Cultures collide at Sathorn's latest experimental fine-dining spot.
The buzz: Think Beyond, the group behind the much-loved Roast and Roots, have expanded to Sathorn with a cozy yet altogether more-refined restaurant. Set within the hip Bhiraj Tower revamp, Ocken (a portmanteau of octopus and chicken) heads in an international, fine-dining tapas direction.
The decor: Nestled right beside BTS Surasak (and a new branch of Roots coffee roaster), Ocken greets you with an alluringly teal-colored bar, which leads into a spacious dining room with matching teal plush chairs and dark wooden tables. A counter seat lets you take in all the action of the open kitchen, as carried out to a funky soundtrack of James Brown on our visit. It’s all very dim and moody, though floor-to-ceiling windows let diners look out onto the street, and in turn be ogled by passersby.
The food: Executive chef Johnny Liu and his team prep a globe-trotting menu that’s full of comforting notes and East-meets-West tropes. The Barron Point Oysters (B300/2pcs) make a refreshing start to the meal, served with a grapefruit yuzu mignonette, shiso and piment peppers. Follow with the Mini Cubano (B220): two bite-size but punchy sandwiches filled with thinly sliced pork, melted Swiss and gruyere, pickles, jalapenos, mustard and mojo aioli. No less flavorful is the Ocken Salad (B420), which is perfectly balanced with creamy burrata, tart kiwi, toasted almonds, fried garlic chips and crisp Asian apple mixed with peppery watercress. The poached salmon (B650) topped with a quinoa bacon “skin” and served with herby green vegetable stew will leave you feeling less guilty about dessert. On that front, their Sathorn Mess (B320), an eclectic medley of warm gooey chocolate cake, green tea genoise, strawberry ice cream and fresh sorrel, is a mess of the most beautiful kind.
The drinks: Cocktail classics like the negroni (B360) and old fashioned (B360) sit alongside more adventurous creations like the Salty Pineapple (B320), which tastes more delicate than expected with its Campari, dark rum, pineapple and a hint of sea salt. For a little pick-me-up, try the Cafe Punt e Mes (B340) with red vermouth, rosemary syrup, soda and a hit of Roots cold brew. They also say no to plastic bottles by purifying their own water, with free-flow still or sparkling costing B60 per person.
Why we’d come back: This is fine dining without the fuss. A prime location, well-trained staff and an adventurous menu that won’t scare you off make Ocken ripe for revisits. You can also expect brunch in the near future. Megan Leon