of what tastes like instant gravy rather than the promised red wine and beer reduction. The side of mashed potatoes and seared veggies is also too buttery for our tastes.
On our last visit, dessert was a boozy if otherwise nondescript pannacotta with strawberry sauce (B140). We’re not completely writing off Bitterman. Despite its obvious “slow life” appeal, the restaurant is regularly bustling at lunchtime. It feels like a place to be, a bit like Sala Daeng’s version of Ari’s Salt, except the execution is way off. Bitterman is no foodie destination, but as a day-time workspace or after-work hangout (there’s a long list of cocktails and a pool table upstairs), it’s not without its charms.
This review took place in April 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.