Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bamboo Chic Is Unique In Bangkok, Thailand

Truly unique restaurant concepts in Bangkok are few and far between even though the size of the industry here is quite large and as dynamic as you would expect in a city the size of Bangkok. That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of good restaurants here because there certainly are but unique is a different story. So when a relatively new place displays a style that makes it stand out from the crowd it’s worth talking about. Such is the case with Bamboo Chic in the Le Meridien Hotel on Surawong Road, a hotel that has had a very extended soft opening period and is now starting to generate some buzz.

Bamboo Chic is one of only two restaurants on the property and may have benefited from that fact: there’s been plenty of time to concentrate on it almost exclusively and the food and beverage people have obviously used their time well. With its modern design, a look that includes clean lines and an open, yet unobtrusive kitchen, the dining room could be just about anywhere in the world and be at home. The chic part of the restaurant’s name is definitely serving notice with the look of this large, open space that nevertheless manages to create a feeling of intimacy. The music is in the foreground but not intrusive and varies from light techno background to female vocals, at least during our dinner which took place in the earlier part of the evening.

And the food is certainly on the chic side of things as well as the chefs try to walk a fine line by combining Japanese and Chinese cuisines while at the same time incorporating western ingredients like imported beef and foie gras among other interesting items. The results were quite satisfactory from our perspective as the dishes managed to both engage our taste buds and provide interesting visuals at the same time. I especially admired the way the chefs arranged the wafu beef and foie gras main dish, making it look like a miniature bonfire with the wafu slices resembling logs and the foie gras anchoring it together in a neat little piece of edible architecture. I’m not sure if this was their exact intention but it was my impression.

It really wouldn’t have mattered what it looked like, however, because the flavors overshadowed everything else. This Japanese beef and the foie gras combined with avocado tempura – quite a rarity itself – sautéed mushrooms and Japanese truffle sauce created a powerful mélange of tastes that was the highlight of the evening. The Foie Gras Splendor was no weak spot on the menu either, comprised of foie gras rolled into a long sushi-looking roll that was sliced and contained more truffle sauce and avocado along with mayonnaise, cream cheese, celery and lettuce. The vegetables added a satisfying crunch to counteract the creamy textures from the other ingredients and the results were again delicious.

There are many varieties of food on this menu and one dinner is certainly not enough to experience the full capabilities of these talented chefs. There are plenty of beef choices here, both Australian wagyu and regular Australian beef, and numerous other dishes including duck and chicken to accompany the seafood main dishes – like the five spice roasted black cod we also enjoyed – and the large selection of sushi, sashimi, noodles and soups that make up this eclectic menu, and we wished that we could have tried many more of them.

However, that’s another visit or two, which will probably be your reaction as well after you take a look at this unique place and experience its food. This is no ordinary Bangkok dining spot and it’s a welcome addition to a city that can always use another top-notch restaurant to add to its roster of interesting places to enjoy fine cuisine.


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