The buzz: Another new opening and yet another spot that goes for that winning combination of wine and tapas, this time at hip enclave The Crystal Park. D’Vine’s ace card may be that one of the chefs, Bas Wattanasak Changkeb, was crowned 2010 champion of The Golden Coffee Pot Junior Challenge in Dubai so their tapas look to go beyond the usual, boring cold cuts.
The décor: Exposed brick and flagon floors are combined with white panel walls and opulent leather chairs to give a result that’s part Victorian gentleman’s club part medieval banqueting hall. The whole thing gets a more industrial edge from crystal ball ceiling lamps and exposed air vents. There’s also a simple covered deck outside.
The food: A well-categorized and pretty extensive menu includes over 30 different tapas dishes. You can try sampling a few with the D’Vine Tapas High Tea (B590), or opt for some intriguing individual plates like the shrimp mousse stuffed squid (B80), gruyere and dried fruit fritto (B100) and salmon roll mixed fruit and blue cheese sauce (B80). Mains cover European classics like braised lamb shank in Merlot wine (B560) and smoked duck and rocket salad (B210) alongside dishes with a twist like zaap char-grilled Australia strip loin served with pickles and Dijon chili mayo (B510).
The drinks: Over 200 labels covering red, white and rose as well as sparkling options like Pol Roger and Moscato. There’s a decent pick of house wines by the glass, with a choice of five red and two white options (B180-B280). They also offer cocktails like The Billie Jean (jelly, sparkling wine, honey and lychee, B250).
The crowd: Office workers popping in on the weekdays and trendy families on the weekends. Pieng-or Mongkolkum-nuankhet
An international menu with a Mediterranean slant, a community mall location, a walk-in cellar—D’Vine has all the hallmarks of your usual, mediocre wine bistro. The reality is a bit more complex. Despite failings typical of these restaurants (sub-par produce, sweet sauces), the genuinely lovely service make D’Vine a lot more tolerable than some of its counterparts. But the reason trendy families flock here is probably more down to the exposed brick and checkerboard floors which combine with white panel walls and opulent leather chairs to provide a setting that’s part Victorian gentleman’s club, part medieval banquet hall. The refreshingly brief menu is categorized as tapas, pastas and mains. We’ve had zero luck with the tapas, though (D’Vine tapas platter, B300). The crab cake, despite a pleasant texture, is too light on flavor—one for the kids, really. The potato skin is heaped with cheese—yawn. And the shrimps weren’t even fresh on our last visit. However, they do slightly better on the pasta front; or at least they cook it al dente. The squid ink spaghetti with seafood (B230) has a nice salty flavor (even if, here too, the freshness is not stellar). The ravioli stuffed with (a tiny drop of) foie gras (B270) would actually be pretty tasty were they not doused in a sauce that’s too thick, too salty and too buttery. Prices are pretty low, though, such as the grilled Australian beef tenderloin for B590. But you’re getting rather bland meat which is, once again, completely overpowered by its rich pepper sauce. As is typical of this kind of restaurant, there are also some Thai dishes, which can actually turn out to be a safer option. The nam tok kha moo (pork hock in spicy herbal sauce, B250), for example, is deep-fried to a nice crisp and comes with a pleasant herbal sauce. Overall, though, the food here is clearly overshadowed by the décor. As there’s nothing too inspiring about the menu, D’Vine is just another eatery that sells patrons on the glamorous idea of sitting and sipping wine in a polished décor, without costing five-star hotel prices. Corkage B500.
|Address:||D’Vine, The Crystal Park (phase 1), Praditmanoontham Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Open since:||December, 2011|
|Opening hours:||daily 5:30pm-1am|
|Live music, Parking available|
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