When was the last time you went into a bookshop? You know, the place that sells those ancient things Thai people don't read, but rather use to swat flies and shield their delicate skin from the sun's harsh rays. But even if you prefer to keep your face glued to your smartphone, don't be deterred from entering fancy new venue The Bookshop, because the only reading you'll have to do here is perusing the list of food and drinks.
This ain't your average bookshop, or restaurant for that matter. Once you step inside, you'll be mesmerised by the eccentric illusions - airborne bookshelves, suspended books and staircases that lead nowhere - which are the brainchildren of Australian barchitect Ash Sutton. Already famed for his decor delicacies at venues such as Iron Fairies, Clouds and Mr. Jones' Orphanage, Sutton adds his whimsical touch to the interior of The Bookshop. And if I were to judge this book(shop) by its cover, the venue exudes intrigue with its dreamlike setting, just like a good fantasy book. The eclectic design also successfully distracts from the fact that the restaurant is of modest size.
At the moment, the menu is nowhere near as long as a copy of War and Peace, with only 14 food items available at the time of writing. However the dishes are unique and varied enough to educate your palate.
Grilled portobello topped with truffle sauce, pine nut, rocket leaves and bacon
Salmon tartar served with waffle cone topped with spicy seafood jelly (B220; prices subject to tax and service charge) works like a good multi-genre novel. The mellow yet spicy fish is in the embrace of a crunchy and slightly sweet cone, producing dead-on impact like an attention-grabbing introduction.
With its burst of flavours, Crabmeat bites fried with northeastern Thai style spices (B190) are like a suspense-building second chapter. The accompanying jaew dip offers extra acidity from sweet and sour tamarind.
Dipping Caesar salad with parmesan, garlic and bacon toast (B220) is a deconstructed version of the classic salad. With its DIY twist, diners dip crisp and fresh romaine leaves into the creamy salad dressing. Crunchy slices of garlic bread are sprinkled with bacon for additional contrast.
Grilled portobello topped with truffle sauce, pine nut, rocket leaves and bacon (B190) is another dish which makes it into my good books. The mushroom pieces have a meaty and juicy sensation, serving as strong base for the flavourful embellishments.
Deep fried seafood platter with mixed crispy Thai herbs (B290) offers an edible mixture of Thai herbs that go well with deep-fried delicacies of the sea.
Presumably how women feel while reading Fifty Shades of Grey, you won't want to put down hearty Lamb ragu penne pasta topped with Japanese beans and parmesan (B250). The al dente pasta and aromatic sauce is complemented by the fusion twist of edamame.
Deep fried seafood platter with mixed crispy Thai herbs
Drink-wise, another heavyweight figure lends his talent to the venue. Mix-master Joseph Boroski has created around 12 signature concoctions for The Bookshop, each named with a biblio-theme. Boroski is known for his blog Sipslowly (sipslowly.blogspot.com) and cocktail menus he has created for leading hotels and restaurants. Romance novel (B290) lures you in with the foreplay of jasmine-scented foam before it washes over you with a climax of sweet sips.
If you prefer light, fruity and refreshing sips, try Latest periodicals (B290) for a duet of kiwi and cucumber with tequila. Librarian (B340) offers a trio of pineapple, honey and lime in cilantro-infused vodka.
The Bookshop is more suited as a place to moderately eat and indulge in some fancy drinks before hitting the town for the kind of night you'll probably end up forgetting. The food and drinks at The Bookshop don't go by the book, helping to expand Bangkok's dining horizon with items that aren't easily found elsewhere. The prices of the signature cocktails (from B290 per glass) is a little high but the price of food and other drinks seems average by Sukhumvit standards. All in all, The Bookshop is pretty damn good in my book.G
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter