We used to eat at the Water Library on Chamchuree Square. But, it became cumbersome to go there due to traffic. Then we heard that Water Library opened a branch on Thonglor at the Grass Building (closer to home). That the concept was not going to be the same as the one on Chamchuree Square. WL decided to open a restaurant like no other in town. The gossip was spreading like wild fire. The discussions and debates were heating up. People thought WL was crazy to open such a restaurant with prices that matched eating in major food cities like London, Paris, Tokyo or NYC.
Here is the reason for the debate. The new WL restaurant was going to only have a 10 people maximum seating capacity. They would only offer a set menu; no a-la-carte. It was going to be counter sitting where the chefs prepare some of the dishes in front of you. The tasting menu only cost 6,500 baht for 12 courses (no wines). The tasting menu with a wine pairing would cost 8,400 baht. That is a lot of money. However; WL counter the nay sayers by professing to only be using the freshest and best ingredients possible...on top of that the wines that are served are the most prestigious labels in the wine industry. So there; that is why WL believes you get what you pay for.
We had friends who decided to try WL with us after a few long discussions.
WL at the Grass compound consist of a Wine Bar, an outdoor Lounge and an Indoor Lounge. The restaurant is on the second floor. Once we arrived upstairs; we are greeted by a host of staff warmly welcoming us. The long patented wood counter is strategically lit so that the food with be high lighted perfectly. The long and narrow room is dimly lit so to allow the counter to be the focal point. The black counter leather chairs are pretty much the rest of the decor. Simple and elegant comes to mind for the decor and ambiance.
Placed on our charcoal colored place mats were black envelopes with the tasting menu and wine pairings for the evening inside. An elegant touch.
We are welcomed with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier champagne...a lovely gesture and touch. But of course one glass is never enough; thank goodness they were very generous with the pouring of the champagne.
The amuse bouche was Caviar...farmed Beluga Caviar, Iberico ham jelly and Ratte espuma.
The first dish was Heirloom Carrot...creme brule, roasted with cumin caramel, orange puree, Japanese horse hair crab.
A box arrived for the next dish...It had the question; 'Is it Donut?'. Very cute.
When we opened the box; there was a donut with a dipping sauce and a piece of candy on a stick. But the eye can be deceiving. The donut was actually a specially baked bread with ham shavings, the dipping sauce was an aioli and the candy on the stick was spicy sausage.
The chefs preparing the next dish with hydrogen.
The next dish was Cerises Jaunes' tomatoes...'Nitro' yellow tomatoes, tomato sponge, Tarbouriech oyster, seawater.
The wine that accompanied the dishes was Riesling Kabinett Trocken "Klosterberg" Weingut Robert Weil Riesling 2009.
The next dish was Fois gras...variation of Perigord Fois gras, beetroots, Sakura smoked Ayu, hibiscus vinaigrette.
The wine accompanying the dish was Chardonnay Marina Cvetic Masciarelli 2007.
The next dish was Asperges...white asparagus served warm, comte cheese, puffed wild rice, suckling pig.
The next dish was Maine lobster 'en croute'...poached maine lobster, pumpkin compression, veloute of sea urchin.
The wine to accompany the next dishes was Volnay Champans Premier Cru, Domaine Marquis d'Angerville 2006.
The next dish was Otor...bluefin tuna belly, Jerusalem artichoke ragout, merlot reduction.
The wine to accompany the next dishes was Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve, Domaine du Pegau 2006.
The next dish was Chalans duck...roasted with lavender, endives, sauce poivrade.
The next dish was Gorgonzola...tribute to Alain Passard's baked vine tomato; ham ice-cream, tomato baked 6 hours with glazed orange juice, buttermilk discs.
The dessert wine was Moscato Possito, La Spinetta 2005.
The chefs preparing the desserts.
The next dish was Peach Melba...sous vide of peach, Mara de Bois sorbet, tarragon foam.
The final dish was the mini-desserts to accompany tea or coffee.
Overall; with agreement of my three other dinner companions, we were really satisfied with the dinner. It was well executed, cooked and tasted delicious. The presentation of each dish was thought out well making sure it was pleasant on the eye. The dishes were well blended in terms of textures, smells and tastes. The cooking of each dish was spot on; there was no meat, fish or vegetable that was overcooked or undercooked. The ingredients on each dish were very fresh.
The service staff was incredibly well trained to welcome the guest and their sense of service was perfect. They were active and responsive but not intrusive.
The only slight problem I would have is the counter sitting...though it is great to see and converse with the chefs who are preparing the dishes; it is not conducive for conversation. If you come with a party of more that three; it already gets complicated to have a good discussion without getting a bit loud.
So...the big question from lots of people...is it worth it? 8,400 baht for the best quality food, most incredible wine labels & service possible; then yes would be my answer. If you have the funds to splurge once or have a big celebration. Then Water Library is the place to spend the money. Of course you cannot do this often; but to experience this place once is really worth it.
Address: Grass Thonglor, 264/1, Sukhumvit 55 (Thonglor 12)