The Great Hornbill Bistro
Escape to the vineyard without leaving the city, thanks to PB Valley Khao Yai Winery’s The Great Hornbill Bistro. The sister venue to the one in Khao Yai follows the same concept, right down to the Martha’s Vineyard, country cottage feel. The kitchen keeps in step with Thai and international dishes from yam ka moo (pork knuckle in spicy salad, B550) to the GHB Breakfast (B250).
The original Great Hornbill Grill is in Khao Yai, where the Bhirom Bhakdi family (owners of Singha) have a vineyard, P.B. Valley. While they can’t compete with that venue’s view, there’s much to like about the Bangkok branch of the “country-style” restaurant, despite some misfires on the food side of things. It’s a lofty space with a mezzanine, two-story-tall bay windows and a screen of vines growing on the outside. Prices are net (and reasonable), service is attentive and the menu covers just about everything you could desire: breakfast and brunch dishes (no Bloody Mary, though), steaks, pasta, Thai food and tapas. Of course, that’s also the problem. No kitchen can excel at cooking every dish on such a lengthy menu. The patatas bravas (B150), for example, seem to have been fried (so far so good), then stir-fried in tomato sauce, thereby losing all their crispiness. Granted, the portion is huge but if you can’t get that dish right, just don’t do tapas at all. You can also get Mexican dishes, like breakfast burritos (B240) and carne asanas. But at B550, the latter is pretty disappointing: guacamole that’s way too heavy on the parsley and garlic (or way too light on the avocado), a few strips of grayish beef and a floury soft taco. Nonetheless, even these somewhat failed dishes benefit from the use of fresh ingredients, a constant with everything we’ve tried here. The baby clams (B190), which come in an addictive buttery and tangy sauce, are a real delight. And the Maryland style crab cake (B320) is packed with delicious crabmeat—too bad it’s gone in three bites. We’re just as fond of their duck confit (B360), which comes with a light drizzle of balsamic reduction on its crispy skin. Although this family restaurant is a treasure for residents, newbies may struggle figuring out which dishes actually work, here. We recommend avoiding the pizzas (B300-440) and anything too exotic. Instead, look for hearty deals like the goulash soup, pork knuckle and sauerkraut served with two glasses of draft Singha at B990 for two persons. And don’t forget to try some local P.B. Valley wines, starting at only B100-150 by the glass. Corkage B300.
|Address:||The Great Hornbill Bistro, 59/3 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Phone:||02-262-0030 ext. 321|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-10pm|
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