Rock Restaurant and Bar
This stylish restaurant combines the flavors of Asia.
Rock Restaurant and Bar has left its Ari digs and settled in Soi Ruamrudee. Like at the old location, the decor doesn’t play by Bangkok’s industrial-chic rulebook with large rocks, cow skins and gnarled tree trunks littered about.
Chef Thanyathorn Kojaranonta continues to take a pan-Asian approach to the menu, resulting in creative twists to staples like kanom krok (B110), which sees crusty coconut pudding filled with prawn panang curry and kaffir lime leaf, and kanom jeen sawnaam (B280), rice noodles served with fresh coconut-poached prawns, pineapple, young ginger and sour fruit juice.
Cocktails stick to theme, such as My Bitter Chinese Mother in Law (chrysanthemum-infused vodka, homemade fennel syrup, crushed green peppercorn and Aperol, B300).
The following review took place in May 2014 and is based on a visit to Rock's previous Ari location (it moved to Soi Ruamrudee in late 2017) without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
Rock adds welcome variety to the beautiful, if somewhat beige, Ari social dining scene. Tucked away from the relative hubbub of the main drag, the two-story venue packs some serious warmth. The chic black and white interior is decorated with natural elements like rocks, cow skins and woven baskets that set it apart from look-a-like Ari staples Salt, Pla Dib and the new Marlin.
The menu is rather more interesting, too, offering intriguing flavors that blend the ingredients and techniques of Thailand and neighboring countries like China, Burma and India. There are “interesting” combos, such as the kanom bueng poo (wafers with crabmeat and cream cheese, B290) and salted egg carbonara (B290), but there’s no krapao pizza here, nothing that screams needless fusion.
The closest to this, the Thai sirloin beef burger (B450) with hoy tod (oyster pancake), is one of the least successful dishes. The components are there—the patty is juicy, the bun fluffy if a little dry—but as far as burgers go it’s ultimately joyless, and not quite rescued by the pungent house-made Sriracha sauce. The accompanying thick-cut fries are coated in a sweet seasoning, and it’s this recurring sweetness that proves to be Rock’s most divisive feature. You get it in the Joseph Boroski-curated cocktails list (buy-one-get-one-free on Thursdays, 5:30-11pm) and in appetizers like the mango duck salsa (B180), in which the almost-syrupy mango overpowers the small chunks of roast duck.
The lamb shank curry rice (B420) adds more spice to the mix, with lamb that is perfectly tender. Served with ajaat (pickled cucumber) on the side, it’s basically a massaman curry—and a very good one. Still, we’re almost inclined to say stick with the canapés (available in portions of 3, 6 and 9). The ginger-topped kha moo muntou (braised pork on Chinese bao buns, B140/B200/B330) are delicious, and the bite-sized morsels mean the sweetness isn’t too much to bear. It’s a similar case with the pomelo slaw (B70/B120/B190), which come in betel leaf parcels that make for surprisingly good finger food.
Rock’s thought-provoking menu doesn’t always hit the high notes, but it scores high for inventiveness—we wish more neighborhood eateries were so adventurous.
|Address:||Rock Restaurant and Bar, 48/8-9 Ruamrudee Soi 9, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Open since:||December, 2013|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 5:30pm-midnight|
|Parking available, Dress requirements|
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