There has been no let up in the opening of cool, new hotspots in Bangkok with several places to dine, drink, and chill-out ready to please and excite us. Here are a few more to take the trek to:
by Rich Kantita.
(Charoenkrung 72/2, 02 688 2596; BTS: Saphan Taksin)
Hotel Once Bangkok, a new modern boutique hotel with splashes of art deco, stands right on one of Bangkok oldest commercial streets, Charoenkrung. On the top of this charming place is Top Knot, an Italian restaurant, bar, and grill that provides a panoramic view while you’re dining under the shimmering skyline along the Chao Phraya River. Top Knot has a “Botanical Rooftop” concept on the bottom floor, which provides a cool oasis that complements the top floor atmosphere that features a modern art deco concept, with chic furniture and tiled marble floors. Recommended dishes include Pink Vodka and Pepper Shrimp Pasta, Barbeque Ribs, and French Fries and Cheese; and while the list of dishes may be relatively short the menu is no less thrilling. And so are the colorful and tasty cocktails, three of which we did try: the recommended and signature drinks called Once Sunset, Secret Love and Top Knot Punch, which are fruity but definitely not weak. The cocktail list is exquisitely delightful especially when enjoyed overlooking a 360-degree view of the “River of Kings.” Top Knot promises a menu that fits the atmospheric setting of the rooftop restaurant and bar, and will surely more than please hotel guests and visitors to the place. Top Knot is open for dinner only from 6-11 p.m. We look forward to hearing more about what the chef of this delightful restaurant and bar might whip up next!
Ansel & Elliot
(19 Suthisan, Phayathai, 089 530 9972)
From a home and lifestyle magazine background, the co-owners of Ansel and Elliot became barista because of their shared passion for coffee and tea. With their passion for photography, a concept of a café analog was born and infused with a unique style in interior and exterior design. This place with a very friendly, cozy vibe has a very funny owner who took us through the petite size café that obviously has a few things up their sleeves. The small sections of the space offer customers to buy handmade goods such as notebooks, indie CDs, film, and other random goodies. Right at the counter sits a few homemade cakes that are fresh and tasty. We heard that it is best to call ahead and reserve those cakes because they only have limited amounts each day. Their coffee is mainly from Pacamara coffee beans and on some occasions, friendly customers introduce to the owner new organic beans from the North, which he delightfully lets everyone to try. Ansel & Elliot also serves slow-bar coffee with a pour-over technique for lesser caffeine and Thai tea prepared with an Aeropress technique. This is not an ordinary coffee shop.
722 Craft Experience
(Ekkamai 12, Paradise Sukhumvit, 093 426 3591)
This new rooftop restaurant and bar is one of Ekkamai’s hidden gems. The neighborhood, branching out from Thonglor, is reviving itself to be again one of Bangkok’s hubs for restaurants and bar. As the sun is setting, 722 Craft Experience gears up for the night with fun music, ranging from pop, rock, 80s, 90s to deep house; soft glistening lights; and a 360-degree view that overlooks the city without end. The co-owners have passion for beer and burger, unsurprisingly, and thus, created the 722 Craft with “Pop, raw, and industrial” as the theme of the place. Turning the vacant satellite roof of the Paradise Sukhumvit Hotel into a chill, spacious beer garden with bricks, steals, woods and rough edges, this restaurant and bar is definitely worth the visit. As for the food, the tasty American burgers, ribs, fries, quesadilla, and many more are prepared by the long residing chef from the States. Craft beers and imported beers are well preserved in the very cold room that would definitely give you chills, and a famous mixologist from Demo is there to make some delicious cocktails. One place you should not miss for a good sip!
(Seenspace, 251/1 Thonglor 13, 02 185 2378)
Bon Bon calls itself an adult playground for a reason — with different sorts of entertainments such as having a male model sit in a cage, fun dishes to dine in with your hands, or nitrogen cocktails that is deliciously strong, among them. Although this new hotspot may be known as a bar, there is a list of foods that should not be missed, sure to please both Thai and foreigners with their hot or mild flavors. We recommend the Spicy Prawn Yum for those able to take on the heavy flavor, as well as lollipop wings served with Cajun spices, chipotle sauce and blue cheese cream dip, Nashi pear and organic kale salad, grilled salmon steak, Baja Fish Tacos and roasted duck Hoisin tacos. Here, they make their very own ice cream with the flavors changing every week or so. Separately, the winter dessert plate serves up cocoa sponge, roasted walnut, caramel snow, chocolate sauce, roasted coffee bean, Kahlua jelly, chocolate garnish, white coffee ice cream and purple shiso. As for the cocktails, the Nitrogen cocktails are the highlight of Bon Bon. They are fruity and strong, so make sure you consume them wisely. Enjoy the Ketel One Martini for vodka and passion fruit lover or the Berry Martini for Hennessy VSOP and berries lover. The fun does not end with that however, visit the -17 degree Celsius ice room, where with THB 300, guests may drink free flow shots within 15 minutes of stay. Just to test your limits to liquor intake and cold temperature. This is one of a few places in Bangkok where you are invited to play with your food!
(Sukhumvit Soi 2, Rajah Hotel Complex, 094 330 0390)
Many Mexican dishes are filled with spices and herbs similar to Thai cuisine but there is a distinct difference in the types of chilies and spices. At The Mexican, they grow their very own jalapeno and vegetables, although they import raw ingredients directly from Mexico. The concept of the restaurant features the design of “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead,” all made and designed by the owner and talented designers from crafted wooded doors, bars, tables, and chairs. Even the lamps are made by the owner himself. Their motto is ‘Keeping the spirits alive’ and that is both in the design, food, and alcohol. A 100% Agavi Tequila & Mescal is served for an authentic Mexican buzz. For the must-try dishes, we recommend the Chile Relleno, which is Poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, and if you are into the hot and heavy flavors then trying the shrimp taco would definitely spice it up. The Mexicans are known for their tequila and therefore tequila and margaritas are the “must-drinks.”
(Lower lobby level, Amari Watergate Hotel Bangkok, Petchaburi Road; www.nadimos.com)
You’ve probably been to Nadimos in Silom, a long-running establishment that serves authentic versions of all the best Lebanese favorites: Meze (antipasti) dishes include hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves, and mains such as shawarma and barbecued lamb plates, as well as kebabs. But besides the other branches in the city, there’s another Nadimos in Bangkok now and it sits right where the former Henry J. Beans Pub was, on the lower lobby level of Amari Watergate Hotel. The new Nadimos is relatively more spacious and elegant but the concept of laidback, easy-to-eat, easy-on-the-pocket, easy-to-enjoy ambience remain. The chef, who is also the acting manager, has been imported from Dubai, and under his skillful French-trained professional hands the dishes and drinks are getting a definitive flair than one might expect. The atmosphere is fun and casual, and there’s even a live band playing after 9 p.m. to add. We heard that they are unveiling a new tapas and cocktail menu, so by the time this article comes, head on to Amari Watergate, especially if you are in the heavily touristic Pratunam area. (Percy Roxas)