Rooftop refuge

THE SET-UP

Pratunam is known as a wholesale heaven where you can buy a "mirror" handbag for a fraction of the price of the original. You may be surprised to learn that one fashionable sector of the Bangkok dining scene — rooftop restaurants — has landed there. Chili Hip and Walk are located next to each other on top of Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok. Chili Hip serves as a restaurant with intrigue as black and red stand out from the colour palette. Walk serves as a bar and offers a minimalist feel with a playful edge of hypnotic hues from tables with LED lights inside. Although not too high, the view of many buildings reaching for the sky is still impressive. The breeze is so ample it could dry drops of drinks you spill on your shirt. Most of the patrons are hotel guests from Singapore or Hong Kong along with some walk-in tourists.

Chili Hip & Walk

Asian/Fusion 20/F, Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok, 567 Ratchaprarop Road Open 5:30-11:30pm (until 1am for Walk) 02-625-1234

THE MENU

Duck stuff ed ravioli with red curry sauce

Unlike wearing a pleated skirt and funny T-shirt, Spicy salmon tartar with fried sticky rice (B260++) is a successful mix-and-match. Cubes of fresh salmon have been spiced up with Thai herbs. Sticky rice cakes don't taste like the bricks that they may appear as, but are crunchy with some moisture within. Another non-faux pas fusion is Duck stuffed ravioli with red curry sauce (B220). The pasta isn't too dense, containing aromatic bits of roasted duck inside. Steamed sea bass fillet with coconut broth (B260) is two Thai dishes on one plate. The broth is aromatic tom kha gai while the fish is spicy pla neung manao. Yakisoba (B190) is a little pedestrian but big enough to share. If you're a designated driver, Sweet Chili (B220) offers refreshing sips with a sweet and spicy blend. Tom kha martini (B300) gives sweet and smooth sips.

INSIDER TIP

DJs play from 8pm every day at Walk. There's one private indoor dining room in Chili Hip that can be booked for 8-10 people without extra charge.

SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENTS

It would be a crime not to take a picture of yourself with the cityscape and the sea of artificial lights behind you.

VALUE & VERDICT

It's hard to picture locals who would go to Chili Hip and Walk after a shopping spree in Pratunam. Perhaps the two venues would suit office folks in the area looking to celebrate or entertain clients. When compared to other rooftop places in town, Chili Hip and Walk may not stand the tallest but it won't cost you half your paycheck. G

- Pornchai Sereemongkolpol

Daniel Thaiger

Food Truck Various — oft en Sukhumvit Soi 38/RCA (check URL for daily locations) Open 6pm till sell out facebook.com/DanielThaiger

Burgers to go

THE SET-UP

The Bangkok burger race has a new contender, and it's on wheels. Taking cues from the LA food truck scene and the al fresco cafeteria that is Asia, Daniel Thaiger has injected a hands-on casual dining option in the city. And why not, since suddenly every Combi van along Sukhumvit seems to be a pop-up bar of some sort. These early days see the food truck dishing mainly burgers. Once they're fried and fed to the hungry hordes, Mark (not Daniel) and Honey go home for the night - as simple as that.

THE MENU

On offer (while stocks last) is the straight-up Thaiger burger (beef/pork, B139/B129) that features fresh veg and soft buns baked locally. Mark was pretty tight-lipped about his patty recipe, but says it's ground freshly each day and avoids being gamey. The burger highlight is the Mr Steve (B169) that also includes crispy bacon strips and a generous slice of Californian cheddar cheese. It's juicy, full flavour burger goodness fresh from the grill, served in a wax paper bag. We like. Burger extras on top are cheese and bacon (B15 each) as well as French fries (B49) and two sandwich options - Grilled tuna melt (B79) and Grilled cheese sandwich (B49). Ask about a revolving burger special that is sometimes available.

INSIDER TIP

The word is out, and they make only 100-150 patties a day, so try and get down there early. Don't wear your best clothes or take your first date there - it's hands-on fun that will leave a greasy grin on your face.

SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENTS

They update their Facebook page diligently to keep everyone informed of their location and burger count for the evening, so take a peek to avoid disappointment.

VALUE & VERDICT

If there were any doubters about the survival potential of a food truck in Bangkok, Daniel Thaiger puts that argument to rest, as was evident by the hungry crowd milling around the night we visited. And at a reasonable B139-B169 a burger, although Suk Soi 38 ain't Venice Beach, people seem happy to waive the dining tables and indoor ambience for the tasty grill. The addition of lunch-time and after-hours sessions could propel the van into burger supremacy for the city. We may never eat a burger indoors again. G

- Richard Mcleish