During a recent return visit to Bangkok with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), we were spoilt rotten with a range of fabulous new dining experiences across the city. From fine dining to culinary concept malls, Bangkok’s food scene is on fire, offering endless innovation, flair and creativity. Here are five must-try options for your next visit.
Google Paste Bangkok and you’ll read numerous rave reviews for this artisanal Thai restaurant located at Sukhumvit Soi 49. Bookings are recommended well in advance. The exciting news is Paste has recently opened a second restaurant on level 3 of the Gaysorn shopping complex in the heart of Ratchaprasong – Bangkok’s dining and shopping hub. The new location should be easier to get into during the ‘soft launch’ period, but it probably won’t stay that way for long. The menu is a sophisticated fusion of classically inspired Thai recipes and locally sourced ingredients. Preservatives and chemicals are avoided where possible. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days. http://paste-gaysorn.com
1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt
Ronnefeldt is one of the oldest and most revered tea companies in the world, supplying tea connoisseurs the world over. So take a well-earned breather from the organised chaos outside for what’s bound to be a pretty good cuppa at the newly opened 1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt, also located in the Gaysorn complex. The lounge is an elegant oasis of calm with a soft, stylish décor and a mouth-watering selection of macaroons, pastries, handmade chocolates and other suitably decadent delights to enjoy. Light meals are also available. Open daily. http://www.1823ronnefeldtbkk.com
Groove at Central World
Food courts in shopping malls aren’t generally renowned for offering memorable dining experiences. But quite the opposite, across Asia the ‘concept mall’ has taken matters to a whole new level. Bangkok’s newest retail food spaces deliver highly innovative dining options in increasingly sophisticated surrounds. On our last visit to Bangkok we discovered the top floor at the futuristic Central Embassy – definitely worth a look. This time we paid a visit to Groove at super-swanky Central World, which features a range of hip restaurants and glitzy bars spread across two alfresco levels. It’s pretty quiet during the day (so the lunchtime specials are probably worth checking out) but fires up with the after work and evening crowd. Open daily from 10am to 1am. http://www.centralworld.co.th/groove/about-en.html
Yodpiman River Walk
The new Yodpiman River Walk mall stretches 300m along a bend in the Chao Phraya River – the gateway for merchants visiting Bangkok city for centuries. Built in colonial style, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a restored heritage building. It’s not, but it is extraordinarily well done. This area is one of the most historic parts of the capital and well worth exploring, including the magnificent Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Pak Khlong Talat flower market – the largest flower market in Bangkok. The Yodpiman River Walk houses around 40 retail outlets and restaurants. Try Mango Tree on the River (http://www.mangotreerestaurants.com) with its excellent menu of modern Thai. Across the river the Wat Arun temple and the Portuguese Santa Cruz – the oldest Catholic Church in Bangkok – provide an atmospheric backdrop. http://www.yodpimanriverwalk.com/home/
St Regis Bar
Ok, so this hotel isn’t brand new, but it’s reasonably so. And a Bloody Mary is almost a meal, so humour us. Inspired by the traditions established at the famous St Regis Hotel New York by the Astor family back in the early 1900s, the stylish and sophisticated surrounds of the St Regis Bar (overlooking the Bangkok Royal Sports Club) make this the perfect location for a pre-dinner drink and canapés. It’s said that arguably the world’s most famous cocktail – the Bloody Mary – was invented at the King Cole Bar at the St Regis New York. Since then every St Regis hotel around the world has offered its own take on the BM, and be warned, the Siam Mary in Bangkok is a fairly fiery concoction. If a gentle glass of bubbles is more to your taste, look out for the champagne sabring ceremony at sunset – another fine Astor family tradition that involves removing the first champagne cork of the evening by swiping it out of the bottle with a sword. Don’t try this at home. You’ll waste the champagne. http://www.stregisbangkok.com
Adam Ford is a travel presenter, writer, blogger, commentator and editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide – www.thebigbus.com.au.
Adam travelled as a guest of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). For details contact the venue or visit www.businesseventsthailand.com.
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