Prices are that of a non-air-con shophouse restaurant; it’s open 24/7; service is lightning fast; and its menu covers Hong Kong, Isaan and Bangkok. Indeed, HK Marina can be a bit of a life-saver during the witching hours, and has often made it into our lists of top late-night eats. But its low prices can be accounted for all too easily: the food is mostly inferior produce hiding behind seasonings (salt, sugar and perhaps MSG) that feel artificial and tongue-numbing. Take the somtam poo ma (spicy mango salad with raw horse crab, B78). Is the crab in this tasty, tangy salad really fresh, or just preserved in so much salt it could hardly go bad? And what on earth do they marinate their grilled sirloin beef (B78) in? The sad, gray meat, which looks like odds and ends that fell off the butcher’s block, is infused with a mixture so bizarre it leaves your mouth feeling pasty. The signature dish, a “Four Season” London (sic) roast duck, is much better (B138/258/498) but that’s not saying much. The meat is chewy, the skin sagging and, again, salt levels alone are meant to excite (and blind) the palate. As any late night place, there’s the obligatory rice porridge, but at B48, don’t expect the stale-tasting minced pork balls to rival the B200 variations served at the Landmark’s Greenhouse. The menu also forays into the mainland, but the Shanghai noodles with shrimps (B148) come doused in a vinegary sauce, six minuscule shrimps and a heap of chopped garlic and coriander—potentially an OK dish if it wasn’t so tart and salty. We’re not going to complain about the atmosphere, though—halogen lights and every inch of the space plastered with picture menus—which is par for the course given the prices and opening hours. In fact, HK Marina’s greatest advantage is its lack of competition. Sure, food courts do similar dishes, with air-con, at similar prices and, on occasion, better taste. But they’re not open at 10pm. So while we’re glad students in uniforms (who get 10% off here) can sit down in a proper restaurant and have smoothies and somtam on a dime, we’ve clearly outgrown the place—even when it’s very late, even when we’re very drunk.
|Address:||HK Marina, Corner of Siam Square Soi 1, 216/1-6 Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily noon-midnight|
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