A journey through the top three floors of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is a gastronomic narrative like none other. Designed by award-winning New York firm AvroKO, the three concept-driven venues crowning the beautiful Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, establishes a new paradigm in the F&B industry, one that is transformative and poetic.
The storytelling starts on the 56th floor at The Loft. The stunning space is modelled as an opulent Upper East Side apartment that serves as a residence and studio for an artist and socialite. We are invited into The Loft through a lengthy foyer, which leads into a casual dining area with a paint-splattered communal table. Further inside, the space turns into a studio featuring vintage chesterfields, oversized reading lights and ottomans occupying all corners, leading up to the bar, which becomes the pulse of this stylish apartment. The lush pink and steely silver colour scheme complement an unmistakable art deco theme, merging the romance of art nouveau with expressions of opulence, in a setting emblematic of New York.
Bar manager Michele Montauti uses the legacy of the Waldorf Astoria Bar Book to craft one-of-a-kind artisanal cocktails. “We took some of the recipes and changed it around to match local tastes and palates, including unique Thai touches,” he remarks as he concocts the first drink. As we get comfortable on the couch, Michele presents the Waldorf Claret Cup, a sweet and sour cognac, wine and fruit-based punch steeped in history. “In the Waldorf Bar Book, this was a punch, a social drink. Here, we recreated the drink and serve it in a copper glass, which gives the [illusion] of a big bowl.”
As we sip on our next beverage, Lalla Rookh, a smooth gin-based cocktail with sweet undertones of vanilla and caramel, we soak in the colours of dusk and the stunning skyline through full-sized windows. The ambience and vibe of the Loft sets a magnificent precedent for the rest of the evening.
After a few more of Michele’s delicious concoctions, we head one level down to Bull & Bear on the 55th. Like the original Bull & Bear in New York, this one, too, specialises in grilled meats and seafood, skillfully prepared by chef de cuisine Patrick Morris. The restaurant is a modern expression of the original in a dramatic colour palette of red, black and brown. Inspired by the natural juxtaposition and tension between the two animals, bull and bear, AvroKO used the legend of Garuda and Naga mystical creatures as their muse. Historical drawings and illustrations gave form to a sweeping central chandelier in the main dining room. Handcrafted with 800 feather-shaped glass pieces fitted on a brass mold, it assumes the shape of talons, making it visceral yet striking. Other details that leave a lasting impression are custom wood carvings, hand hammered brass on the bar face and exquisite red Lanna Thai fabric on the ceiling. The restaurant is the perfect culmination of Thai sensibilities and New York’s art deco architecture.
Chef Patrick starts us with about a dozen Flapjack oysters with smoked mignonette, which is quickly followed by BBQ Caesar salad, a refreshing serving of lightly charred lettuce, Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese, maple-roasted bacon and poached egg. Right after we dive into crab cake, an American classic made here using Alaskan King crab, celeriac and smoked remoulade. The heady aroma of the dish owed to butter and herbs made us salivate instantly. Arriving next is a beautifully molded Beef Tartare, made the traditional way with capers, shallots, a dash of cognac and topped with a quail yolk and served with wafer-thin country bread.
Of course, a visit to Bull & Bear wouldn’t be complete without steak. Delivering this course to us in person, chef Patrick presents bone in ribeye, a 55-day dry-aged wagyu, weighing a whopping 1.2kg, and accompanied with duck fat potato fries and aioli, and truffle mac and cheese with smoked gruyere. Needless to say, the portions are incredibly generous and ideal for sharing. The meat is seasoned with just salt and pepper and grilled to a lovely medium rare on a custom-made charcoal grill, which is quite a spectacle on its own. Before serving, chef Patrick takes up a flame gun to melt a smoked sriracha butter compound over the meat, so it incorporates well with the juicy steak.
After a fulfilling meal like ours, it was time to unwind. And what better venue to do so than the Champagne Bar, an artistic jewel of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok. Getting to the 57th is a memorable experience in itself. All three F&B spaces are connected by a grand staircase with a larger-than-life art deco chandelier – glamorous and reminiscent of the Great Gatsby and very befitting of the brand.
We are escorted upstairs to a spectacular wall art feature, which conceals a button that when pressed opens the door to the Champagne Bar. Once turning the corner, one is spellbound as you walk through a corridor lined with twinkling emerald green, diamond motif-ed glass. This unforgettable entryway morphs into a luxe space with a distinct residential vibe. Think plush leather couches, vintage chiffonier neatly stacked with books and other paraphernalia, as well as towering glass display cabinets with bubblies. The décor sees a poetic continuation of Thai artistry and East meets West storyline, a central narrative which runs through all three venues.
Here, champagne by the glass go hand-in-hand with unrivalled views of Bangkok, a perfect combination for an exclusive night out in the city or perhaps, a night in at Waldorf.