Ocean Gastro Tapas Bar
The buzz: As the name suggests, Ocean Urban Lounge and Boutique Resort goes for a beach club-cum-resort atmosphere, with eight rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a club, right in the heart of the city. The restaurant, Ocean Gastro Tapas Bar, puts the focus on tapas dishes courtesy of Spanish Chef Jacobo Astray.
The décor: Instead of the casual, barstool vibe you might expect from a tapas bar, the restaurant here retains the venue’s all-white concept with proper dining seating. Still, looking out onto the pool, the vibe is resolutely laidback during the day, while nighttime ramps up the fun with blue lighting.
The food: The small plates still signify a tapas style, but the dishes take big influences from Mediterranean and Asian cooking, like the pork teriyaki served in a sesame cone (B70 or B230 for four different types of cones), yellow crab curry in charcoal cone (B70) and deep-fried eggplant with miso and honey (B240). Helmed by Chef Astray, who worked as a chef de partie at the iconic El Bulli some 6-7 years ago, presentation is crucial, the food is casual and the prices pretty reasonable. Some dishes do borrow from modern cooking techniques, such as the impressive champignon mushroom (B310) that comes with parmesan foam and parsley oil. Those with a sweet tooth should ask for the raspberry yoghurt sponge (B250). And as with many hotels, you can expect all the usual suspects, from classic burgers (from B270) to popular Thai dishes (from B240). For heavy-sleepers who can’t make the Sunday brunch at 11am,they also have a BBQ brunch from 1-4pm at B1,400 with free-flow sparkling wine.
The drinks: While you’re waiting for the finishing touches to be made to the club in the basement, the restaurant offers a similar drinks list focusing on cocktails created by Joseph Boroski. The prices start off reasonable at B150, so do hurry on down lest they change their mind. Try the signature Ocean Club Cocktail (local spirit, lime, hibiscus, green peppercorn and egg, B150) or Farang Martini (local spirit, guava, lime and ginger, B150). The beer list is pretty hip, too, with four types of Mikkeller (B380) and Duche de Longueville cider (B790). Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with Inedit (B740).
The crowds: With a bar vibe similar to Sukhumvit Soi 11, we’re tipping crowds of mostly expats and some Thais looking to get in on the action, especially the exciting daily promotions.