Dining extravaganza

Phrom Phong's new Central Eatery is in an untypical food hall, offering gourmet choices alongside popular bestselling varieties

Being a food writer by profession but an experienced grocery shopper by passion, the only thing that would excite me more than an opening of an awesome new restaurant is a good new supermarket.

And when such two happenings combine, especially in my residential neighbourhood, I consider it a great gastronomic boon.

Launched two weeks ago on the northern end of Phrom Phong near Phetchaburi Road was Tops Food Hall Sukhumvit 39.

The brand-new food hall is Central Retail's first standalone gastronomic bazaar set in a 4,800m² purposely designed building.

The two-storey, glass-facade venue is equipped with a world-class premium supermarket and more than 15 cafes and food shops, aiming to cater to local residents and expats, especially the Japanese, in the upscale multi-nationality community.

The Australian grain-fed prime rib on a Himalayan pink salt plate.

Among those featured are French-Spanish restaurant El Mercado; Pacamara speciality coffee shop; Isan restaurant Cafe Chilli; Vivi Tuscan Kitchen; After You Dessert Café; and Korean street food shop Galbi X.

Central Eatery, this week's subject of review, is a part of Tops Supermarket. The 30-seater occupies a semi-opened dining zone with an island kitchen encircled by a dining counter. There are also dining tables and a sushi bar to accompany various seating preferences.

Guests at the Eatery are basically offered with two culinary options: to order from the restaurant's menu or to choose fresh produce from Tops' wide array of meat, poultry and seafood and have the Eatery's chef do the cooking for you. Dishes will be cooked, per your choice, according to the restaurant's available recipes and presented with a restaurant-style table service.

From the butchery zone, manned by a master butcher, highlights are top-tier beef from Japan and Australia. Fresh seafood, including oysters, lobsters and fish, from around the world are available at the fishmonger zone.

The crispy-skin roasted pork belly porchetta sandwich with green salsa.

Diners at the Eatery are welcome to pick their favourite European cheeses and cold cuts from Tops' charcuterie section; freshly baked Viennoiserie pastries by an Austrian master baker from the bakery section; and fine wine, with advice from the store's sommelier, from the wine cellar.

Should you decide to order from the menu, there are more than 50 brasserie-style dishes, crafted-up by Central Eatery group's American head chef.

Expect to find from it highlights such as grilled American lobster as well as freshly shucked French and Irish oysters and fine Siberian sturgeon caviar.

My personal recommended options for a light starter include a mesclun salad of seared sesame tuna, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado and vinaigrette dressing (299 baht); and pan-seared Hokkaido scallops with mango salsa, radish and balsamic reduction (480 baht). These well-balanced dishes prepared with top-quality Japanese seafood proved to live up to their bestselling reputation.

The Eatery has one of the best palate-pleasing porchetta sandwiches in town. Its rendition (225 baht), accompanied by mini hash browns, features slices of Italian-style crispy-skin roasted pork belly laced with delicious green salsa on grilled ciabatta bread.

The beef-fat fried rice with cured egg and seared sirloin.

If you're a keen fan of pork belly, there's kakuni (79 baht per 100g) that showcases a different, yet equally scrumptious, facet of the delicacy. Wobbly and glossy chunks of Japanese style braised pork belly come glazed with sweet teriyaki sauce and providing an extraordinarily melt-in-the-mouth softness.

But if beef is the name of your game, go for the restaurant's popular beef-fat fried rice with cured egg and seared dry-aged Wagyu sirloin (290 baht) or have a sharing platter of bone-in Australian grain-fed prime rib (2,450 baht per kilo).

The latter was served on a hot Himalayan pink salt plate, which retains heat for up to an hour, to allow diners the freedom to have the steak cooked to their preference. Helping to enhance the flavours of the rich-tasting beef was Maldon sea salt.

A selection of gourmet burgers including dry-aged beef burger on red onion brioche and a barbecue brisket burger with Japanese potato salad are also worth checking out.

There are several promotional discounts and giveaways available during this grand opening period. For more information, visit Facebook: Central Food Hall or LINE: @TopsThailand.

Diners at Central Eatery can also shop for their preferred meat cuts from Tops' butchery zone.

The always-busy open kitchen of Central Eatery.

The mesclun salad of seared sesame tuna, quinoa, cherry tomatoes and avocado.

  • Central Eatery
  • Tops Food Hall Sukhumvit 39
  • Call 02-126-7931
  • Open daily 8am-10pm
  • Park on the premises
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