Launched along with Siam Center's cutting-edge new look are 35 restaurants, here are just a few eateries in the shopping complex that are well worth a visit
The vintage Venetian style pop-up cafe, designed to operate until the end of May to promote the ice cream brand, proves a culinary harbour really worth seeking out.
Siam Center, 1st floor
Open daily 10am-10pm
Most credit cards accepted
The thin-crust Mad Hatters topped with pork sausages and garlic aioli.
Magnum Cafe is absolutely not the type of restaurant I would normally check out, let alone schedule for review. I don't care if a place has phenomenally long queues (the number of teenage customers may be a good measure of popularity but is no guarantee of real quality). Nor do I care about a place that tries to use chocolate in savoury fare simply to send out the message that it's a connoisseur of such.
But over the past couple months since the ice cream brand's high-profile pop-up restaurant was launched, I've heard many positive comments _ not from half-wit gluttons, but keen epicures _ that usually start with "you're not gonna believe this". Magnum Cafe is a culinary harbour really worth checking out, they said.
So, there I was.
The cafe, designed to operate only for six months (until the end of May) to promote the Magnum ice cream brand, occupies a spacious, 400m2 corner space on the centre's 1st floor. It's the brand's fifth pop-up joint worldwide, following London, Paris, Edinburgh and Jakarta.
Decked out in vintage Venetian style and with sweet French tunes in the background, the 170-seat establishment is divided into two sections: the restaurant and the ice cream parlour. The latter is where Magnums, personalised to order with varieties of coatings and toppings, are on offer. The Magnum Cafe's restaurant cuisine, designed exclusively for the Bangkok edition, is the brainchild of Samuel Wickson, a veteran British chef who's called the city home for the past nine years.
The menu (listed backward with desserts on the first page and typical first course dishes on the last) features as many as 40 East-meets-West items in categories including tapas, pizza, pasta and finale.
Despite a name to cause dismay in food snobs, the Nemo pasta is an ingenious culinary creation.
Of the tapas menu, which features the likes of tacos, beef carpaccio, salmon tartare, charcuterie platter and yum salad, we started off with Magnum foie gras (190 baht). A block of home-made Ugandan chocolate-laced goose liver terrine sprinkled with salt flakes and accompanied by brandy marmalade and thin melba toast proved luscious till the last nip.
There are eight pizza options. The Mad Hatters (210 baht), a thin-crust pizza topped with pork sausages, garlic aioli, crispy noodle and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, was very gratifying.
The best-selling Suzie Wong, a pizza topped with Peking duck and sweet hoy sin sauce and named after a Chinese character in a British novel (190 baht), was enjoyable.
My favourite dish of the day was from the pasta selection. Despite a name to cause dismay in food snobs _ genuine and wannabe _ Nemo pasta (260 baht) was an ingenious marriage between Belgian chocolate, Italian pasta and Asian spices. The dish featured home-made chocolate-infused linguini tossed with blue crabmeat, garlic, chilli powder and capers. The al dente ribbon pasta offers an aromatic bitterness thanks to the infusion of dark cocoa, and it intermingles marvellously with the pungent herb and seafood dressing.
Certainly, sweets are treated as grand finales here. The cafe offers more than a dozen choices of mouthwatering desserts to cater to sweet-tooths on any occasion, whether it's breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
However, we skipped the regular finale options like Belgian waffles, pavlova, prosecco jelly, chocolate fondue and the tea party set, to name a few, and went for the special Valentine's options.
Available only this month, the Magnum Chocolate Rose (280 baht) was a lusciously beautiful display of red velvet cake, two naked Magnum ice creams (one drizzled with pistachio and the other with strawberry frosting poured before your eyes), raspberry panna cotta and crispy glazed rose petals.
The romantic platter of chilled-and-warm, silky-and-crusty desserts is ideal for a couple to share.
As a fine bistro, Magnum Cafe also has a nice selection of dessert-inspired cocktails and smoothies. Recommended is Blue Royale (120 baht) made with Magnum vanilla ice cream, blueberries and lychees.
Attended by a team of 25 service staff, the cafe operates on a first-come-first-served basis. It doesn't take phone reservations. The best time to arrive if you want to avoid long queues is before noon on a weekday.
Siam Center, 3rd floor
Open daily 10am-10pm
Most credit cards accepted
Not many chefs in Bangkok are brilliant at concocting flavours, but it seems one can always be found at a Greyhound Cafe. This seems incredible given the fact it's a fashion house-inspired restaurant brand that has several outlets across the city.
Unlike other branches, the Greyhound Cafe in Siam Center has been specifically designed by a famous architectural firm to go with the refurbished mall's swanky appearance. It combines a playful industrial touch with a casual bistro ambience and the runway look.
The Greyhound menu basically comprises more than 100 savoury dishes and over a dozen choices of desserts _ many from both categories are excellent. For this location, however, the restaurant boasts a special collection of dishes not available at other branches.
Our party of three kicked off our late lunch refreshingly with two of the cafe's most popular salads: the Parma ham and honeydew salad (220 baht) and the avocado salad (250 baht). The first presented fresh rocket leaves tossed with chunks of honeydew melon, fresh strawberries, thin slices of Parma ham, crumbs of goat cheese and vinegrette dressing.
The latter featured Western-style salad elements, namely baby spinach, avocados, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, laced with a Thai-style sour and slightly spicy yum dressing.
For entree, we went for the exclusive Siam Center menu and were very impressed with Super Lux burger (450 baht). It features a home-made burger, foie gras slab and ripe mango wedges on a house-baked squid-ink bun. The juicy and flavourful beef patty was sumptuously complemented by the velvety pan-seared duck liver and the soft and buttery bun, while the sweet mango lent a fruity touch. The burger comes with well-seasoned potato wedges.
Craving something spicy, a friend ordered khanom jeen nam ya poo, or Thai-style fermented rice noodle with fiery southern-style crab curry (230 baht). The dish is one of the best sellers of the newly launched Sing Nuea Suea Tai menu, which presents classic dishes from northern and southern Thai cuisines, and proved impeccable.
For the sweet ending, we skipped our all-time favourite tubtim krob (crunchy water chestnut dumplings in sweet coconut milk topped with shaved ice) and tried Happy Toast (90 baht), which is another exclusive item here.
We were presented with a piece of buttery toast accompanied by sweet toppings, namely Thai tea sauce, coffee caramel sauce, sea salt cream and marmalade _ delightful.
The 80-seater is decked out in contemporary French country style.
Siam Center, 4th floor
Open daily 11am-10pm
Most credit cards accepted
In terms of menu size, Petite Audrey may be regarded as small compared to the collection of 250 dishes available at the original Audrey in Thong Lor. Otherwise, nothing seems petite about the 80-seat venue decorated in French vintage style. The 10-page international menu features anything from crab souffle with lobster brandy sauce, braised beef cheek with pasta to tom yum goong and stir-fried seafood on a sizzling pan.
We asked the service staff for suggestions, and our meal began nicely with Say Cheese (130 baht), popcorn-like potato fritters stuffed with cheese and served with a melted cheddar dip. The cheesy appetiser, a favourite among kids and grown-ups alike, was quite addictive. However, given its tiny portion size, it is more ideal for nibbling while chit-chatting than for hungry diners.
A friend really liked the guay tiew lord sai moo ping, or steamed rice noodle rolls with grilled pork filling (130 baht). The warm and soft rolls came packed with succulent pieces of grilled marinated pork shoulder and served with a salty-sweet caramel-coloured gravy made with pork jus, a bowl of very tasty jaew sauce and fresh vegetables.
The noodle rolls were delectable. But more memorable was the delightful sweet basil fried rice with crispy German-style pork knuckle (190 baht). The rice was masterfully wok-fried with morsels of the crispy pork and the fragrant herbs delivering a well-fused flavour and pleasant aroma while still retaining its grainy, not mushy, texture. Equally admirable was the pork. Despite its dry and stiff look, the pork presented a truly pleasurable brittle crunch that intermingled nicely with the rice. The dish was served with a bowl of gourd soup with minced pork balls on the side.
The restaurant has a mind-numbing repertoire of desserts. The 30-option menu offers a wide range of Western pastries and Thai sweets including a nice variety of cakes, French profiteroles, buttermilk waffles, blueberry crumbles, English scones and Thai black jelly.
MR JONES' MILK BAR
Siam Center, 2nd floor
Open daily 10am-10pm
Visa and MasterCard accepted
Following the success of Mr Jones' Orphanage, a bakery-cum-breakfast eatery in Thong Lor Soi 13, Mr Jones' Milk Bar continues to celebrate joyful childhood memories and tree house fantasies with its trademark setting that attracts the young and young-at-heart.
Don’t miss Mr Jones’ flavoured milk.
The milk bar is situated on Siam Center's 2nd floor and has two dining zones set across from each other. Resembling a whimsical miniature town, the cosy dining chambers appointed with small-sized booths are decked out with wooden railways, teddy bears, mini die-cast cars and toy soldiers underneath a ceiling of ever-whirling clockwork.
Of course, the whimsical toyland setting is not the only crowd-pleaser here. Mouthwatering varieties of cakes and pastries (as many as 20 options made fresh in the on-site kitchen) also seem to be a great attraction for passers-by.
Mr Jones' bakeries focus on a home-made style, most items prepared to recipes from the owner's grandma. Among other sweet dainties you'll find the likes of chewy fudge brownies, lemon meringue pies, carrot cakes, red velvet cakes, young coconut cakes, chocolate-hazelnut cakes and cup cakes. The most popular treat, Chocky Mud Pie (135 baht), featuring molten chocolate cake in a ramekin dish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries, proved luscious, as did Mum's Apple Pie (135 baht) which was filled with generous chunks of apple and accompanied by vanilla ice cream.
Given the name of the establishment was on this item, we couldn't afford to miss Mr Jones' home-made flavoured milk (40 baht per bottle). Rich and tasty, the milk is available in five flavours: spearmint, bubblegum, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. I tried the first, with its light pastel green hue and refreshing toothpaste taste, and simply fell in love! My boy had the strawberry and cried for more.
About the author
- Writer: Vanniya Sriangura
Position: News Reporter