Zense and Sensibility

Sky-high eatery transcends chaos below in style and Lamb shank stew

There's something about the chairs at the recently reopened Zense that gets you quite upset whenever you need to get up and pee or have to leave when your dinner is over. I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't stayed until the restaurant was about to close (drinking mineral water, bottle after bottle, that is) that the chair I had been sitting on was actually made of thin pieces of wood with a huge cushion that was literally floor-to-butt thick. As I was trying to determine how soft it was, a bit of (intended) ricketiness from the wooden backrest allowed me to lie back a little and gaze into the serene black night. There were absolutely no stars. I didn't mind, and I doubt if anybody at Zense did.

Good place, good food, and good conversation - that's just how I would sum up my dinner a few days ago at Zense Gourmet Deck & Lounge Panorama on the 17th floor of Zen World. Although that may sound unsophisticated, what is a restaurant for, whether it's on the street or in the skyline, but to get together with friends, eat good food and enjoy good conversation.

The inside of Zense is spacious with candle-lit steps leading to different dining levels, light and dark tones contrasting one another, and industrial steel lining the ceilings and walls. However the balcony outside is often packed with customers enjoying the panorama where the Sports Club's horse racing track has never looked so small.

With a unique concept of combining the kitchens of five restaurants together, I started off my high-altitude dinner with appetiser Grilled New Zealand mussels in garlic butter (B350; prices subject to service charge) from Thai kitchen White Cafe. If the chewy mussels soaked in anchovy-herb butter with green chilli seafood dip was what got me only half-ready for the main course, Roti pai boti (B450) from Indian kitchen Red definitely completed that job. The soft lamb cubes sauteed with spicy Indian herbs are nicely placed on round bite-sized roti slices, and the smell and spiciness of the lamb ended my resolution to not eat much.

Lamb shank stew

Lamb shank stew (B990) from European/contemporary fusion kitchen To Die For requires no knife, as a fork is enough to scrape the soft Australian lamb off the bone. Braised in red wine, the super-soft meat is served with mashed potato, baby carrot, and garden peas, all working together harmoniously in what was the meal's highlight.

Roti pai boti & Pizza with Spinachi e Pancetta

Pizza with Spinachi e Pancetta (B460) from established Italian kitchen Gianni Ristorante is a good pre-dessert settler. Although the spinach, bacon and cheese complement one another fittingly, the pizza could be a little bit thinner, not caught in between deep pan and crispy.

Grilled New Zealand mussels in garlic butter & Sweet breakfast

Sweet breakfast (B215) from Zense Patisserie, is a pancetta-almond financier dessert served with soft ice-cream on top plus a mock-up sunny-side up made of coconut panna cotta and mango, with some maple caviars on the side. It gets 10 out of 10 for presentation and creativity. The combined sweetness is a perfect end to such a full meal.

Considering the great view, vibe and food, the prices at Zense are not unreasonable. It's somehow nice to know that while you're enjoying a quiet dinner up high, most people are making their way through the crowds or sitting down for a meal in a fancy-yet-crowded restaurant downstairs for a similar price. And with an outdoor bar deck one level above the dining area, Zense is a perfect and sensible place for a few quiet drinks between lovers, a small group of friends, or even a huge group of corporate colleagues as well.

Zense Gourmet Deck & Lounge Panorama

Thai/Indian/Japanese/Italian/European/Contemporary Fusion

5pm-1am

17/F, Zen World,

4/5 Ratchadamri Road

02-100-9898, www.zensebangkok.com

About the author

Writer: Kaona Pongpipat