Whilst I am certainly not the biggest shopper, the opening of Central Embassy just around the corner from where I live, was a happy occurrence as it meant that the number of restaurants within easy walking distance increased dramatically. Here, in no particular order, are my 5 favourite restaurants and cafes inside this shiny, Hi-So shopping mall.
Eat Thai is a great value option for when you have a street food craving but are also hankering for a comfy chair and air conditioning as opposed to sitting on the side of a street somewhere. All regions of Thailand are represented, so whether you are craving Gaeng Heng Lay (Northern Thai/Burmese tamarind and pork belly curry) or Khanom Jeen Nam Ya (Southern Thai rice noodles with coconut fish curry sauce) one of the many stalls is sure to have something to satisfy. Better still, there is also a stall dedicated solely to vegetarian food meaning that for once vegetarians have any number of tantalizing options to choose from along with their carnivorous friends.
The second branch (a third is soon to open on Sukhumvit soi 49) of this popular all day brunch restaurant from the handsome Swedes behind Lady Brett and Rocket Coffee Bar on Sathorn Soi 12 can be found inside the trendy Siwilai lifestyle shop on Central Embassy’s 5th floor. Whilst a menu change is soon forthcoming, the kitchen has a way with everything from eggs (try the Rockets Benedict with slow cooked eggs, chorizo and hollandaise with mixed greens) to sandwiches ( the fiery chicken sandwich with gouda or the three bean veggie burger are absolute favourites) and healthy salads for the figure conscious (the tofu & friends salad with pumpkin, sultanas and miso dressing is up there with one of my favourite salad combinations of all time.) Even better, they have a small but well thought out wine list as well as cocktails and of course, some of the best coffee Bangkok has to offer.
It is hard to tell what lies behind the discrete white window marking the entrance to Sushi Hinata, let alone be aware that master Chef Yoshiki Yamada and his team are serving up some of the finest sushi I have enjoyed outside of Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Choose to sit at the counter and watch the master as he deftly prepares the daily catch imported – they say – straight from Tsukiji itself. Lunch menus are available from 1200 THB (appetiser, miso soup & 9 pieces of sushi) whilst dinner starts at 2500 THB ( appetiser, miso soup & 10 pieces of sushi) On my recent visit I was treated to their 3,500 THB menu which included 13 pieces of premium quality sushi; from squid seasoned with Himalaya rock salt and yuzu atop perfectly textured sushi rice with just the faintest hint of vinegar, to the most melt in your mouth tender
yellow tail, tuna and king salmon I have ever eaten. Sea urchin made two welcome appearances on my menu (the fish selection changes daily depending on availability and quality of fish available in the market) both as an appetizer with miso jelly and tofu and then again towards the end of the meal atop a tiny spoonful of sushi rice and it’s safe to say I was absolutely blown away by the talents of Chef Yoshiki and the high quality ingredients used.
If you don’t feel like splashing the cash at Sushi Hinata, you can still satisfy your Japanese food cravings with one of the many versions of Tonkatsu (fried, bread crumbed pork fillet) available at Maisen. Choose from “Hire” (pork fillet) or “rosu” pork loin with the option of paying a bit more for the highly prized “Kurobata” Black Berkshire pork and then decide on the method of preparation; with options including everything from a plain breadcrumbed fillet served with grated cabbage and lemon, to a “Katsu sando” or sandwich, topped with a fried egg on rice “Katsudon” or as part of a set menu with everything from miso soup to rice and pickles. There are other options such as shrimp or chicken available for the none pork eaters amongst us but the Kurobata pork is definitely the star of the show. Service is quick and efficient and you can enjoy your meal with either a beer or one of the several sakes listed by the glass or bottle and still spend less than 500THB.
The newest restaurant to open in Central Embassy is the international bakery chain “Paul Boulangerie” with branches as far apart as the USA, UK, Middle East and Japan and fashionable Bangkokians have been flocking to try their famous breads and patisserie. From hearty beef, mushroom &cheese tartines to club sandwiches, daily changing soups and all manner of desserts like their decadent rich chocolate tart; Paul is a great place to stop in whether for lunch or coffee and a cake – let’s just hope the service improves as they get more used to the demands of their newest outlet and staff settle into their roles.