The third branch of this international healthy food chain opened up in Bangkok.
by Richard Mcleish.
As the city’s food scene gets savvier, Bangkokians are increasingly aware of not only where they are eating and who with, but what they are actually putting into their bodies.
Enter Dressed Empire Tower (2/F, Empire Tower, 195 Sathorn Tai Road, Sathorn, Bangkok, BTS Chong Nonsi; 02 658 6688; www.facebook.com/DressedThailand), a super-health-conscious café concept that originated from Atlanta, in the U.S., and has now found its way through Hong Kong and Taiwan to Thailand. They offer “fresh salads, artisan sandwiches, panini, wraps, pastas, soups, and smoothies” in a straightforward take on the sandwich bar that is still curiously under-realized in Bangkok. While the concept is not new, don’t be fooled by its pedestrian predecessors.
Part of the secret to elevating the status of the style of eatery is Exec Chef Justin Smolev, the prime mover of the project. Far from a kitchen hand, he trained in Michelin-starred restaurants before turning his expertise to the deli format. Hence, Dressed takes the concept to new heights with extended menu choices, premium ingredients, health awareness, and heightened flavors.
As a franchise, the easy-handling menu is broken up into salads (that are also available in wraps), sandwiches, panini, pasta, and smoothies. While the menu features many recommendations, discerning diners can create their own meals from the large range of ingredients tantalizingly displayed behind a glass counter. For regional variety, additions to the local menu include flaxseed, quinoa, goji berries and quail eggs as well as new dressings.
Go-to menu items include the signature seared tuna salad (THB 349) – a generous plate of greens with dressing and generous lightly seared slices of pepper-rolled tuna. Chili lime chicken panini (THB 159) is a juicy toasted sandwich with mozzarella that is perfect for lunch. Penne arrabbiata with sundried tomatoes (THB 199) is a tangy take on the classic that also works well. Wash down your meal with a goodness-packed smoothie, such as ginger pear (THB 79 small, THB 129 large) or mango tango (THB 89, THB 129).
The Empire Tower branch—currently one of three in Bangkok—is conveniently positioned near the entrance to the building from the BTS raised walkway access. The good use of space takes in an outdoor area with comfortable seating for around 25 diners, with cooling equipment on the way for the hotter months (as well as another twelve chairs inside the busier arcade).
Dressed Empire Tower has quickly endeared itself to the nearby workers in the area’s high density offices, many of whom were present at our lunchtime visit. But it has also attracted the immediate attention of health-conscious customers of Virgin Gym, which lies just down the corridor. We hear collaboration between the two outlets is in the pipeline, which sounds like a healthy win-win for the city.
Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other branches: The Mercury Ville and Siam Paragon.