When it comes to new restaurants, Bangkok is not quite the hotbed of activity it once was. However, there’s always something cooking in this city’s vibrant F&B scene and this month that includes fine dining spots, cool cafes, and even a new wine bar.
Hero image: White Shuffle
Some restaurants that have opened in Bangkok over the past few months still feel like they’re in their initial soft opening phase, what with Covid-related shutdowns, restricted alcohol service, and other various mishaps stalling the word-of-mouth buzz a brand-new eatery usually generates in this city of fervent foodies. So, if any of these delectable dining destinations have NOT yet crossed your radar, make a point of seeking them out soon.
New on the city’s restaurant scene is Conti, which is short for “continental”, of course. Tucked away on Soi Sri Bamphen, in the Sathorn area, the intimate and elegant interior here exudes an Art Deco vibe, while the menu is fairly guaranteed to wow diners with theatrical signature dishes such as the Steak flambé – a fiery combination of juicy tenderloin, pan fried foie gras, cognac, and beef jus. Also standing out amongst the menu selections are: barley risotto mixed with lobster stock and white wine, with Parmesan cheese, chopped tarragon and fresh herbs; seafood pasta with prawns, scallops, mussels with olive oil, garlic and chili; lobster salad with yuzu cream, radicchio, asparagus, micro herb; and a dish of royal oscietra caviar served with spring onion, shallots, diced eggs, Spanish capers, and blinis Crème Fraiche. Currently open for dinner only.
See and be seen at Petits Plats, the latest addition to the ever-growing selection of fine dining spots located within the Velaa Sindhorn Village complex on Langsuan Road. Modestly describing their fare as “the best French Mediterranean cuisine in Bangkok”, this recently opened resto is a joint effort that combines the forces behind Vaso Spanish Tapas Bar, Burger & Lobster, and several other notable local eateries. It’s high-ceilinged, art-filled interior exudes the proper Gallic charm, with the added flair of Mediterranean elements livening up each dish. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to realize that the name petits plats translates as “small plates”, which in this case include classic escargot, delicate crepes, fresh seafood pastas, and more. Currently open: Monday to Thursday, from noon-2:30pm (lunch), and 5:30pm-10:30pm (dinner); and Friday to Sunday, from noon-11pm (10:30pm on Sundays).
White Shuffle restaurant has moved from its previous location in Central Festival Eastville, and now resides on the main floor of The Novotel Suites on Sukhumvit Soi 34, complete with a new direction that’s decidedly different from its predecessors. Offering indoor and outdoor – that means “poolside” – seating across two levels, it’s a sophisticated yet secluded spot that’s tailor-made for all-day brunching (currently only open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 6pm). Head chef Yannick Hollenstein hails from Switzerland, so don’t miss his Swiss Breakfast of fried egg, crispy smoked bacon, maple sausage, and an iron skillet of perfectly executed roesti topped with Emmental cheese. Other recommended highlights include: Thai Wagyu beef French toast served on brioche; the spicy shrimp with rice noodle (Kuay Chap) pasta; marinated yellowfin tuna salad; and the superb 250g Kurobuta pork tomahawk sided with spinach, olives, gnocchi, and butternut purée. For dessert, the chef’s deliciously oddball take on tiramisu combines peach, mascarpone mousse, espresso jelly, almond biscuit, and passion fruit sherbet.
IN THE PINK @ BLUNOS
The always jubilant chef Martin Blunos has even more reason to smile these days with the launch of In The Pink @ Blunos, located poolside on the 14th floor of the Eastin Grand Sathorn, Bangkok (directly adjacent to his long-running Blunos Bangkok restaurant). The décor here is dominated by – no surprise – vibrant pink, while the menu is dominated by healthy drinks and snacks. Try reimagined breakfast classics like egg and chips where the “egg” is made from Greek yoghurt (the white) and stewed apricot (the yolk), all drizzled with sweet honey and served with crunchy slices of guava (the fries) topped with strawberry and raspberry (the ketchup). Smoothie bowl lovers, meanwhile, will want to try the Galaxy Charcoal Detox, overflowing with fresh fruit, granola, seeds, and a smattering of detoxifying charcoal – great for removing nasty, unwanted toxins.
Is there really such a thing as “too many” Italian restaurants? In Bangkok the answer is definitely no, and the new kid on the block is Via Emilia. Located off Soi Naradhiwas 17, in the Sathorn neighbourhood, this recently opened eatery takes over the spot previously occupied by Sensi (a Bangkok landmark Italian restaurant that will be sorely missed). However, life goes on, and at this new resto the menu offers up various regional dishes from Emilia-Romagna – a sun-drenched area of northern Italy – served in a family-style environment. Chef Stefano Merlo (from Sensi) and owner Andrea Bernardi hope their selection of Mediterranean meals will bring some fresh new flavours to this city’s Italian food scene. Must-tries include starters like the wonderful homemade meatballs in sauce, and house specialties such as Piadina (thin bread with parma ham, soft cheese and rocket), Fritto Misto (fried mixed seafood), yellowtail fish carpaccio, Cotoletta alla Petronia (breaded veal chop), fresh made tortellini, and the sumptuous Strozzapreti con le Canocchie (hand-twisted short pasta and mantis shrimp in a creamy tomato sauce).
MOD KAEW WINE BAR
Now that the alcohol ban has been lifted, it’s time to visit the recently opened Mod Kaew Wine Bar, which takes over the spot previously occupied by Bambino, a cozy little space tucked away on a side street off Soi Nai Lert. Inside, guests are greeted by a hip, laid-back interior accented with touches of red neon, wood panelling, a one wall lined with rows and rows of wine. Surprisingly, there’s no actual wine list, as customers are encouraged to either browse the bottles on their own or consult resident sommelier Ottara Pyne (previously of Gaggan). You can also opt for a “flight” of three wines (THB 690), which serves as a great introduction to the intriguing selection available. For food, the menu consists mainly of small bites – from burgers to salads – as well as specially featured dishes from local guest chefs that will change every two months.
Admittedly it’s been six months since Rare BKK began its rather extended soft opening period, but now Chef Thanachot “Bam” Dolchalaikorn and his crew are proud to officially launch with a new ‘French Fine’ 11-course tasting menu (THB 2,800++ per person), that uses refined ingredients such as truffle, langoustine, Miyazaki A5 Wagyu, uni, and lobster, to create dishes that maintain a Japanese sensibility but which are inspired by French culinary classics using modern culinary techniques. Select menu highlights include escargots and crème dubarry, silky smooth truffle foam soup, sea bass stuffed tortellini in shiitake mushroom consommé, and jade tiger abalone cured in herbs and butter. You’ll have to navigate your way to far flung Nakornchaisri Road in order to experience this 10-seat, open-kitchen, casual fine dining experience, but it’s well worth the extra effort.