This post is a chronicle of the food tried and tested over our recent Bangkok getaways. K and I are so in love the land of smiles – we went twice last year (see Instagram album #kkbangkok2014) and yet again two months ago (#kkbangkok2015). Being “regulars”, we have a few places that’s a MUST on every Bangkok trip (that means Raan Jay Fai!!) but I also like to strike off new cafes and restaurants on my ever-expanding list. Not all the places we conquered are featured here; see the Instagram albums for more foooooooood!
Singapore has Chin Mee Chin, Bangkok has On Lok Yun. Breakfast here is as old school as it gets – bare and basic “decor” (for want of a better word), A4 laminated menu, cha chaan teng-style booths, and of course the simple traditional servings of toast, eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and drinks. Between the two of us gluttons, we ordered 2x kaya (a.k.a. egg custard on the menu), 2x soft steamed bread, 2x soft boiled eggs, 1x French toast, 1x chayen (Thai milk tea), 1x black coffee and 1x milk coffee *victory sign* Whether the kaya is the best around is debatable but I’ve got no qualms with giving my stamp of approval for the French toast (and I don’t even like French toast in general)! Cushiony soaked bread underneath a blanket of crispy egg, it was utterly stunning and definitely one I’d return for.
On Lok Yun
72 Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok
Have food, will travel. Yes I do live by that motto. We actually cabbed from our hotel to another hotel just for breakfast, and we did it for two consecutive days! Hotel Metropolitan by COMO houses Glow, a wellness-focused restaurant that serves a very healthy make-us-feel-good-before-pigging-out-later breakfast menu. K always have the scrambled eggs with corn cake and pork sausage while I’ve discovered one of the best things in life – raw young coconut and almond ‘porridge’! The pure blended coconut and nutty almond was insanely smooth, creamy and so nourishing! But good things don’t last forever and I was devastated to find it gone from the menu on my last visit, sob! Good people of Glow, bring it back, please please please?
Metropolitan by COMO, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok
+66 2 625 3333
We discovered Karmakamet Diner on our 2nd Bangkok trip back in 2013 and have not looked back since. It is easily the prettiest cafe we’ve ever been to and although it’s more well-known for a wide range of aromatics rather than food, it’s the latter that brings us back whenever we are in BKK. While the menu is very comprehensive – egg dishes, sandwiches, pasta, mains and desserts – we have never ventured beyond the full breakfast (for K) and gravlax salad (for me!) because we are predictable eaters like that ha. The full breakfast is of incredible value – barely S$20 for scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, potato skins, toast with butter and jam, granola with fruits, fresh juice and coffee/tea, phew. Where to find in Singapore?!
30/1 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok
Highly successful and popular in Bangkok, Rocket Coffeebar now has three outlets in Bangkok. We’ve been to the original hole-in-the-wall branch on Sathorn Soi 12, and also the newest/biggest so far at Sukhumvit Soi 49.
Rocket Coffeebar S.12
149, Sathorn Soi 12, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 6350 404
Rocket Coffeebar S.49
46/12 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (at Piman 49), Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 6626 638
I like to go for breakfast because they open really early at 7am every morning (you won’t believe how late the other cafes open zzz) and also serve some special dishes other than the usual smoked salmon scrambled eggs and artisanal coffee etc etc – warm coconut porridge made with oats and barley cooked in slightly sweetened coconut water and topped with fresh mango and pomegranate; almond bircher consisting of nuts, oats, sunflower and chia seeds in banana puree and house made almond milk; thick and velvety coconut shake blended with 100% young coconut flesh and water!
And then more recently, we took the opportunity to try out the lunch and dinner menus too! K liked the toast skagen (prawns with horseradish-dill mayo and tobiko on sourdough bread) while I prefered the crab & pineapple (with iceberg lettuce, pea tendrils, red lentils, lemon mayo and chilli dressing); for mains, the crispy duck leg confit with potato terrine was a winner for him and the pan seared snapper with hot quinoa, seasoned yogurt and beetroot chips was the same for me; both desserts of Sapparot (i.e. pineapple and lime mousses, coconut ice cream, coconut water tapioca, ginger gel with sesame cookie) and Ichigo (strawberry and raspberry in sorbet, mousses, gels, meringue, tuile, sous-vide rhubarb, vanilla bean pudding, lemon curd and star anise crumbles) won’t be out of place on a restaurant menu and tasted as good as they looked!
I came across The Girl and The Pig accidentally while googling for “best crab cake in Bangkok”, so random right haha. Offering new American bistro style cuisine in a instagram/OOTD-worthy farmhouse inspired setting, The Girl and The Pig prepares all their food from local produces, natural and seasonal ingredients available and more importantly, no MSG!
The Girl and The Pig
Central Embassy Level-5, Ploenchit Road, Bangkok
+66 91 771 1143
We had a late lunch here after flying in from Singapore and were absolutely starving – a blessing in disguise since that made me trigger-happy when ordering. Scallop caponata (caramelized jumbo scallops with stir-fried eggphant and trufﬂe sauce), Nordic shrimp bite (not the best grilled corn bread but the marinated shrimps with beetroot are gorgeous), egg benedict with crab cakes on homemade English muffins (love this!!!), grilled sirloin steak with fried egg on buttermilk biscuit (slightly pricey so KIV), bouillabaisse (rich broth, five different types of seafood, yums) and out of all the desserts hand-made from scratch, our favourite is the classic baked French clafoutis, so perfectly moist, light and fluffy!
Because we have been to Bangkok so many times, Thai food is no longer a priority though K still wants at least one Thai meal per trip. We’ve been to Supanniga Eating Room, Som Tam Nua, Krua Apsorn and here’s one more for our collection: Siam Proud. After learning that the Executive Chef has apparently more than 40 years of experience, we knew we were in for a treat! The menu is all in Thai – a big plus as that’s a sign that tourists are not the target group yay!
Siam Proud Thai Restaurant
64 Rama IX Road, Suan Luang, Bangkok
+66 2 118 6227
The yam pla foo is beautiful – crispy catfish deep-fried to a golden hue and amazingly not oily at all. It was a first for us and I fell in love with it. We also ordered a thick coconut-milk dip with raw veggies on the side and although it was so spicy that I couldn’t bear more than a couple of small bites, I was happy because it’s a testament to how authentic the dishes are. Two must-orders for us are the yellow curry with crabmeat and wild betel leaf, and the stir-fried scrambled eggs which seemed deceptively simple yet turned out to be so fragrant. K paired them with purple rice steamed inside a young coconut (I don’t eat rice heh) and we wiped out all the dishes easily. After all the bold flavours, the cold and mild milk-free coconut ice cream was a godsend!
Asia Top 50
It’s our SOP to tick off a couple of restaurants on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list whenever we are in Bangkok. Nahm will always have a special place in our hearts because that was the first Asia Top 50 restaurants we experienced together; Gaggan was outstanding – I don’t think we will tire of it anytime soon; and Issaya Siamese Club (currently ranked #39) is another impressive restaurant which we really enjoyed despite the naysayers.
Issaya Siamese Club
4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road, Sathorn, Bangkok
+66 (0)2 672 9040-1
Dining here can be quite a show – the homemade green curry paste soup with basil, kaffir lime leaves, heart of palm and prawns is cooked right in front of us; slow-cooked smoked salmon with Jerusalem artichokes in red curry sauce is theatrically presented with much smoke and fanfare; and the most exciting spectacle is the Kanom Tung Taek – I don’t want to spoil the surprise (though you probably can guess from the next photo), you have to order this cold coconut crepe souffle!
Other memorable eats for us include the famous banana blossom and heart of palm salad (great texture and the chilli jam dressing is addictive!), chicken rubbed with “Issaya spice” and charcoal grilled, and soft shell crabs slathered with spicy egg sauce. Delish! We’ll most likely be more adventurous and go for the tasting menu next!
Sra Bua used to be ranked #21 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014 but sadly has completely dropped off the list this year (for the record, it was still one of Asia’s best when we were there in February). Serving Thai-inspired cuisine with a modern twist, Sra Bua is conceptualised by renowned Henrik Yde Andersen, whose Kiin Kiin restaurant in Copenhagen is currently the only Thai restaurant in the world holding a Michelin star. It is also conveniently located at the Siam Kempinski Hotel which is right behind Siam Paragon! Ideal for lunch before the shopping spree starts ha.
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
Siam Kempinski Hotel, Rama 1 Road 991/9, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2 162 9000
We began with a lovely trio of “nibblings” – crispy kaffir lime scented lotus root, roasted cashew nut soya meringue and homemade squid ink chip with oyster aioli – followed by spicy wagyu beef salad for K and Hokkaido scallops with tamarind and lemongrass for me. Even though the 3-course menu is substantial enough, I also psycho-ed K to order the signature starter – Maine lobster salad with frozen red curry. You can’t say you’ve been to Sra Bua unless you’ve tasted it. Notable familiar piquant flavours, yet so much more refined (though the dry ice effect was a bit gimmicky)!
After satisfying mains of butter fish in aromatic coconut milk and a generous slab of five spiced braised pork belly with pumpkin and crackling (!!), our meal ended with my favourite course – desserts! It was a close fight between the lightly sweetened pandan ice cream with pistachio and jelly and the moist banana cake with caramelized milk and smooth salted ice cream; let’s just say we wiped the plates clean and even the crumbs were not spared!
Similar to Singapore, the Japanese food scene in Bangkok is alive and buzzing as the locals seem to adore sushi and sashimi as much as we do. We tested a few Japanese restaurants and Fillets came out top in our opinion. K kept raving about the omakase – best he ever had! I may have to agree too.
The Portico, 3thFloors, 31 Soi Langsuan, Bangkok
Obviously skilled and knowledgeable about what he’s serving and handling, watching Executive Chef Randy prepare course after course of sublime morsels is an art, a graceful performance. You’ve got to see how he aburi his fish – nothing as passe as a blowtorch but a rank over burning charcoal instead. Such a simple yet brilliant idea! And of course, all the fish and seafood were expectedly very fresh, from the fatty otoro (with shaved black truffles and caviar omg) and delicate tongues of uni to the plump hotate and creamy shirako. He did feed us some exotic sushi and sashimi but I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten their names, my bad!
The reason why I bookmarked Fillets while researching for my food itinerary in Bangkok was because their bara chirashi reminded me of Aoki’s! It’s available during lunch and Chef was so accommodating to include it as part of the omakase (K had a wagyu don), score~ The cubed marinated fish scattered with freshly baked spongy castella tamago on a bed of sushi rice was exactly the kind of “carb” dish I won’t mind having!
After Fillets, Shintaro is the next most memorable Japanese restaurant we tried in Bangkok. When we visited, it was managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts but I realized after March 1, the hotel’s owner is operating the hotel as Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel so take note!
Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, 155 Rajadamri Road, Bangkok
+66 2 126 8866
Two items made an impact – the hamachi sashimi and braised tuna toro cheek. Sashimi we’ve had plenty but I can still remember the melt-in-the-mouth sensation vividly when the semi-thick slice of hamachi eagerly disappeared into my mouth. Too fresh, too good! As for the braised tuna cheek, it was my first and I certainly hope won’t be the last. Fatty and tender, the flesh tasted almost like… Meat? Quite unbelievable and I want to go back again just to see whether it’s as delectable as I recall it to be!
Each dish at Utage is beautifully executed and we truly enjoyed our lunch there. Our favourite was the aburi platter with 7 kinds of assorted sushi – salmon, hamachi, matsuzaka beef, foie gras, scallop, uni and toro. Hokkaido scallop gunkan maki and signature matzuzaka beef, unagi and foie gras roll with garlic jelly came in at a close second. Lunch sets start from THB444 (that’s under S$20!), a worthwhile choice if you happen to be shopping in that area!
Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, 61 Wireless Road (Witthayu), Bangkok
+66 2650 8800
Water Library Chamchuri was actually my first choice (because their food looked like Ember’s!) under the Water Library group of restaurants but it was undergoing renovations when we were in town. The Capital came highly recommended to us as it is the first grill-and-bar, steakhouse-cum-seafood restaurant in the Water Library portfolio. Promising quality meat selection from around the world and daily delivered seafood, our expectations were high – and fortunately met.
The Capital by Water Library
3rd Floor, Empire Tower, South Sathorn Road, Bangkok
+66 2 286 9548
Chef De Cuisine Chef Sebastian had previously trained under three-Michelin-starred restaurants’ head chefs Gordon Ramsay, Heinz Beck, and Juan Amador so we knew we were in safe hands. We tried a variety of dishes and none disappointed. Highlights include Kimchiku steak, made with black cattle meat from a leading stock-raising region in Japan and can only be found at The Capital (yes, can’t be found anywhere else in Bangkok!); lobster gumbo, with an oriental twist by adding Thai larb spices for a unique ‘lobster bisque and chili'; steak tartare; lobster thermidor; and the signature apple pie!
La Table de Tee is Bangkok’s first ‘Chef’s Table’, where a daily changing tasting menu is served, depending on the ingredients bought from the market the very same morning. And more attractively, the 6-course meal only costs about S$50 (THB 1150+); that is a steal no matter in Bangkok or Singapore! To give you an idea of a typical tasting menu, here’s what we had: #1 chestnut & age parmesan cheese, #2 tiger prawn & ginger, #3 salmon & galangal or snapper & lime, #4 beef & black pepper or duck & five spices, #5 mango passion fruit parfait or dark chocolate fondant, #6 peanut macarons & fruit jelly. Sounds pretty good right? Trust me, it’s an unpretentious gem!
La Table De Tee
69/5 Soi Saladeang Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok
+66 2 636 3220
J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain is conceived by highly respected three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Michel Lorain and interestingly merges classic French cuisine with shared Asian tables, giving diners the chance to sample a number of innovative dishes on offer. What do I mean? Well, think of it as French food in dim sum style! Other than the lobster and sweet corn bisque with pickled baby corn and tarragon, all the appetizers, mains and desserts were served in tapas form – small plates on a communal Lazy Susan, so Chinese and uncommon in a French restaurant! We were smitten with most of the dishes, from ocean oyster terrine with Irancy wine gelée and pan-seared scallops with morel mushrooms to lightly-smoked sea bass with caviar sauce and the dessert mille-feuille “napoleon”!
J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain
U Sathorn Bangkok, 105, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli Thung Maha Mek Sub-district Sathorn District, Bangkok
+66 (0)2 119 4899
Dining with a View
The sky is not the limit at Centara Grand’s Blue Sky. Cliche as it may be, this restaurant and bar has been named as one of the 15 most exciting rooftop bars in the world! Located on level 24 of Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao (near Chatuchak Weekend Market!), the bistro/al fresco lounge is literally cast in blue at night (as you can see from my photos!) and gives a fantastic view of the city skyline.
Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, 1695 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2541 1234
The cuisine is a mix of Western and Asian which may seem sound dubious but the food is legit alright! Healthy steamed snow fish balanced the sinfulness of fried squid ink balls; smoked and fresh salmon rillette was the light counterpart to the heavier seared Japanese miyazaki striploin A4; and the weakest link was the desserts. Ain’t no flow for the chocolate lava cake, sigh.
Siam@Siam Design is a cool boutique-ish hotel and houses La Vue on level 25. The key is to reserve a table by the window for a breathtaking view and romantic dinner!
Siam@Siam Design Hotel, 865 Rama 1 Road, Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok
0 2217 3000
Be warned, portions are huge here, honestly more in line with bistros than fine-dining restaurants. We wish we had space to stomach all the delicious seafood bisque, scallops, beef bourguignon and escargots but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) there was just too. much. food. Service was not lacking; our staff was attentive and offered good recommendations. I also gave points when he rolled out a trolley by our table and prepared to make the salmon tartare right in front of us! And then “performed” again by flambee-ing the crumbly apple pie generously laced with booze, four thumbs up (mine and K’s)!
Zense @ Heaven is ambitious – five restaurants, hip cocktail bars and a gourmet wine bar, plus downtown’s most expansive panoramic view (right smack in CentralWorld)! We went a day before V-day and all the window seats at the vast outdoor deck were taken, argh. Luckily the food salvaged the partly blocked view. We opted for Thai by Phojana (the other four are Japanese by NipponZense, Italian by Gianni Ristorante, Indian by Red and Modern European by To Die For) and were happy with our choices of green curry (tough chicken meat but K liked the gravy), yellow crab curry, flaked salmon salad and soft shell crabs! It will probably take at least ten other visits to finish exploring the extensive menu here!
Zense Rooftop Bar and Restaurant
ZEN World, Level 17, 4, 4/5 Rajadamri Road, ZEN World @CentralWorld, Pathumwan, Bangkok
+66 (0) 2100 9000
If you’ve made it through this ultra long post, thank you for reading and hope it’s helpful! :)