CHAR Rooftop Bar
Bangkok's latest rooftop restaurant comes all the way from Shanghai.
Be sure to head to the latest rooftop bar in town with an empty stomach because it's not just about the drinks here. Over on the grill they cook up some amazing local beef from French butcher Arnaud Carre—one of the most respected food naes in town. Char actually takes up the top two stories of the recently opened Hotel Indigo, with a stylish dining room downstairs and the rooftop bar up above to benefit from those amazing views across Bangkok's "Embassy Row."
This spin-off from a Shanghai bar and grill dwells 25 stories above Wireless Road as part of a two-story rooftop complex that’s both restaurant and bar. The dining section isn’t actually on the roof but a level below, where you’ll find a vaulted room that’s surprisingly classic compared to the rest of the hotel. There’s plinky-plonky jazz music, lots of fawny grays, real herringbone floors and a team of waitstaff who feel like they’ve been cattle-prodded into attentiveness and familiarity. It’s all rather hushed and sophisticated and special-feeling.
The menu plays its mains with a no-nonsense list of premium beef, yours to order in increments of 100 grams, ranging from a wagyu flank at B308/100g up to a Darling Downs wagyu tenderloin at B920/100g. We had 200g (the minimum order) of a 30-day dry-aged Angus rib-eye and in all honesty we’ve had plenty better. But at a total cost of B780 it definitely wasn’t a let-down—acceptably tangy, wearing its charred griddle lines with pride and bathed in a peppercorn sauce so rich it’s almost black. Order it with the beef-fat fries (B200), which are phenomenally tasty.
Starters are a little more creative, whether it’s a suckling pig terrine with coconut curry (B400) or an octopus tentacle served with salt-baked pineapple and chili (B450). Though on our last visit the plate of ember-torched scallops doused in sesame oil, ponzu sauce and fish roe (B560) was rather humdrum (scallops, excellent; oiliness and lukewarm temperature, less so), the restaurant was in unimpeachable form on the no-nonsense territory of a lobster bisque (B350). Lifted by a hint of lemongrass and resplendent with thick chunks of both tail and claw, we couldn’t care less that the kitchen was out of the grilled mussels it should come with. As for dessert, a butterscotch pudding (B275) is beautiful in its immaturity—a glass of sweet, gooey brown pudding interspersed with the buttery crunch of shortbread and tang of salt.
All told, Char delivers an uncompromised, sophisticated modern steakhouse wallop at what could safely come in at about B3,000 a head—or less if you confine yourself to the indulgent wagyu burger at B450 (though the less said of its sweet doughnut-y bun the better). With passable wines at B220/glass and a cocktail menu as comfortable with a rye sazerac (B360) as a raspberry cosmo (B280), this is one rooftop we’re happy to recommend to out-of-towners. Corkage B800
This review took place in May 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||CHAR Rooftop Bar, 25-26/F, Hotel Indigo, 81 Wireless Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Open since:||May, 2016|
|Opening hours:||daily 6pm-midnight|
|Nearest train||BTS Phloen Chit|
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