Newly branded The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok (formerly known as Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel) has quietly been refurbished over the past year or so – and all-day dining outlet The Rain Tree Café was not overlooked.
The venue, with its large windows overlooking leafy Wireless Road, features a refreshed design and layout, with the addition of the period-style Valaya Room, The Secret Garden and The Bakery. Every week, things go into over-drive to present the ultimate meal of the week: Sunday brunch.
The hotel stands on the grounds of the former royal residence of Princess Valaya Alongkorn, a daughter of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
The princess lived during an extraordinary period of Thai history; a time of modernization, social reforms and Western influence through architecture, fashion and etiquette. Remnants of that period are evident throughout The Rain Tree Café – but cleverly done to add to the homey ambiance rather than making the space feel like a museum.
The Rain Tree Café has garnered quite a reputation – and loyal following – over the years with its indulgent Sunday brunch, with a strong focus on gourmet and quality fare. And what’s clear is that the F&B team has been on a roll to make it even better. There are now at least six interactive live cooking stations where international chefs show off their finest.
A stroll around is an intimidating experience – choices are so vast and varied, frankly, that it’s impossible to fit it all in. It’s a voyage of culinary discovery that covers all the corners of the globe – north, south, east and west – and everywhere else in between.
In order to have bona fide Sunday brunch status in Bangkok, certain staples are a given – and you can rest assured to find it all here: grilled lobster, oysters (Fines de Clair, Belon, Irish and US), a caviar station, seafood on ice (crayfish, Alaskan king crab, tiger prawn and mussels), prime Australian beef rib, lamb rack and a Japanese station with fresh sashimi.
But there’s more. Much more.
Keep room for the Peking duck, don’t miss out on the pasta and noodle stations, the shawarmas, the sausages, and other bounty from the ocean like baked salmon in salt crust.
Following on the trend elsewhere for brunch, The Rain Tree Café has also introduced a separate à la carte menu from which guests can order freshly prepared dishes.
Menu selections include: Scrambled Egg with Truffle; 65° Poached Egg with Carbonara Espuma and Crispy Bacon, Pan-seared Foie Gras with Spiced Pineapple Chutney and Pain d’Epice, Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops, Beef Burger Duo with Foie Gras and Roquefort Cheese, and Japanese Tempura of Prawn, Onion Rings, Mushrooms and Sweet Potato. This menu, however, will change on a regular basis.
Those with a sweet tooth are well catered for with an impressive spread of desserts that cover the full gamut – from chocolate lava and Crêpe Suzette to a waffle station. But it’s the Thai sweets that steal the show, with The Rain Tree Café’s famous triple-flavoured sticky rice and mango getting a thumbs up, as well as the colourful luk joob sweets.
Overall, it is both an impressive and enjoyable experience. The emphasis on quality produce does not go by unnoticed, while the warm and cosy atmosphere added a nostalgic touch. Sundays are after all made for family and friends, ideally gathered around a table sharing great food.
Sunday brunch is served from noon until 3.30pm and costs 2,400 Baht per person (++). There are two free-flow beverage packages to choose from: 1,000 Baht (++) for the non-alcoholic package and 2,100 Baht (++) for the alcoholic package. The latter package included Moët & Chandon.