Maisen dishes tonkatsu masterclass in revamped Silom Complex
Like a lady who frequents Yanhee Hospital for botox injections, some old buildings in Bangkok refuse to grow old gracefully too.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Gaysorn will transition into "Gaysorn the House of Luxe" next year, introducing Thailand's first "Street-front Multiple Flagship Concept Destination". It must really be a first since we don't know what the heck that means. We guess Gaysorn is basically promising to become even more hi-so than it already is, if possible.
Another example of a building facelift is the almost 40-year-old Siam Center, which had a big, crazy, end-of-the-world-type sale before it closed recently for major renovations. We're sure many teenagers and Chula students may feel like they've lost a part of their souls as a result now but, fear not, because the mall is due to return before the end of the year.
Shrimp katsu pocket sandwich
One building that recently reappeared on an architect's drafting table to reopen anew is Silom Complex. And it went from a generic and boring place to a possible new food hub in Bangkok, or at least Silom Road.
It now houses eateries with better repute and in good variety. While the many familiar names on offer such as Laem Charoen Seafood and BonChon Chicken are already loved, there's a new name that may be worth checking out due to its longstanding reputation in Japan.
Tenderloin kurobuta katsu set
Established in 1965, Maisen now has seven branches, 48 outlets and distributes its products through 156 shops and supermarkets in Japan. Maisen at Silom Complex is the first branch outside Japan and is brought to you by S&P. Decor-wise, Maisen comes across unmistakably Japanese in its simplicity, warm hues of wood, and food display in a glass case at the front.
Salmon katsu set & Tonkatsu sandwich
Zuwai crab and cucumber salad (B195; prices subject to service charge) is very refreshing with a hint of wasabi and a by-no-means bland salad. Sadly, however, you only get a hint of crab as it comes in thin fibres.
Tenderloin kurobuta katsu set (B395 or B255 as a la carte) is one of the most prized dishes on offer here. The crumb layer is crisp and light without being oily, encasing a tender piece of pork. While the warm pork offers some juiciness, it's not the melt-in-your-mouth sensation you might expect. It comes with rice, pickled veggies, dessert and miso soup. On every table are two tonkatsu sauces to enhance the meat, adding sweetness and sourness but the one with lighter texture gives more acidity.
Cheese minced pork katsu & Tenderloin katsu pocket sandwich
Served with some refreshing apple juice, Shrimp katsu sandwich set (B385) is more impressive with its whole shrimps in white bread. What makes them delightful is the mildly spicy sauce. Salmon katsu set (B395 or B255 as a la carte) is a bit too lean for my liking but still deliciously contrasts with tartar sauce.
After many deep-frying affairs, Maisen almond custard (B75) should sweeten your mood and refresh your palate with its smooth texture and fragrant scent.
Suwai crab and cucumber salad & Maisen almond custard
Besides its cavalcade of traditional katsu dishes, Maisen also offers some Japanese-style drinks and takeaway snacks. Grab Tonkatsu sandwich (B85) or Shrimp katsu sandwich (B95) for the road. Or try a more filling option like Shrimp katsu pocket sandwich (B108), which comes with gooey egg inside.
I have some good moments with food at Maisen but no sugoi-status sensations. For a place that charges over B400 for a set menu, I think it could do more with the decor. The atmosphere isn't inviting or comfy enough for people looking for a place to hang out.
Tonkatsu fans may want to visit Maisen anyway (or check out the other offerings at the revamped Silom Complex) to find out for themselves what the hype is all about. You may also want to grab some good katsu sandwiches to go in case you're behind on a deadline and, thus, have to eat lunch in front of your computer, like no-one in particular.
B/F, Silom Complex, 191 Silom Road (BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Silom)
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter