Ekkamai’s favorite izakaya comes to Sathorn’s heaving business district.
This salaryman stronghold now has branches in Sathorn and Thonglor, but it’s the wood-dominated Ekkamai original that continues to offer one of the warmest izakaya experiences in town. Enter the slender house prepared for an intoxicating mix of whiskey highballs, Japanese pub grub done right, and staff just as rowdy as the guests. Kanpai!
The buzz: Since 2013, Teppen’s wooden house in Ekkamai has provided a home away from home for displaced Tokyoites with its intoxicating mix of whiskey highballs, bar bites and staff just as rowdy as the guests. The new branch dials back the tavern vibes somewhat, giving Sathorn’s office crowds a place more conducive to a sit-down dinner.
The decor: A tall black wooden fence hides a long slither of a room that forgoes Ekkamai’s dark wooden hues for shimmering mosaic tiles, airy exposed ceilings and patterned paper light shades. The roving army of staff still shouts “irasshaimase!” and “kanpai!” at every opportunity, but overall the place feels less clandestine Tokyo drinking den and more, well, grown-up Sathorn restaurant. That said, a seat at the bar will still get you right amid the action as chefs slice, dice, juggle and generally ham it up for the crowd.
The food: As at the original, the menu charts a greatest hits of Japanese pub grub, done right: sashimi (platter of six kinds, B730), karaage (deep-fried chicken, B180) and robatayaki (seafood, vegetables and meat over a charcoal barbecue). Another highlight is the warayaki, a method of roasting over highly inflammable straw that involves an impressive fire show (see the video below) and results in smoky, delicate flavors—try the Norwegian salmon (B300), fatty bonito (B400) or Kagoshima wagyu (B780). Kamameshi (“kettle rice” with toppings) starts from B270, while there’s also a seasonal menu that currently (Sep-Nov) includes specialties like sanma fish (Pacific saury, B250), available salt-grilled or as sashimi, and jumbo oysters (B150).
The drinks: The draft Asahi (from B120), highballs (from B150) and umeshu (plum wine, from B160) come in at just the right price to keep you constantly calling for one more round. Bottles of sake start at B1,380/750ml.
Why we’d come back: Silom-Sathorn has no shortage of salaryman haunts (including Touka, run by the same people), but Teppen’s food and service trump most, and the sleek surrounds prove izakayas can be both fun and classy. There’s also talk of opening for lunch soon, too. Carl Dixon
Check out the grill station in action: