BANGKOK RESTAURANT

High Hat Sushi Bar

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

The buzz: Bangkok’s sushi scene seems to have benefited from a wave of Thai chefs who after working in Japanese restaurants in Chicago have returned home to open eateries like Isao, Gallery Sushi Bar and In the Mood for Love. Now you can add High Hat Sushi Bar to that list. The chefs here, Kittisak Soontaros and Frank Sitipredanant, also spent time in the Windy City, but their focus isn’t so heavily placed on US twists to Japanese maki; the menu also contains many French and Italian dishes which Frank says he learned while working in France.

The décor: Sat in the front of one of the owners’ homes, the restaurant features a stylish grey-hued décor with hanging lamps in the shape of oversized bowler hats adding a bit of fun to the space. The atmosphere is very bistro, with lots of light streaming in during the day while at night things get moodier.

The food: American-style Japanese, and we’re pleased to report that the use of non-traditional ingredients doesn’t detract from the flavors. The rolls, of course, take center stage, but don’t come here expecting overly-sweet rice, as the owners say Bangkokians tend to get it wrong in that department. Try the tasty signature maki Ocean Fourteen (B225/B450), with its blow-torched scallop, octopus, crab, fish roe and spicy mayo, or opt for the Hawaiian rolls (unagi, macadamia, avocado, B210/B420) with mango on top. Most of the sauces here are homemade, as in the specialty sashimi hamachi (B520) topped with daikon, jalapeno and ponzu sauce. The Western dishes are also worth a try, like the tender fried stewed duck wings served with mayonnaise sauce (B220) and baked oyster with mirepoix, green parmesan and melted mozzarella (B180). Lunch sets start from B200 with a drink.

The drinks: Right as you enter, you’ll find the bar where you can sip sake-based cocktails (B180), or go straight to the short list of sake (B280-B420). Beers are Heineken (B110) and Tiger (B90), while wine by the glass is from B120.

The crowds: Lunchtime gives you the chance to dine with the doctors from Bangkok Hospital, while other hours see families and acquaintances of the owners drop by. Pieng-or Mongkolkumnuankhet

Bangkok’s sushi scene seems to have benefited from a wave of Thai chefs who after working in Japanese restaurants in Chicago have returned home to open eateries like Isao, Gallery Sushi Bar, Maki Maki and In the Mood for Love.

High Hat Sushi’s chefs, Kittisak Soontaros and Frank Sitipredanant, also spent time in the Windy City, but their focus isn’t so heavily placed on US twists to Japanese maki; the menu also contains many French and Italian dishes which Frank says he learned while working in France. The result is a bit hit-and-miss, though, mostly because of the produce, with the occasional fish that’s just lost all flavor balanced by some very fresh catches.

Sat in front of one of the owners’ homes, the restaurant features a stylish grey-hued décor with hanging lamps in the shape of bowler hats adding a bit of fun to the space. The atmosphere is very bistro, with lots of light streaming in during the day, an outdoor deck, and moody lighting at night.

Maybe we’re just not big fans of American-style Japanese, but even if the rice here isn’t quite as sweet as some other venues, High Hat’s creative maki just don’t work for us. The signature Ocean Fourteen (B225/B450), with its blow-torched scallop, octopus, crab, fish roe and spicy mayo, ends up tasting just a smidgeon better than spicy canned tuna salad in mayo—same texture too. It’s dry, and the flavors are undistinguishable.

Even when there’s no overpowering sauce, the simple salmon, crab and avocado maki (B140/280) shows there’s not much flavor in the rice, seaweed and seafood to start with. We have a similar gripe with the cooked dishes, such as the scallop with buttercorn (B350) or the snowfish with mushrooms cooked in parchment paper (B480). The scallop was rubbery and overcooked on our last visit, while the snowfish was ably supported by mushroom and lime-flavored broth in the papillote, but not dazzling on its own merits.

High Hat does shine brighter when the least preparation is involved. At B550, the chirashi bowl is topped with a generous heap of delicious, fresh sashimi. Another generous dish, the mango and crab salad (B380) is packed with chunky blue crab meat, delicious mango, and crisp salad greens—a great combination with a superb dressing.

Our experience is therefore to keep things simple here. The service is excellent, it’s a very handsome place, and they really put some thought into the booze side of things: a proper bar, plenty of cocktails (B280-B420) and reasonably-priced sake including a triple-sake flight (B280).

Venue Details
Address: High Hat Sushi Bar, Petchburi Soi 47, 11/56 Petchaburi Soi 47, Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-716-7495
Cuisine: Japanese
Price Range: BBB - BBBB
Open since: April, 2013
Opening hours: Fri-Sun 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm; Fri 11:30am-2pm; Sat 11:30am-2pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-11pm
Parking available
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