February is here which means just one thing… Valentine’s Day! It’s a special time for lovers, and since dining out is arguably the number one activity on this day we’ve compiled a list of some newly opened hotspots making waves in Bangkok’s dining scene.
If your sweetie has a taste for the finer things – who doesn’t? – then make a date to visit Caviar Café, which recently opened in the Nai Lert Park. For romantic fine dining with an Italian edge you can’t go wrong with Clara. Following a similar Mediterranean vein is Keller, the newly opened restaurant helmed by star chef Mirco Keller (previously of Water Library Chamchuri).
On the slightly more fun and casual side there’s the just reopened Benihana Japanese Steakhouse at the Avani+ Riverside Bangkok hotel, and The House, which describes its menu as traditional global home cooking cuisine. And if you just can’t decide, drop by the newly opened The Commons Sala Daeng complex where something – or perhaps someone – will inevitably catch your eye.
If you truly love caviar then you’ll be transported into another dimension of bliss at Caviar Café, a glass-walled oasis of indulgence that opened recently within the leafy green Nai Lert Park complex on Soi Somkid. As the sole importer of superior quality Ossetra sturgeon caviar from Russia, this lunch and dinner restaurant takes diners to the next level with signature caviar-dolloped dishes such as angel hair pasta with truffle cream sauce, seared buttered scallops, foie gras and scrambled eggs, and seared Australian Angus beef with mashed potatoes. Or just nibble on some caviar toasts or blinis, with melted butter and condiments. And if this all sounds too divinely rich and decadent for words, remember that sturgeon caviar is also rich in natural components, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and potassium – which might make you feel slightly less guilty about indulging in this guilty pleasure.
Yenakart Villa contemporary art gallery closed down quite a while ago, but the beautiful Bauhaus-style building in which it operated is open once again, this time as a fine dining Italian restaurant. Redesigned and remodeled, the space is now home to Clara, led by husband-and-wife duo Christian Martena and Clara Del Corso-Martena (previously of Sensi and Opus). From his open-style kitchen chef Christian blends his native cuisine with creative and modern techniques, using high-quality local produce alongside carefully selected premium European imports; ultimately fashioning utterly superb seven- and nine-course degustation menus that are available with expertly curated wine pairings. Equally memorable is the artistry of the interior design, which includes floor to ceilings windows that look out onto the lush garden seating area, a 10-seat Chef’s Table designed by P. Tendercool, and paintings on the wall by acclaimed Thai artist Somboon Hormtientong.
Those who came to know and love chef Mirco Keller’s culinary creations during his eight years as chef de cuisine at Water Library Chamchuri will be pleased to know that he’s now helming his very own fine dining restaurant. The aptly named Keller is located in a grand, colonial-era mansion house on tranquil Soi Suan Phlu 2, where the menu promises contemporary European creations rooted in tradition, with subtly playful Asian touches. The four-course set dinner provides a tantalising introduction to the sort of magic chef Mirco has up his sleeve, while the extended à la carte menu offers mouth-watering options such as grilled black Wagyu beef tenderloin served with carrots, parsnips, and truffle gravy, and the elaborately plated ‘Berliner Senfei’, a combination of smoked potato, pickled beetroot, and 10g of Oscietra caviar.
Benihana is renowned the world over as a Japanese teppanyaki steakhouse with flair to spare. There are several branches in Bangkok, but the one that used to be located in the Anantara Riverside Resort recently shifted its location, reopening in late January on the 3rd floor of the plaza in the adjacent Avani+ Riverside Bangkok hotel. Diners at this newest outlet are first greeted by the contemporary Japanese façade, which incorporates brushed concrete and driftwood. After entering via the zigzagged foyer (to ward off evil spirits), the dramatic interior is revealed, decorated in Benihana’s signature black and red hues, with neon tubes running overhead and Manga graphics adorning the walls. The theatrical communal tables each have a teppanyaki grill where expert chefs take centre stage; slicing, dicing, sizzling and searing Australian and Japanese beef, New Zealand lamb, Hokkaido scallops, lobster, foie gras, and more. Of course, while all this freshly grilled meat is superb, don’t miss out trying the extensive range of handcrafted fusion sushi rolls as well, and be sure to sample the extensive collection of sakes from the bar.
Located in an old-fashioned Thai abode, surrounded by a tranquil garden, The House is a newly opened restaurant where the dedicated staff at serve up traditional home-cooked dishes prepared using ancient recipes from around the globe – a style they refer to as ‘Traditional Global Home Cooking Cuisine’. Chef Bon and his team will create seasonal changing menu items, available à-la-carte or via special 3-, 7-, and 9-course Tasting Menus. The recipes themselves originate from all over the world; from Thailand to such far flung locales as Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Hawaii, New Orleans, France, Italy, Germany, Swiss-Alsatian, Turkey, Tajikistan, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Namibia, Scandinavia, Iceland, and others.
Fans of the original The Commons location, on Thong Lor Soi 17, will be delighted to know that The Commons Sala Daeng is now open for business – at number 126, Saladaeng Soi 1 to be precise. This three-storey community space is home to over 20 passionate vendors and producers, and in an effort to reflect the origin of the term “sala daeng”, which means “red pavilion”, the roof of the space is a series of red pointed peaks, making it immediately recognizable and unique. On the ground floor be sure to check out Roast, Roots, Seven Suns, and Plant House, while on the 2nd floor pay a visit to Bowl Journey, Paak, Lykke, Bun Meat & Cheese, Lobster Lab, Pad Pad, and Yumcha. And if you feel like a little potent pick-me-up, visit Draftland, the new cocktail venture from the team at Rabbit Hole.
On Soi Ruam Rudee the Italian casual dining spot Trattoria Delina recently opened up their cozy 3rd floor Gold Lounge. Inside you’ll find a long list of Italian and Californian wines available, as well as the classic Italian cocktails (Negroni, Aperol Spritz, etc) and other signature bar menu items. Meanwhile the first two floors continue to serve up authentic Italian cuisine – made fresh daily – with eat-in and take-away options that include imported Italian cheeses and cold cuts, fresh handmade pasta, decadent risottos, and meaty main dishes.