Spanish tapas with a North African edge overlooking the British Embassy.

Average: 3 (1 vote)
The buzz: Open House at Central Embassy’s latest foodie player does tapas-portioned Spanish dishes with Moorish influence amid beautiful tiles and alfresco views. 
The decor: Sitting on the balcony side complete with outdoor tables, the open-plan restaurant benefits from natural light and stunning city views. Clad in Spanish tiles, the indoor space with its open kitchen, soaring ceiling and vibrant yellow paint job is equally stunning.
The food: North African influences are underpinned by a Mediterranean base in Rico’s tapas plates, like hints of cumin in the green chermoula sauce that seasons the roast cauliflower salad with almonds, pickled raisins and confit tomatoes (B220). Spanish ingredients like quince, piquillo pepper, chorizo and manchego cheese play their part in dishes like the charred sous-vide octopus with piquillo pepper, potatoes, chickpea, glazed fennel and pickles (B480) and pan-roasted scallops with cauliflower puree, green apple and Spanish morcilla (blood chorizo, B480). The chef also serves Spanish staples like gazpacho (cold soup), here in the form of a granita on fresh oysters, with herb oil and pickles (B170 a piece). Savory churros feature goat cheese and olive dough, served with quince aioli (B280). For something meaty, try the braised beef short rib with tempranillo wine and mashed potato (B450). Desserts stick to the classics like crema Catalana (B240), churros (B220) and Spanish-style baked lemon cheesecake (B240).
The drinks: Red and white sangria is available at B190/glass (B500/jug) while Spanish cava wine starts at B290 by the glass. Cocktails also take a Spanish route, like the Kalimoxto (red wine, coca cola, lemon, B190) and Mediterranean spritz (elderflower liqueur, cucumber, olive juice and prosecco, B320).
Why we’d come back: The goat cheese churros alone are worth repeat visits. Rico also fills a light gap between the cafe fare of Open House’s central vestibule and the hearty plates of Peppina and Meat Bar. Natcha Sanguankiattichai

Open House at Central Embassy’s latest foodie player does tapas-portioned Spanish dishes with Moorish influence amid beautiful tiles and alfresco views.

The menu splits between “land,” “pasture” and “garden” (seafood, meat and vegetables) but on our last visit seemed like it could do with some updating. The black mussels with bay leaf, chili and garlic—off; the Ortiz anchovies—off. And then there was the white sangria (B500/jug), which completely lacked any alcoholic kick and featured none of the advertised aged rum, pineapple, cinnamon or lemon—a point the service didn’t think to mention until we asked.

Of the stuff we could actually order, we found highs and lows. Rico’s blood sausage with hung yogurt (B280) is excellent—nutty, rich and meaty, with a Middle Eastern-leaning herb sauce and the fresh tang of good yogurt. The charred octopus with fennel, fingerling potato and piquillo pepper (B480) is strong, too—the octopus soft and juicy, the flavors full and precise.

We also like what passes for a “small plate” at Rico. These are indeed dishes that you can order to share rather than finish in one bite. When food tastes as good as the grilled eggplant salad—fresh from mint, creamy from yogurt, a sharp kick of vinegar—this is a wonderful thing. Less so in the case of some prawns in garlic and olive oil (B380). What reads like a simple, light gambas al ajillo is actually something far heavier and unappetizing, made with unfresh-tasting prawns and a bitter, over-reduced sauce.

Though Rico’s menu can serve up a miss for every hit, we do feel it deserves more love than the crowds packed into neighboring Peppina are giving it, especially when the temperature dips below 25 and you can enjoy their sinfully delicious goats cheese churros (B280) on the terrace with a crisp and sunny glass of 2013 Languedoc Chardonnay at B320—it sure makes a smarter choice than the sangria.

This review took place in December 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
Venue Details
Address: Rico, 6/F, Central Embassy, Phloen Chit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-119-7777
Area: Phloen Chit
Cuisine: Spanish
Open since: June, 2017
Opening hours: daily 9-9am
Parking available
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