Piman 49 is a fabulous new addition to Bangkok’s restaurant-rich oases.
by Michael Moore.
Bangkok boasts an incredibly large and diverse supply of fabulous eating spots, located mostly in dozens of enclaves around the city. A fabulous new addition to these restaurant-rich oases is Piman 49, located about 100m from the Samitvej Hospital on Sukhumvit Soi 49. It is unique in several ways, but its most distinguishing characteristics are the variety – and high quality – of the casual laidback restaurants that are found there. They are all run by veteran restaurateurs and this is reflected in the quality of the food they serve.
As we make a clockwise swing around the parking lot marking the center of Piman 49, D’Ark (Tel: 02 662 7900) is the first restaurant we encounter, which is good because it is superb. Come here for breakfast, coffee, a snack or a full meal and you will be delighted. Baked goods are made in-house by Joffrey Jacob, and regular menu items are the work of Jeriko van der Wolf, both young French chefs with impeccable credentials. There is always a vigilant manager on duty to ensure everything is runs smoothly. Coffee comes in several manifestations, including those made with single origin beans purchased directly by the restaurant. Quality is what this place is all about.
As we move clockwise, we come to Kaiyang Suayai by Mangmoom (Tel: 02 662 6428), a Thai restaurant operated by a prominent family that serves authentic Isan food for lunch and dinner. Although we have yet to dine here, it gets rave reviews for the quality and authenticity of what is served. Teien Sushi Bar (Tel: 02 662 5757), located on the floor above, is another place we have yet to visit.
As the name implies, Saigon Recipe (Tel: 02 662 6311) serves Vietnamese food: a cuisine that everyone seems to love because of its emphasis on using fresh, natural ingredients. Located on three floors, the restaurant’s charming retro decor is from the age when the French roamed the streets of Hanoi. Operated by a Japanese/Vietnamese couple with Vietnamese cooks in the kitchen, the food is authentic and tasty. This is a great place to introduce yourself to Vietnam’s scrumptious cuisine.
Next to Saigon Recipe is Kati (Tel: 092 626 0011), a Thai restaurant that uses recipes from a Thai governmentsupported project called Thai Delicious, an undertaking designed to preserve and promote authentic Thai food. It is a small and intimate place with soft colors, lots of bricks, a rustic wooden floor and a collection of ceramic knick-knacks lining the walls. Although the recipes were checked for authenticity, the restaurant uses organic ingredients whenever possible and eschews the use of MSG. This is a nice place for reasonably-priced authentic Thai food.
At about midday, the newly opened Coffee Club was encountered. It is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and – of course – coffee. A part of a popular chain from Australia, there are several outlets in Bangkok. In addition to its UTZ-certified coffee with a blend of beans from Colombia, Brazil and India, it has a surprisingly extensive menu that starts with small pastry items and ranges up to steaks. Although it is still in the process of getting underway, with its pedigree it looks like it has a promising future.
Next on our clockwise tour is Ramen Tei Premium (Tel: 02 260 7786-7), a Japanese chain that has operated in Bangkok since 1983 and now has five outlets in the city. It serves a variety of dishes centered on ramen noodles. The portions are large and the food is reasonably priced.
Moving on we come to a real gem, Rocket S49 (Tel: 02 662 6637). Step through the door and you immediately recognize you are in a well-run eating spot: immaculately clean, pleasant (without being overbearing) servers, a menu that makes sense, and most important of all – excellent food. Breakfast and coffee are the real highlights here, but so are most of the other things on the menu. The interior is bright and airy with a Scandinavian feel emanating from the abundance of white marble, blonde furnishings, and large atrium-like windows.
Next on our list is Güte (Tel: 02 662 7719), a small bakery, cafe and patisserie. This is a quaintly small place that serves European-style baked goods with Japanese overtones. It is an excellnet place for a cup of coffee and tea in the late afternoon.
Our last stop is Karatama Robatayaki (Tel: 02 662 4237), a Japanese restaurant featuring a style of cooking that usually involves grilling food that has been impaled on skewers. Very popular in Japan, these restaurants are always fun. Customers sit in front of an array of items available for grilling. They point to what they want and one of the “cooks” seated behind and above the array of food promptly grills it and then passes it down to the customer. To enjoy this experience in Bangkok, Karatama is a must.
The next time you want to go out to eat, head to Piman 49, where you are sure to find a restaurant that you will really enjoy.