The buzz: Foodie Chavayos Rattakul is behind the popular high-end Japanese restaurant Tenyuu Grand on Sathorn. O’zake, however, has more of a bar vibe with DJs nights (Thu-Sat), lots of sake, and more izakaya-style Japanese dishes—plus it sits within spitting distance of hip haunt Badmotel. This is only the start of Chavayos’ grand expansion plans, with a seasonal sushi bar in the omakase style (that means the chef is boss and decides what you eat) called Yashin set to open at Nihonmura Mall in Thonglor Soi 15 with more to follow.
The décor: Standing in the middle of Thonglor, O’zake is done up in dark hues, befitting of its after-dark hangout aspirations. Entering the place, you’ll be greeted by a wall covered in sake barrels, further setting the tone. The theme is continued through the use of frames filled with rice grains and a big sake tank. As you’d expect, the chefs can be seen behind the open bar-kitchen on the second floor, slicing and blow-torching raw fish. The 4/F rooftop is covered with fake grass while a yellow-and-grey striped canopy lends it a casual, terrace atmosphere. There’s even a karaoke room if dinner has got you in the mood to belt out a tune.
The food: Small plates designed for sharing, as you’d expect at an izakaya, such as yakitori (grilled skewers, B150-270). Try the rice topped with grilled eel and snap peas (B240), gobo chips (B90) and marinated Thai beef with shoyu sauce and Japanese chili (B270). If you’re there for sushi, pick from a range of traditional and fusion creations, from wagyu drizzled with engawa and ponzu sauce (B220) to hotate (scallop) with sea urchin (B160). Those looking for variety can opt for a sashimi set of five types fish (B490). Rolls are conveniently chopped into bite-sized portions, like the blow-torched salmon stuffed with foie gras and cream cheese (B295).
The drinks: Imbibe all sorts of sake here, from umeshu to rice wine (B400-B5,200) and even sparkling varieties. There are roughly 100 labels with a few rare bottles such as 18-year-old Hakushu single malt whisky (B18,000) and Dewatsuru junmai ginjo (B2,750). Its plum wines range from the basic Kacha at B250 to the yuzu-flavored version at B1,600. Japanese whisky is B1,600-B3,200 and draught beer is Asahi (B150/425). All cocktails are sake-based, like the signature Kyoto Sour (sake, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, green Tabasco, B180) and the popular sparkling jelly sake (B360). Shisha is expected to arrive soon.
The crowd: Mostly, well-dressed young ladies whose lives seem to revolve around checking into new places on Instagram. Pieng-or Mongkolkumnuankhet
High-end Japanese restaurant Tenyuu is opening a new sake bar, O’zake. With its trendy, dark tone vibe, it’s giving it’s Thonglor neighbors a run for their money. The dishes come in small portions to share, and range from sushi to izakaya choices like wagyu with ponzu sauce (B350), sashimi salad with vegetables (B260-280) and wagyu engawa aburi sushi (B220). And, of course, you can imbibe all sorts of sake, from umeshu to sparkling varieties. Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), across from Mellow, 02-712-7555.
Owned by the same team behind Tenyuu in Sathorn, O’Zake seems tailor-made for Thonglorites, offering a dimly-lit bar vibe augmented by DJs spinning upbeat house and bite-sized Japanese favorites.
Entering the place, you’re greeted by a wall covered in sake barrels, further setting the tone that this should be a good spot for imbibing all sorts of rice wines (B400-B5,200) and Japanese beers like Orion (B290). There’s also a fourth-floor rooftop area that offers a view of the beautiful people over at Badmotel.
The food, though, is a rather mixed affair. On weekends the place gets pretty jam-packed with groups ordering the small plates, which are suited for sharing. The sushi is probably the main highlight, though, with a set (B1,400 for six) representing decent value in Thonglor. The quality of the fish exceeds the mid-range price tag, but comes in chunks that are almost too big if you try to balance it with the rice. The rolls are contemporary American style, which means lots of mayo and dipping sauces. This can be overpowering, as in the volcano roll (B340), which is just too sour.
Some other dishes such as the soba (B180), which comes with a quail egg and greasy tempura, are downright unpleasant. And don’t go expecting chewy and fresh soba—instead it’s just average noodles.
If you are dropping by for a drink, the special dishes are generally worth a try, though, as the ingredients are often intriguing and sourced by the owner who travels regularly. On our last visit, the shabu salad with mangalista pork (B270) was not the best example of this, unfortunately. The pork and vegetables were certainly fresh, but there was nothing exciting about the shabu sauce.
If you’re looking for traditional dishes, go to Tenyuu instead, while there are many places you can find better sushi. But O’Zake does offer a trendy décor in which to start the night with a few drinks amid a well-dressed crowd.
|Address:||O’zake, Thonglor Soi between Sois 15 and 17 (across from Penny’s Balcony), Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 4-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-1am|
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