Bangkok Post reviews
In the mood for one more love
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: March 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm
A fresher take on Japanese fusion
Housed in a 1960s-style residence, the restaurant boasts its signature Wong Karwai film-inspired ambience with a more ‘hidden’ feel.
Regardless of its much younger age, In The Mood For Love One, which first opened a few months ago in the middle of a serene residential soi, is a mature version of the popular two-year-old sushi bar of the same name in Sukhumvit Soi 36.
Though, the reason why it has the "One" appendix in the moniker is because the restaurant is located in the first sub-soi off Ekamai.
Slightly grilled Wagyu beef with nutrient-rich, milkywhite nagaimo yam.
As simple as that.
In terms of the setting, the newly-launched outlet occupies a lovely 1960s-style house with a capability to seat up to 120 diners on its two storeys. The dining room atmosphere still retains a Wong Kar-wai film-inspired signature _ 1960s Hong Kong romance _ but with a more intimate feel that comes with a somewhat mysterious whiff.
Culinarily speaking, what differentiates the sister branch from the original is the "haute gourmet" it boasts. Though you will see a more extensive selection of food here including a wide variety of fusion rolls, fried and grilled items, rice bowls with various toppings, as well as a number of newly added, sophisticated a la carts, the restaurant people will tell you that the menu highlights here is omakase, or chef's choices prepared with seasonal produce.
So it's always recommended that you put full trust in the chef's best selection of the day, which, for ideal harmony, can be paired with a recommended concoction by the bar's mixologist.
Right now it's winter in Japan, so what we sampled over our dinner visit last week were mostly winter harvests. Some 90% of the restaurant's ingredients are flown in from Osaka, Japan, three times a week.
The omakase sushi platter featuring blue fin tuna, red sea bream, horse mackerel, gizzard shad, salmon roe and cheesecake for dessert.
First to arrive at our table was an omakase sushi platter (1,500 baht). That day it featured blue fin tuna, madai (red seabream), maru aji (horse mackerel), kohada (home-pickled gizzard shad), ikura (salmon roe) and cheesecake for dessert. The fish was fresh but since we chose not to sit at the sushi counter (we should have had) and recklessly left the sushi untouched for almost five minutes, the rice became dry and broke apart. Yet I couldn't blame anyone but myself.
For appetisers, we had tofu skin stuffed with cheese and accompanied by mango puree sauce (260 baht). It's a placatory union between the soft tofu skin, mild mozzarella-like cheese and slightly sweet fruit sauce.
Our party of red-meat lovers went for the chef's suggestion: Wagyu beef with nagaimo, a rare Japanese yam, (1,000 baht). Presented on a skewer, the slightly grilled Japanese beef was topped with milky-white nagaimo that looked and tasted slimy and had a slight starchy, turnip-like flavour. The delicate-tasting dish that had been enhanced in value by the nutrient-rich tuber vegetable was improved in taste simply by the soy sauce that came in a bowl on the side.
Next up was grilled pork steak with Japanese salsa (240 baht). Nice slices of grilled pork came topped with salty sweet dressing and scallions and was delectable.
The most memorable dish of the evening, though, was one of In The Mood For Love's all-time best sellers.
Guilty But Happy (380 baht), presenting a fusion sushi roll made with shrimp tempura, ebigo, cream cheese, scallion and red sauce drizzled with wasabi mayonnaise and nitsume (sweet eel sauce), still exhibited a playful blend of textures that become very addictive to the palate. While the shrimp tempura provided a brittle impression, the cream cheese centre gave a velvety texture, the eel sauce lent a pungently salty touch and mayo added a sweet, creamy finish.
Our meal was matched with three nicely concocted drinks from the bar, which features more than 100 options of cocktails _ house-blend and classic.
I loved the Shanghai Grand (260 baht), made with soju (Korean rice wine), raspberry liqueur and cranberry juice that proved magnificent. The citrusy Amaretto Thep (260 baht) was also delightful, while I found the non-alcoholic Hokey Pokey smoothie (200 baht), which was inspired by the honeycomb toffee ice cream and tasted cakey, nice as a dessert.
The grilled pork steak with Japanese salsa.
The meal is best paired with drink concoctions by the bar’s veteran mixologist.