When I started to tell my friends in Singapore that I was moving to Bangkok it seemed like everyone either knew someone living here who they thought I should meet or had a restaurant recommendation for me (they know me well!) One such recommendation came from Desiree a great food writer in whose company I have enjoyed many a great meal in Singapore and so when she recommended I try “Opposite Mess Hall” http://oppositebangkok.com/ it went to the top of my must visit places in Bangkok.
I’ve actually eaten there twice in the last week, once on my own and once with friends visiting from Abu Dhabi so this is a sort of combined post of both of those visits. As with most good restaurants the lighting was too low to do the outstanding food any justice with my I-phone photos so you will have to use your imagination a bit but trust me when I say everything is far more delicious than I am able to make it sound!
The restaurant is opposite WTF gallery and bar, a short walk down Soi 51 off Sukumvit which is an easy walk from Thong Lor BTS. The menu is designed as a small plate concept with dishes from 100-600 baht as well as several dishes “del dia” – Croquettes, Tortilla, Crostini a Terrine and Blackboard Specials.
I tried the Croquettes which were delicious Pastrami and Broccoli ones on both occasions that I visited as well as the “Terrine” which was actually “Pork and Chilli Rillettes “with Home Pickled Baby Vegetables and a fiery Romesco Sauce. The Rillettes were so good that they were actually the reason I was so keen to visit again in such quick succession!
“Roast Carrots, Shallot Cream, Hazelnuts, Feta and Greens” was beautiful in its simplicity. Gnarly, barely cooked carrots served on top of sweet shallot puree with a mild and crumbly Feta and hazelnuts sprinkled liberally over the top. The “Greens” that were interwoven with the Carrots seemed to be small nasturtium leaves I think? A really lovely dish where the gentle touch with the ingredients show a Chef who is confident enough in his abilities not to fuck around with over complicating things and ruining the pureness of the flavours.
“Crispy Lamb Ribs, Feta and Raddichio” was another outstanding dish, the sweet, slightly gamey meat literally falling off the bone. Between the meat and the crispy skin, a layer of melt in your mouth, glistening fat gave it extra succulence. Next we had “Fried School Prawns, Orange and Chilli Mayo” – School Prawns being small, sweet prawns you can eat whole, shell and all if they are small enough which many of these were and we alternated between this and peeling them.
My friends were keen to try the “Rare Onglet Steak with Cauliflower and Ceci” which came with the steak cut into little slivers, layered on top of a sort of chickpea and cauliflower stew with jewel like pomegranate seeds scattered over the top. Whilst I am not a huge beef eater, it was an interesting combination of flavours and I surprised myself by having a couple of pieces!
The desserts can be found on the specials board and I tried a “Marou” Chocolate Tart with Salt Caramel. The use of Marou chocolate is noteworthy as it is the first single origin chocolate made from ethically grown Vietnamese Cacao and the Tart was a delicious end to my meal. It is always good to see a restaurant where as much attention is given to the drinks list as the food.
The small selection of cocktails has both classics and more unusual drinks. I love Negronis and so was intrigued to try the “Aperol Negroni” made with Aperol (of course!) Gordons Gin, Rhubarb bitters and their own house M.H bianco vermouth which was a lovely lighter version of the Negroni and The “Penicillin” which is one of my favourite modern day classic cocktails. Scotch is shaken with lemon juice and honey & ginger syrup and then you float a smoky Islay rum on top – it’s just an awesome drink and was the perfect thing to enjoy with my chocolate tart!
The last cocktail I tried was the “Fig Leaf” Zacapa 23yr old Rum with Another of their own M. H. sweet vermouth, lime juice and fig syrup which was another resounding success. I was also delighted to see the wine list has Massaya Classic red by the glass as it is one of my favourite Lebanese wineries and one I spent a fair bit of time at when I lived in Lebanon. I was able to introduce my friends to this too when they came with me and its safe to say it changed their fairly blasé opinion on Lebanese wines so I consider that a success!
The second time I visited, Bangkok was suffering from torrential downpours and we spent quite a lot longer than planned drinking trying to escape the rain! By the time we did leave the water was rising in the streets outside and I ended up having to take my shoes off and wade through several inches of water to make it back to the main road – all part of the fun! Opposite Mess Hall is a fantastic restaurant and one I know I will eat at frequently. Definitely worth a visit!
Apologies again for the embarrassingly bad photos!