Perched above hordes of Chong Nonsi office workers on a mezzanine level of Empire Tower, Water Library’s first stab at a steakhouse serves up a stockbroker-appeasing menu of imported steaks and seafood. Tables of cufflink-shirted men crowd out the best seats in a dining room that feels like a swanky monochrome bistro imprisoned in a steel rib cage.
The format is simple: three cuts of steak (tenderloin, sirloin, rib-eye) in your choice of beef from Australia, America, Japan, Italy or Germany. The cheapest is a 200g Aussie tenderloin at B950; the most expensive a 750g wagyu porterhouse at B3,300, which they optimistically call big enough for 4-5. Once cut into, our 300g Australian striploin (B1,300) oozes tangy juices and reveals a deliciously rare center, as ordered. The side of roasted potatoes are an equal match: fluffy, crispy and spiked with dessicated morsels of pig flesh.
Tasked with putting together an actual dish rather than just throwing a piece of meat on the grill, the kitchen proves itself capable with the set lunch menu’s wagyu flank steak (B490) on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with elegantly portioned, perfectly cooked veggies. The wagyu burger (B390), too, bursts with succulent beef and bacon turned to a crisp. Ditch the sweet, greasy brioche bun and we’d be even happier.
Sadly though, what they do so right with the beef doesn’t extend to the starter menu. Our crabmeat chowder (B270) tastes robbed of any comforting, unctuous depth, as if they took the recipe from a slimming magazine. Same story with the bland pumpkin soup (set lunch only).
All in, The Capital is probably the most-formatted, least chef-driven venture so far from Water Library. But like all their ventures, you get a level of service and attention to detail that’s one step above most places in town. Stick to the steaks, throw in a few old-school cocktails (B295-400), finish things off with their decadent banoffee pudding (B290) and The Capital adds up to a fine power lunch—if not an inspiring dinner.