Like trying to tell contestants of Miss Korea 2013 apart, distinguishing outstanding Japanese restaurants from so many seemingly similar choices is no piece of mochi. However, recently opened Shintori, which already has successful outlets in Shanghai, Taipei and Beijing, is attempting to make its Bangkok mark by presenting healthy and highbrow plates amidst the night skyline in a refined atmosphere.
After an elevator ride up to the 18th level of ZEN, the door opens to Shintori and you can sense the serenity in the air right away. The giant wooden door, which gives an impression that something majestic lays beyond it, slides and reveals an impressive main dining hall. It exudes a minimalist Japanese feel and a sense of intrigue with its rock garden, log benches, dark ceiling and other visual treats.
Spotlights are strategically installed to cast splashes of warm light on dining tables, turning them into pedestals on which culinary artworks are to be placed. You can watch the hustle and bustle in the showy and brightly lit kitchen through glass walls or sit near the windows to take in the view of Bangkok at night. A private room is tucked away at one corner and also features the city view (at the time of writing, their outdoor section is still being completed). Shintori not only captivates you visually through its decor but also with its arty food presentation.
Grilled codfish steak with mono miso
Served in a big bowl of water, Cold tofu (B195; prices subject to service charge) may wow you with its looks but might taste too mild especially if you're the kind of person who takes their sashimi with plenty of shoyu and wasabi. It's basically a big slab of tofu to be dipped in an accompanying soya-based soup like you do with cold ramen. The condiments of ginger, spring onion and Japanese spring onion to be mixed in the soup add some consolatory crispness and zing.
Another ordinary dish with a fancy facade is Cold noodle in ice bowl (B350). The noodle itself has a pleasing texture which is soft enough for some satisfying chews without being too fragile. However, I find the accompanying soup to be too mild and diluted by the last dips.
In terms of both look and flavour, Oversized skewer of grilled flavours (B490) leaves a big impression. The skewer is definitely bigger than a baby's arm (unless it's a Michelin kid). The beef almost melts in your mouth with limited fat while the chicken is juicy and the teriyaki sauce is the right balance of salty and sweet. The veggies are sensibly grilled, offering crispness and contrasting flavours to the meats.
Crispy avocado and tuna nuggets (B395) should pique your palate with its diverse flavours and textures. The two layers of avocado on top and tuna on the bottom are battered and fried to create a crusty layer on the outside. It is topped with a touch of spiciness from salsa.
Grilled codfish steak with mono miso (B650) is succulent with an oily but delicious aftertaste. The miso adds a slight saltiness to the fillet.
Tofu cheesecake (B280) is a well-calculated construct and those who find mascarpone too strong will think it quite delightful. With tofu mixed in, the cake tastes milder while you can still enjoy the cheese's flavour. The cake sits on a disc of nutty cookie and is topped with almonds.
End your meal on a lighter note with Shintori's signature cocktails and mocktails. Yokomaha yellow (B175) offers innocent and fruity sips with a lovely scent of jasmine. The refreshing and light Gojira (B350) is very easy to drink and packs a punch of sake.
Food pornographers and posers should have a lot of IG moments at Shintori (the venue is pretty dim so you may need to ask your friends to stay close for photo ops) due to its fancy decor and food.
Foodies who have eaten at places with a similar slant as Shintori - modern and already famous Japanese restaurants imported from outside the country - may find it holds its own without outshining its peers. If you want a decent and relaxed meal with a side of cityscape panorama, then consider Shintori.G
Shintori Japanese Art Cuisine
Modern Japanese 5:30pm-midnight 18/F, ZEN World, CentralWorld, 4, 4/5 Ratchadamri Road 02-100-9000 www.shintoribangkok.com
Oversized skewer of grilled flavours
Cold noodle in ice bowl
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter