The only thing that suggests you're still in Bangkok as you enter Seiniku-ten is the sight of jumbled wires hanging chaotically over your head. But once you step inside the small sliding door (don't forget to bend down, tall people!) and pass the rows of Japanese paper lanterns floating above, it's as if you've been transported to the Land of the Warm Rising Sun that Envelops You with its Cosy Embrace (OK, the original moniker is catchier, but you know what we mean).
Translating to "a restaurant with premium beef", Seiniku-ten is a new yakiniku - aka grilling-style - eatery. With a width that only seems to be about four long strides, curls of grilling smoke from each table fill the homey atmosphere with warmth, and of course get the saliva glands going. It allures further with its All you can eat set (B499, two hours). This option includes a variety of dishes, such as Bean sprouts salad and Salmon salad, fried fare like Tonkatsu and Menchi-katsu, veggies like Eringi mushroom, pumpkin and onion, as well as sushi ranging from Tamago nigiri to California maki. Get your grill on with seafood options including prawn, squid, capelin and New Zealand mussel, or chicken, pork and of course the premium beef that gives Seiniku-ten its namesake. Are your saliva glands going yet?
To explain how thinly cut and delicate the New Zealand beef is, I could never once lift a slice of the meat to the grill without it tearing in half. The delicious and juicy beef fully cooks in 10 seconds, or for those of you who can't count past five, it grills faster than you can say, "Hey, give me a piece of that!"
Akai duck slices have lines of fat around the rim that contribute sweetness and a luring scent when grilled. Although I found the quack meat to be a bit oily, the biting sourness of Kimuchi as a side helps tone down the duck meat.
Although I tried to avoid eating rice so I wouldn't get too full to enjoy the meat (I know, I know, what kind of Thai person am I?), the garlic rice at Seiniku-ten is just too good and has that perfect stickiness that's hard to resist.
Although this joint's speciality is grilled items, the sushi that comes with the All you can eat set also deserves two chopsticks up. Salmon nigiri has generous amounts of fresh salmon spread on top, which is perfect considering you can order as many as you want. Seiniku-ten's home-made soy sauce is also specially thick and strong to enhance the sushi experience.
The All you can eat set is probably enough to make your missus happy, but if you happen to be on a first date and want to make a good impression, opt for the a la carte option of premium Kobe beef (B950; prices subject to tax). The good blend of fat and meat is a winner.
Seiniku-ten beef (B950) is my favourite meat here, and also happens to be the restaurant's signature beef if you couldn't guess from the name. It's flown in straight from Japan, and the fact that I had to wait for a while for the staff to carve the slices is a guarantee of how fresh the beef is. Although each slice is a bit thick, it took almost no time for it to be cooked. The meat is already so sweet by itself that there is absolutely no need for any sauce or flavour enhancers. And you barely even have to chew to get it down.
The prime Thong Lor location is one good aspect of this place, but what makes Seiniku-ten really stand out is its ability to create a sense of Japanese authenticity in the midst of Bangkok through the decoration, vibes and food. The only hitch about this place is it gets full quite fast (even some local celebrities were turned away on the day I visited) so booking in advance is recommended.
With lunch sets also available, it's perfect for office workers in the area (or Thong Lor frequenters who do nothing all day except pose, pamper and party). The restaurant's future plan to extend the space to the second floor also indicates that it's getting good buzz from customers. For these reasons, Seiniku-ten is not just a place you should go check out, it might turn out to be the place for your every occasion.G
About the author
Writer: Kaona Pongpipat