The buzz: It may sound like just another new restaurant cashing in on the wine trend by superficially inserting the key word into the name, but City Viva’s Wine Fusion offers a few surprises in the beverages department. With its Italian comfort food and a few American dishes, a New England décor and a location at a small community mall on Narathiwas, the place may just be a breath of fresh air for power lunchers and Sathorn residents alike. The decor: Even though the space is pretty huge, both inside and outside, the shape of the restaurant ensures some nice nooks for privacy. The blond wood, navy blue paint and red light fixtures give the place a New England seafood restaurant atmosphere. There’s also an adjacent wine shop, with all the options on their wine list and a few extras. The food: Eclectic and affordable, the menu here offers hearty meals that may be called refined pub grub with some delicate touches, like the Caesar salad (B160), which comes not only with bacon, but some soft, savory bits of in-house smoked fish. A brief list of pastas and pizzas including options like branzino al verde (pasta with seabass, garlic, zucchini and white wine, B180) and vegetarian pizza (B180), with the unusual, but welcome, addition of super buttery baked carrots. Meat entrees include classics, like rack of lamb with mustard, confit garlic and rosemary sauce (B540) and the very American Johnsonville sausage with fries (B240). There’s even a Thai favorites section, where the pad Thai is B120. The drinks: A pleasant surprise, their wine list covers both Old and New World stuff, with no bottle over B1,500. Best of all, each listing is accompanied by helpful, down-to-earth tasting notes to help you make your choice. They even do six wines by the glass, with prices ranging from B99-199. Of all the wine places to have opened lately, this one is really trying. The crowd: Office executives and dainty ladies who lunch. Some after work drinking also happens here. Clae Sea
As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover, and that certainly proves to be the case with Wine Fusion. We had very low expectations for yet another bistro-style restaurant with wine in its title, serving Thai and inter food in yet another low-rise community mall. It even has a slightly cookie cutter décor, with its industrial edge—we have to admit we love the rough pine wood tables, though. But here’s the surprise, Wine Fusion is the real deal. And here’s the even bigger surprise, they actually know what they’re doing when it comes to wine. In fact we’d be hard pressed to think of many places that have such a decent selection of affordable bottles (most under B1,500) and all presented with useful tasting notes, too. The staff here even know to leave your bottle of red to breathe for a while before serving; sure, the bar isn’t very high around town, but frankly we’re stunned. The food is less stunning, but it is definitely very solid, well-portioned and very affordable. A strip loin steak from Australia for a mere B390 is impressive, as is the fact that it actually comes cooked as requested and is accompanied by a rich mustard sauce and thick cut fries. The chicken with duck foie gras and herb sauce is also well done: the moist breast combining well with the creamy pate. However, it’s not all so impressive. For example, the baked scallops with butter and chili jam (B150) are a little gritty and the sauce overly sweet. The soft shell crab salad (B190) is big and the deep-fried crab tasty, but the whole dish get’s a little dry due to the paucity of the lemongrass mayo. They are pretty minor grumbles, to which we must add the trek out to the toilet in the car park and the awful autotuned R’n’B being played by the DJ the last time we went. Still, at these prices, these issues certainly don’t overshadow the fact that, overall, the menu is clearly well thought out with plenty of options we’d go back to try in the future. And go back we will, to enjoy the pleasant buzz of the place, the great service, the light and airy vibe and to sample more of that lovely wine list.
|Address:||Wine Fusion, 1/F, City Viva, Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-midnight|
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