Cantara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok’s new addition to a city’s nightlife: Chili Hip Restaurant and Walk Bar.
by Federico Brandi
If you are familiar with the Pratunam district, you know that it is a paradise for shopaholics and a nightmare in terms of the traffic, the crowds, and the noise. Yet when I arrived to the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok (●567 Ratchaprarop Road, Makkasan, Bangkok, 02 625 1234, www.centarahotelsresorts.com/centara/cwb), I was not sure I was in the same area, but rather felt as though I had been teleported away from the chaos.
Pratunam is the heart of the city’s wholesale and retail garment business, with Pratunam Market—Thailand’s largest clothing market—and the nearby Ratchaprarop shopping district and malls such as Pantip Plaza, Central World, Gaysorn, Siam Paragon, and Siam Discovery. Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel recently opened two spaces for eating and drinking while still feeling the vibe of this busy area in town, yet in a space that allows to disconnect from it all.
The Chili Hip restaurant, set on the hotel’s 20th-floor rooftop, is a fashionable yet casual venue that serves modern and creative Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine, against a breathtaking panorama of the city. The dining room features a modern design based on simple features and a balanced combination of a red and black, and has a seating capacity of 64 people, including a small private room surrounded by red glass walls.
The menu, created by Italian chef John Ranaudo, is an interesting reinterpretation of traditional Thai and Western dishes that use typical ingredients of Thai cuisine—such as lemongrass, coconut milk, and sticky rice—combined in different proportions to achieve a balanced flavor. And while the menu is Asian to the core, the use of some Western favorites, such as gnocchi or ravioli, surprise the palate. As I am a chocoholic, my favorite was the “The Chili Dome”: a thin chocolate dome filled with spicy chocolate mousse, served with almond croquant, mango, and raspberry jelly.
Right above Chili Hip, on the 21st level, Walk is a trendy place to chill and enjoy the view of the downtown while not being involved in its chaos. The menu includes a huge variety of snacks like samosas, spicy fish cakes, and deep-fried chicken drumsticks, as well as drinks. The lounge’s cocktails are also inspired by Thai cuisine, such as the Tom Khar martini and the Tom Yum on the Rock. While the first is sweet and spicy, thanks to the coconut cream and fresh galangal, the second is strong and spicy due to the vodka and lime juice, combined with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal. But they both have one thing in common: the unusual yet delicious taste of Thai food in a drink.
The venue features different music styles, from R & B and pop to lounge and ambient, played every night by local and international DJs, while a big screen on the wall projects fashion shows with the stunning view of Bangkok by night behind it.
Chili Hip and Walk are two welcome additions to Bangkok’s culinary and nightlife scene, as they give patrons the opportunity to experience the busy Pratunam district—arguably Bangkok’s next place to be—in a quieter and more relaxed way.