Here's another welcome excuse to kick back on the riverside, with the opening of Sheepshank, a new restaurant run by Somkiat "Joke" Pairojmahakij of Seven Spoons. Set in what was once an old boatyard right by Phra Arthit Pier, you can still see remnants of this former life, in the form of the old pulleys, crates and buoys that adorn a dining area that's been polished up in an industrial style. While the outdoor space is still under construction, seat yourself in the air-con and enjoy Modern American comfort dishes like the vegetable tagine with almond chickpea couscous (B280) and oxtail tortellini with brown butter and walnuts (B320). They also serve a decent selection of wines, as well as Italian craft beer Birra Menabrea.
File this under: missed opportunity. Set in what was once an old boathouse right by Phra Arthit Pier, Sheepshank’s themed decor of old pulleys, crates and buoys is topped only by the river views, which are particularly stunning come sundown. The menu, from Seven Spoons’ chef Somkiat “Joke” Pairojmahakij, promises so much, too. Like that Old Town favorite, the focus is said to be fresh, organic produce. The reality is pasta, seafood and meat dishes that read well on paper but in which the ingredients simply fail to shine.
All the dishes we’ve tried here—and that’s quite a few—have been fundamentally unbalanced. The starter of grilled squid and chorizo skewers (B230) comes with a chipotle aioli that tastes dehydrated and earthy, plus squid so characterless you may as well be eating chorizo on a stick. The duck confit salad (B320) features dry, unseasoned duck that’s completely overpowered by the sweet-on-sweet combo of fresh peach and blueberry vinaigrette.
Mains hint at some intriguing flavor combinations. The snapper with artichoke, raisins, olives and celery (B420), however, is overcooked, with any possible tanginess offered by the artichoke hearts again buried by one-dimensional sweetness. Even though well cooked, the conchiglie pasta with hand-caught crab and lobster oil (B320) has all the flavor profile of salt and pepper, and a few sad capers. Even when something goes right, as in the mountainous bruschetta with roasted capsicum, jamon and anchovies (B200), you’re left wondering how much better it could be if the kitchen had cut back on the oil or been less stingy on the anchovies.
Our complaints aren’t limited to the food, though. Despite the spectacular setting, the ambiance is hardly what you’d hope for in a laid-back riverside restaurant. Our last visit saw the outside bar’s club-ready soundtrack of Justin Bieber and Maroon 5 turned to 11, waging war with the inside air-con room’s playlist of MOR ‘80s chart-pop turned up even higher. The problem worsened when, in the midst of some pretty severe air circulation problems, staff took the much-delayed decision to open all the windows and doors without adjusting the sound levels.
Positives? The drinks are decent, including the full range of Beervana imports, some well-executed if uninspired classic cocktails and a small wine list. As big fans of Seven Spoons, word that chef Joke will soon be taking a more hands-on approach, and introducing a lunch menu, has us cautiously optimistic Sheepshank can up its game, but for now we’re thoroughly under-whelmed.
This review took place in September 2015 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||Sheepshank, 47 Phra Athit, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Area:||Riverside, Rattanakosin (Old Town)|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Open since:||December, 2013|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 5:30pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 5:30pm-1am|
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