Monday, January 28, 2013

Ginzado Japanese BBQ

We felt like having beef for dinner...there are no real steak houses near our area so we decided to go and have Japanese BBQ.  However; there are tons of them near us...we did not know which one to try.  So, we asked a foodie friend of ours what he recommended and he told us his favourite place to go was Ginzado on Thonglor.

So Japanese BBQ; here we come....

Luckily we called in advance for a table; when we arrived, every single table was taken by Japanese (a very good sign already).  Our table was being prepared for us and the staff were very friendly.

Before I go into details of the food; the most bizarre, unfortunate and should have not happened...happened.  We got the menus; since we did not understand the menu we focused on the photos of the cuts of meats.  We pointed to the waitress several of the beef cuts we wanted.  No far.

One minute later the waitress came back and told us two of the three meats that we ordered were 'out'.  Ummmm; ok, that's weird.  So; we chose another two; off she went.  She came back a minute later and told us those one of the two meats was also out.  Now it was getting; unbelievable, annoying and down right pathetic.  We finally told the waitress; "tell us what you have and then we will order that instead".

So far out of the 'five' meat dishes we ordered; only two were available.  Our record was not very good.
The waitress pointed to two meat dishes and we said "ok" we take that.  You will not believe it; the waitress came back very embarrassed to say that one of the meat dishes was out.  We could not even get mad any more because this must have been a joke.  So; we just said "please choose a meat dish for us...any!"

The first order of beef was Kaibisan - Nakaochi (250 baht).

The next dish was Jyo Tan (330 baht).

The next dish was Jyo Karubi (320 baht).

We started grilling the meats and Eringi Yaki (mushroom for 150 baht).

The next dish was Jyo Harami (300 baht).  This was the worst cut of meat.  This was not our choice but it the only thing left.  It was squared chunks of meat but actually, there was no meat.  It was just 'fat'...yucky!

The next dish was Saikoro (330 baht).

The next dish was Yukke (280 baht).  The beef tartare had a rich & deep red colour, it was cut into big chunks and tasted very nice with the added raw egg and daikon.

The next dish was Karubi Soup (180 baht).  The soup had plenty of egg and beef.  At first; the red colour fooled us into thinking that the soup would be very spicy.  It turned out not to be so.  The soup was thick, hearty and very tasty.

The next dish was Ishiyaki Bibinba (250 baht).  This was a very nice rice dish; so full of ingredients that had many textures and flavours.  Actually; this is a meal in itself, but as usual I eat too much.

The waitress mixing the Binbinba for us and separated the dish into individual bowls for us.

There was not much decor.  The restaurant is separated into booths for the BBQ stations.  The lighting was very white and bright; so no real ambiance either.  But there was an energy to the place because all the Japanese people there were happily talking, cooking and eating...that was a nice feeling.

Overall; I am sure Ginzado would have had a better review from me if they had the food we wanted.  I will give them the benefit of the doubt because our foodie friend told us that the 'running out of food' incident never happened to them and that maybe the restaurant was packed with people all day and they were not prepared for it.

The meats were of good quality and good tastes.  It was too bad it was cuts that I did not prefer and enjoy...we had no choice.

The service very attentive and friendly.  We never had to ask for anything; they were always carefully watching and catering to our needs but without being annoying.

The prices are somewhat ok...its the same to all the other Japanese or even Korean BBQ places.  I guess; we will have to come back to Ginzado to see if this is truly the 'best' place for Japanese BBQ on Thonglor.

Address:  117 Panjit Tower, soi Sukhimvit 55 (Thonglor)
Phone #:  02-392-3248

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


As usual; the restaurant scene in Bangkok is difficult...when you ask a person where is their favourite Japanese restaurant; you will get a so many answers.  For all their many reasons; they will tell you why they believe their favourite Japanese restaurant is the best...and as usual; the other party will disagree.

We have several friends who have raved about Suikin.  We have never been just because its a part of town we seldom think of going for dinner.  So a friend said it was time that we try her favourite Japanese restaurant.  One key reason is that Suikin specialises in tofu...the largest tofu selection in town.

When entering Suikin; we were pleasantly greeted with a dramatic dinning room.  Dim lights gave the place a dramatic setting.  The room was long with two main dinning sections.  The design is very simple yet you can tell a lot of thought went into making simple look 'elegant'.  The mix of concrete and wood gave the place a warm and earthy look.

The first dish was Goma tofu (90 baht).

The next dish was Mineoka tofu (90 baht).

The next dish was Kinpira gobo (70 baht).

The next dish was Hiya yakko tofu (70 baht).

The next dish was Daikon salad (160 baht).

The next dish was Hokke (290 baht).  The whole fish was fresh, grilled to a shiny golden brown and was cooked perfectly.  The meat was tender and flaky.

The next dish was Soba sushi (160 baht).  This was a very unique dish; we never had it before. Instead of using sushi rice; the rice was replace with soba noodles...and it was not bad at all. The texture & colour was not what we are used to but that is part of the excitement of eating something different.  The soba noodles did add another flavour dimension.

The next dish was Tsuzumi (880 baht).  The dish had a good selection of fish that were fresh, each one had good texture & tasted good.

The next dish was Spicy tuna roll (250 baht).  Japanese restaurants have to re-think of calling this dish 'spicy' tuna rolls; I did not have any sensation that it was spicy.  However; the tuna was very fresh and the dish was nicely presented and it tasted very good.

The next dish was Karasumi (270 baht).  Another very unique dish we have never tasted.  Japanese version of Bottarga sandwiched between daikon...a daikon sandwich.  AND it was yummy.  Bottarga and daikon together; you can already tell that the flavours will be bold...bitter, salty, sour, acidic and a some sweetness to round it up.  Very nice!

The last dish was Wakadori yaki (120 baht).  Simple grilled chicken.  Nothing was just to fill up the tummy.

Overall; Suikin is not bad at all.  The food is good but I would not say outstanding.  In my opinion; there are better sushi restaurants in town.  They do have very unique dishes that I have not seen in other Japanese restaurants which for sure makes Suikin an interesting place to go just cause of that.  Another amazing aspect is the huge selection of tofu.  Who would have guessed that tofu can come in so many textures, shapes and tastes...but they do at Suikin.

The prices are reasonable & comparable to other Japanese restaurants in town.  Suikin has a good setting and is comfortable.  The service started ok but as the evening passed on, it just disappeared. It was closing time and we were the last guest in the restaurant.  We were told there was last order which is normal....but after a few minutes; we wanted to ask for hot tea; there were no service staff.  They just disappeared.  I had to get up and look for staff; which I found.  Then after a few minutes; we wanted the bill and again; no one around.

I find this rude and actually obnoxious.  I have no idea what they were doing; but there should have been atleast one person taking care of our table.  They are lucky that service charge was included in the bill...I should have asked for it back!

Address:  548/7 Embassy Park Plaza; Ploenchit Rd. 
Telephone #:  02-252-2002-3

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Quince has been open for several months now; I have been to Quince several times and its time to review the restaurant that everyone in town is talking about.  Its the hip & happening place on Sukhumvit.  Weekends are impossible to get a seat...well actually, it seem like practically every night its impossible to get a seat.

Quince's design is quite unique in town...its industrial; full of glass, steel and concrete.  Yet its the decor that softens up the harshness and coldness of the industrial design.  The dinning furniture is a mix bag of different styles that blend in well with the concept.  Some tables are of wood & steel, some chairs are wood with canvass, etc.

There are four dinning areas; the front room with the view of the soi, the back room, second floor with private rooms and the loungey outdoor garden area.

The volume & space of the restaurant is intense and massive...I do like it very much; however, what I do not understand is that with all the amazing thinking going into the architecture & decor; there is one design one thought of the acoustics, something so fundamental in a restaurant's design.

Its absolutely dreadful at Quince's front dinning room.  Because of all the glass; the sound in the room echos back.  People cannot hear their own conversations so they talk louder; the ripple affect is that other tables start talking louder...etc, etc.  In the end it does become unbearable as the evening goes on. I highly recommend eating in the back room.

The starter dish was Panisse Eggplant (150 baht).  The melange of eggplant, feta cheese, and fava beans was a very nice combination.  Tons of colours, textures and flavours.  A very creative and refreshing way to start the meal.

The next starter dish was Bone Marrow (250 baht).  I truly think Quince is the only restaurant in town serving bone marrow...and what an amazing idea.  When the buttery bone marrow was assembled on the freshly toasted bread, adding some parsley & capers...a unique explosion of textures and flavours come out.

The main dish was Hanger Steak (450 baht).  The hanger steak was cooked perfectly (as ordered), the meat was tender and juicy.  The sauce was not too overwhelming and added the right flavours to accompany the meat.  A good portion for two.

The side dish was Roasted Carrots (150 baht).  The roasted carrots with thyme, poppy seeds, shallots and glazed with honey is a lovely dish.  The carrots were fresh, bright in colour, tender and flavourful.

Another main dish to share was Hand cut noodles with Rabbit (300 baht).  When this dish arrived I at first thought they got our order wrong.  On the menu; it sounded like a pasta dish; we were not expecting this dish to be in a broth.  However; the dish turned out to be very tasty.  The noodles were cooked nicely, the rabbit was very tender.  The broth added the much needed flavours to the pasta and rabbit.

The back dinning room with the view of the wine cave.

Overall;  the service (which I know there is a difficulty in finding good staff right now in town) is not consistent; though the service staff are always friendly and attentive at times...they are not fine on the details.  For example; staff & kitchen not communicating.  We asked for our carrots to be part of the main course; of course they arrived as appetizers, or not pouring wine when the wine glasses are empty, or clearing the table at the end of the meal but then not coming back with the dessert menu.  I know; I am difficult and probably too attentive to details.  However; these are my humble suggestions for improvement and its up to the restaurants to take notice and improve.

On the other hand; Quince lives up to it's hype.  The food is very exciting, fresh and relevant (using fresh, local and organic if possible products).  The menu is in my opinion limited; but I guess that allows the kitchen to perfect the dishes.

The food is very good...and most of the dishes are well executed & presented.  The prices are really reasonable for the quality & type of restaurant.  Quince has an amazing wine list from different countries but what makes Quince really unique in this area is that they have a great selection of Spanish wines at amazingly affordable prices...which no other restaurant in town can compare with.  The staff is always friendly and attentive even when the place is bulging with customers; they still do their job well.

If you can get a table; Quince is the place to be right now for a very good food, wine and ambiance.

Address: Sukhumvit soi 45
Phone #: 02-662-4478
Opening hours:  daily 11:30 - 1:00 am

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kanom - Fashion Bakery

We drive past Kanom zillions of time and we had never thought about eating there.  Actually; we did not even know that there was a restaurant.  For years, we knew Kanom was famous for their 'patongkoh' (chinese doughnuts), egg tarts and other bakery we just assumed that Kanom was a tea or dessert room.  However; a friend told us that actually they have some of the best food in town...ummmmm; how embarrassing that we did not know this.  We decided to go for lunch!

From the street you can't tell how big Kanom really is; but when you enter the house, its a very large space, airy and full of light that shines in from all the glass windows.  There is a lovely view from the dinning area to the garden.  When we entered, we immediately saw all the wonderful egg tarts and savoury pies in the show cases...beckoning us to order them.

The design of Kanom is a 'T' shaped space; one area with a long sofa bench with tables with somewhat Philippe Starck coloured plastic chairs.  The other areas consists of the same tables & chairs as well.  The very black floor is a nice contrast to the white walls and natural sunlight.  The tables are nicely spaced so that customers don't feel claustrophobic.

The first order was Patongkoh 'Chinese doughnut' (50 baht).  This is a strange thing to order for lunch since most people eat this for breakfast with soymilk; but, this is the house specialty and every table in the restaurant had an order of; I needed to have these amazing looking things.

The patongkoh we normally get on the streets are small or bite sized.  These are humongous monsters (I am in no way complaning).  You order the creamy, rich and very flavourful dip to accompany the patongkoh...we ordered the green pandan cream.  Oh my oh my were these patongkoh heavenly.  They were deep-fried to golden brown, very crispy on the outside but so tender on the inside.

This has got to be the worst thing for our cholesterol level and waist line....but, who cares??? Oh wait; maybe my doctor!

My friend ordered the Spicy Beef stir fry (150 baht).  The dish just looked so yummy when it arrived and it did not disappoint.  A good portion of spaghetti noodles was used with loads of basil, chili, tender beef, and pepper corns.  So much flavour in one dish...lovely.

I ordered the Friday-Saturday-Sunday Special...southern spicy fish soup dish (150 baht).  The order consisted of a bowl of very spicy bamboo soup accompanied with crispy fish skin, salty egg and pulled pork.  When adding all the ingredients together over so so good! Oh; my scalp did tingle & itch from the spicy warned!

The menu of Kanom is very eclectic; many types of food available like...Vietnamese ravioli (120 baht).    The raviolis came out hot and steaming; the rice flour was not to thick (which is a good thing); so we could easily see the stuffing of minced pork & chives.  The raviolis were topped with Vietnamese pate and deep fried onions.  After adding the sauce; these soft & tender raviolis were very tasty.

Time for coffee and dessert...of course, we had to order the Egg tart egg yolk/egg white (40 baht).  It truly is not hard to love these little round things.  The tart shell was flaky, crusty & crispy and the filling of either the egg yolk or the egg white version was soft, tender & creamy.  The combination of textures with the sweetness of the filling make these little beast one of my favourite desserts or snacks.

When you enter or exit Kanom; you witness the making of the unresistable patongkoh (the make-shift cooking station is next to the parking lot...I think they did this on purpose so that we cannot resist these monsters even thought they are so damn bad for us)...Kanom very like!

Overall; Kanom with its very easy-going and comfortable atmosphere, very simple but delicious food at amazingly affordable prices, the very attentive & friendly staff and of course the lovely desserts, patongkoh and egg tarts...this is really nice place to be for lunch...if you can get a table.  Its always packed with people and families on weekends.

Oh by the way; they also have terrific looking savoury pies as well.  I ordered a beef pie to take to the office for lunch...AND, it was very yummy.  Luckily we have an oven at out from the oven,  the crust of the pie was light & flaky (not too think).  The bubbling beef filling was rich, thick and loaded with goodies.

Address: 122 Sukhumvit soi 49
Telephone #:  02-391-2428 / 02-712-6618
Opening hours: daily from 9:30 - 20:00 and Sundays 9:30 - 18:00

Friday, January 11, 2013

Saigon Recipe

Every time we drove on Sukhumvit soi 49, we noticed that a new Vietnamese restaurant was going to open in new complex with large shop-houses where some of the shop-houses have already been transformed into other restaurants.  We are always looking for a good Vietnamese restaurant in the area, so we were eager to try it out.  The new restaurant is called Saigon Recipe.

The restaurant has two dinning areas on two floors.  We ate upstairs on the mezzanine because the ground floor was full.  The decor is the stereo-typical 'Vietnamese' restaurant you find anywhere.  Very colourful lamps from Hoi-an,  photos of Vietnamese scenery, Vietnamese artifacts, etc. etc.  Wooden tables & chairs with very colourful pillows.  Its very easy going and comfortable.

The owner is a pretty & friendly Vietnamese woman who helped to explain the menu to us.  So we already could tell that the food would be authentic.

The appetizer was Bahn Nam (50 baht) and Banh It (50 baht).  Bahn nam is 'flat rice dumplings stuffed with minced pork & mushrooms and Banh It is 'stuffed glutine rice flour balls'.  We actually wanted to order the 'mixed style dumpling platter' but they ran out of 'small steamed rice cakes'.

The flat rice dumplings and the rice flour balls are somewhat plain tasting until you add the nuoc-mam sauce.  The dumplings and the rice flour balls soaked up the sauce and they do become so much better.  As you can imaging; the texture of the dumplings and flour balls were sticky, gooey and chewy...sounds strange but they were not bad at all.      

The next dish was Goi Co Hu Dua (220 baht).  The palm heart salad with shrimp & pork was made of very fresh ingredients, presented well and was a good portion.  Lots of colour and textures and it had a good balance of flavours from all the ingredients...very nice.

The next dish was Cha Gio Chien (140 baht).  The deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with pork was deep-fried to a golden brown and small enough so to be stuffed into a lettuce leaf with other condiments.  Those little spring rolls were big in taste when it was rolled with rice noodles, mint, lettuce and dipped into the much textures and flavours exploding in the mouth.  

The next dish was Goi Bo Tron Rau Muong (220 baht).  The sauteed beef salad with morning glory was made of good quality beef.  The beef was tender and the morning glory added more colour and texture.  The balance of sweet, sour, tangy, acidic and spicy was all in one dish...nicely done.

The next dish was Chao Tom (220 baht).  The charcoaled shrimp cake wrapped on sugarcane can be boring on its own; but when assembled with the rice paper, rice noodle, lettuce, mint, raw banana & cucumber...a world of freshness and flavours jump at you.  A little work assembling the shrimp cake but so worth it.

The next dish was Goi Cuon (100 baht).  The fresh salad spring rolls with shrimp & pork was fresh, moist and nice bite portion.  I actually can eat goi cuon everyday for its freshness and for sure healthiness.

The next dish was Bo Cuon La Lot (160 baht).  Charcoaled betel leaves stuffed with minced beef is a small bite sized thing; but when done well, so much taste comes from it.  And when you assemble it with rice paper and other fresh condiments...just lovely.

The last dish was Bun Gio Hue (160 baht).  We ended our meal with a soup from central Vietnam.  It was soothing, warming and hearty.  The broth was flavourful and the loads of goodies in one bowl made it even more tasty.  Such a nice way to end a meal.

For dessert; it was a Banh Flan (40 baht).  A very French influenced dessert.  I remember my aunts and grandmother always making this dessert.  I have no idea why every Vietnamese makes this dessert but it one of my favourites.  Smooth, soft, velvety and sweet rolled into so nice.

Overall;  a nice and comfortable Vietnamese restaurant.  A very friendly and helpful owner and very attentive staff.  The food is good and prices are somewhat reasonable.  My only complaint is that the menu has a very limited selection (there are some Thai dishes as well); I have been to Saigon Recipe twice and I have had already practically everything on the menu.

Another complaint is that Vietnamese food has so much variety of dishes; so I was a bit disappointed that the menu at Saigon Recipe consist of the 'typical' and 'expected' dishes in Vietnamese restaurants in town...fresh & fried spring rolls, shrimp on sugarcane, Vietnamese crepe, etc.

There is no more reason for me to keep going to Saigon Recipe if they do not try new & different things.  For example how about Cahn-chu (tamarind sour soup), Boh kho (beef stew) or even Thit ko (caramalized pork) so many dishes to make and prove to everyone in Bangkok that Vietnamese food is more exciting, hearty & complex.

Address:  46/5 Piman 49 #B3, Sukhumvit soi 49
Phone #:  02-662-6212