Wine Me Up

Average: 3 (1 vote)

The buzz: There seems to be a new symbiotic relationship between community malls and restaurants with the word “wine” in their names. Wine Connection and K. Village, Wine I Love You (and Wine 33) and Crystal Design Center and now Wine Me Up and Seenspace on Thong Lor 13. The difference here is the emphasis on modern Italian food, everyone’s favorite, paired with a quirky décor mixing camp Renaissance elements with enormous film set lights in the corners. The décor: To get here, you take the elevator (or the stairs) up, above Clouds, Roast and BonChon Chicken to the most elaborately, decorated place in the mall. Lots of baroque-style leather chairs and couches, and a Michelangelo-esque painted ceiling—kind of like if The Godfather was a chick flick. The food: Standard Italian restaurant fare with a couple of exceptions like the crowd-pleasing chicken tortillas (essentially chicken quesadillas, B260) and tuna with wasabi cream sauce (B230). Other than that, expect dishes like tagliatelle Bolognese (B240), spaghetti marinara with river prawns (B320). Mains include some affordable options like the snapper fillet with prune sauce (B350), the ribeye steak in wine sauce (B560) and the river prawn thermidor (B380). The drinks: Alas, only three wines by the glass (B150 for all), but the bottles are inexpensive, ranging from B580 for a simple pinot grigio IGT to B4,5000 for a Louis Latour Chablis. Cocktails come in a broad range, from pitchers of red and white sangria (B450) to cutely named concoctions like bada bing bada boom (B340). The crowd: Professionals and casual Thai diners. Mrigaa Sethi (after the grand opening in June, they will serve lunch as well) Corkage B400.

2010 was an unusual renaissance year for Bangkok dining with lots of new places doing original and sophisticated concepts. 2011 has been the year of the backlash, with most new openings replicating the old formula of a hodge podge menu of pastas and Japanese fusion served in contemporary dining rooms heavy on birch wood and industrial touches. Which is why Wine Me Up is such a shock to the senses: a cross between a Las Vegas resort and a Renaissance Fair, it resolutely ignores current restaurant design wisdom and packs in bombastic, incongruous elements such as a Sistine Chapel ceiling, a prominent bar with hundreds of tiny black mirrors and reddish lighting. (And all within spitting distance of minimalist Roast, utilitarian BonChon and concrete and leafy Clouds.) But come here on a Saturday night without a reservation, and you might become convinced that Wine Me Up is doing everything right, whether the snobby tastemakers (like us) approve or not. The place gets packed with people ordering tons of wine, eating and drinking for hours and taking pictures on their phones. And while the kitschy Italian-themed eatery does serve up the odd curve balls like nacho supreme (B260) and (our pet peeve) Japanese fusion like the spaghetti with buta yaki and tobiko (B280), it’s hard to take exception to the quality of the food. The oft-done tuna with wasabi cream sauce (B260) is fresh, if a bit dry, and almost raw with a lovely peppery crust. Even the fettucine with river prawn (B340), which perhaps graces every other Italian menu in town, is done well: al dente pasta, a savory and spicy white wine sauce in restrained amounts and a large, well-executed prawn that’s so tender, it’s practically creamy. And while the grilled lamb chop is a touch tough and comes with a too-sweet mint jelly, it’s a reasonable B720 and comes with grilled vegetables and fluffy, textured mashed potatoes. That, and the wine deals are fabulous, with six wines by the glass (starting at B180) and an affordable list of bottles going for B750-6,000. So unless you oppose a restaurant like Wine Me Up on principle, or are prone to seizures, it’s a great option for a festive, carb-heavy meal and some cheap wine that doesn’t feel cheap. Corkage B400.

Venue Details
Address: Wine Me Up, 4/F, Seenspace 13, 251/1 Thonglor Soi 13, Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-185-2455
Area: Thonglor
Cuisine: Italian
Price Range: BB - BBB
Opening hours: daily 5pm-midnight
Reservation recommended, Parking available
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