Wine I Love You
The buzz: If Lad Phrao were a parallel universe, the Crystal Design Center would be K. Village, and the new wine restaurant Wine I Love You, a partnership between Route 66 and Gulliver’s, would be Wine Connection, complete with the forty-minute waits, the exposed brick and an ambience awash with packed tables and lively chatter. Okay, we exaggerate. There are at least two key differences: lots more emphasis on food and a vibe that’s distinctly more European café than New York loft. The décor: The space is an enormous, sprawling square with high ceilings and lots of tables, making it all feel like a very big party rather than a cozy date spot. For the latter, you’ll have to walk to the back of the restaurant, to the popular glass room that reminds us of Parisian brasseries with its small black and white tiles on the floor, the black iron and glass frame and retro black wood chairs with blond wicker accents. The food: The emphasis here, despite the wine focus, is on food, as the owners believe their Thai clientele would like an introduction to wine alongside a simple and hearty dining experience. The young, confident chef, Win, does a broad menu that ranges from pub grub and gab glaem like chicken quesadilla, giant spare ribs and little balls of shrimp tod man, to heartier Western options like the blue cheese burger with fries and a range of pastas. There’s also a smattering of very Asian dishes like khao soi and bacon kimchi fried rice. The drinks: Funnily enough, they’re still working on their wine list, but the bright side is that you get to walk over to their very tall shelves of bottles and pick one out yourself, which in some ways is better than reading them off a list. They also do a red, a white and a sparkling by the glass. For those who say Wine I hate you, there’s a few Belgian beers and a smattering of very affordable cocktails. The crowd: A true mix, from large tables of young, arty dudes, to family dinners with grandma and grandpa, to yuppies on after work dates, to even a few tables of farang. Mrigaa Sethi Corkage B500 for wine, B1,000 for spirits.
Wine pubs are popping up all over town (Crystal Design Center alone has two) following identical templates: shelves of wine by the entrance, fake brick walls, wooden furniture, loft-style ceilings. As for the menu, it’s always steaks, pizzas, pasta—in short, Sizzler without the nice salad bar. This place is no different, friendly service and reasonable prices included, but that leaves two problems: Wine I Love You doesn’t seem to love wine that much, and we haven’t grown any fonder of chain food disguised as casual dining since the trend took off with Wine Connection in K Village. In fact, Wine I Love You is hitting a new low: order cold cuts and your pedestrian cured ham and greasy cuts of salami will arrive sans bread. “Would you like to order garlic bread?” was the only solution offered. Call us snobs but when you walk through a wine cellar to get into a restaurant, there’s the tiniest promise of some kind of European flair. Alas, the menu is more like a Midwestern diner. Potato skins covered in processed Kraft-style cheese, anyone? Or would you rather have ribs slathered in sweet ketchup? The meat is dry, and there isn’t a trace of herbs or smokiness. Even the “triple-cheese” pizza tastes like processed cheese—triple here seems to just mean more cheese, not three kinds of cheese. Sure, there’s foie gras on the menu, too, but we just didn’t have the guts to find out if duck liver, “banana bacon” and caramel sauce make for a good mix. Really, the place should have been called Coca-Cola I Love You. They do a measly four wines by the glass: two whites, two reds. And we don’t mean a tight, well-thought out selection. We mean Jacob’s Creek. Want a bottle? There’s no wine list, so get off your butt and go browse the “cellar,” where you’ll see mostly all-too-familiar names: Lynch, Jacob’s Creek, Hardy’s, Wyndham. If your nieces and nephews grew up on Pizza Company, they’ll be thrilled with a big family lunch here. After all, service is sweet, the place often gets busy, the decor is trendy and you won’t break the bank. But anyone who knows better will find it a long way from the true concept of a wine pub. Corkage B500 for wine, B1,000 for spirits.
|Address:||Wine I Love You, Building E/F, Crystal Design Center, 1420/1 Praditmanoontham Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Cuisine:||International, Mexican, Thai|
|Opening hours:||daily 4pm-1am|
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