Water Library Chamchuri
Fine European cuisine with discreet Asian twists.
A pioneer on the Bangkok dining scene, Water Library draws on local, seasonal flavors to prepare contemporary European menus to an uncompromising standard. Its glass-walled modernist space is a lesson in “special.” The restaurant’s founder, Pote Lee, owns a Californian vineyard, and the wine menu here spotlights the best of the region.
We’ve always been the only diners on our visits to Water Library, probably because of its location in a remote corner of a mall full of tutorial schools. Despite this, most items on the menu are still available, and the service is ultra-responsive. In fact, the elegantly dressed waitresses are a little too present. Water Library has, you guessed it, an impressive water menu. No plain water here, but if you order wisely (Alsatian Wattwiller is B120 one liter of sparkling or 1.5 liters of still), your water bill may still end up smaller than other places. If you want to get fancy, several-hundred baht bottles from all over the world are available. The wine menu is just as impressive. Unfortunately, the food generally tastes rather salty and boring. On one visit, the slow cooked silver shank of beef was so salty we had to complain. A pity, it was otherwise tender and flavorful. The seafood fritto misto with wasabi aioli is actually like fish and chips with mixed seafood in place of fish (and not enough wasabi). Another appetizer, the marinated mushroom salad with toasted pine, shaved parmesan and arugula ends up simply acidic and salty. We’ve had more luck with soups, or the baked Momotaro—the fat slice of tomato and melted mozzarella is like a lighter and more refined Mos Cheeseburger. The fusilli (cooked al dente) with sausage, anchovies, chili and broccoli tastes only of chili and salt, with some crunch from the broccoli. Where have the anchovies and sausage gone? But there are also very good dishes (the pan-seared snowfish with braised cabbage a la Parisienne, or the grilled tiger prawns in pink vodka sauce) and an overall quality and freshness. The bitter fondant with homemade caramel ice cream redefines to-die-for. The place is also really gorgeous, much more like something you’d find in an elegant boutique hotel than a mall. The use of steel, glass and grey wood is striking without being cold, thanks to cozy corners that conjure a library atmosphere. One more push in the kitchen and this place could become an outstanding standalone restaurant.
|Water Library Chamchuri, 2/F, Chamchuri Square, Rama 4 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
|daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm
|BTS Chong Nonsi
|Parking available, Dress requirements: Smart casual
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