Bangkok's finest under one roof

Public Lane at Central Chidlom is the place to go for in-demand fare without the hassle

There are plenty of reasons to check out Public Lane.

The brand-new dining venue, which occupies a renovated walkway on the 2nd floor of Central Chidlom, is a gathering of eight restaurants approved by epicures as some of Bangkok's best.

The 1,600m² space is also where diners are offered various international cuisines within the blink of an eye.

Practically, and perhaps most importantly, it allows them the freedom to enjoy in-demand establishments without the difficulty of getting tables or parking that can be expected at the original locations.

As the name suggests, Public Lane is designed to be a gastronomic haven for all, no matter what preference or how much time someone has.

As every restaurant boasts camera-ready decorations complemented by perfect lighting, it is also an ideal place to be seen.

As you enter Public Lane from the west end hallway, you will see Mozza by Cocotte occupy both sides of the aisle.

With an open-kitchen setting and a lengthy dining area that seats up to 90 guests, it is the largest restaurant in the venue.

Despite its indoor setting, Mozza Chidlom nicely portrays a breezy sidewalk vibe that made its original EmQuartier outlet so popular. A rich wooden counter, ceramic tile flooring and decorative lemon trees help add Tuscan warmth.

The menu here is similar to that at its sister outlet and offers "La Cucina di Mamma", or comforting homestyle Italian cuisine. It lists approximately 100 items, from a selection of cheese and cold cuts to starters, salad, pizza, pasta, steak and seafood as well as desserts.

During my brunch visit, the best-selling burrata with tomato confit and balsamic caramel (490 baht) lived up to its popularity. No point could be deducted from this simple yet perfect plate of artisan Apulia cheese with a thickened mozzarella cream centre, complemented by juicy sweet confit tomatoes and balsamic reduction.

From the selection of brick oven-baked pizzas, the Carpi Salerno pizza (760 baht), a combination of San Marzano tomato sauce, Parma ham, stracciatella, basil and cherry tomatoes, is recommended.

With the original outlet in the Sathon area, An Com An Ca is at the moment the hottest Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok.

Living up to the brand's phenomenal popularity, the 75-seat chapter at Public Lane is also constantly packed with diners day in and day out.

The menu is huge, listing 100 items of traditional and contemporary Vietnamese dishes as well as some house-invented Asian-inspired seafood recipes. Almost all of them are popular.

Must-order dishes include pho noodles with Australian Wagyu (485 baht); nem nuong platter (390 baht); grilled pork wrapped in betel leaf and served with rice vermicelli (250 baht); and spicy coriander salad (195 baht).

Desserts are also to die for. Don't miss coffee flan custard (225 baht); avocado ice cream (199 baht); and Thai-style banana cake fritters (165 baht).

Aficionados of Chinois chic and nostalgic cook-shop cuisine offered at Ang Morr restaurant in Sukhumvit 38 now have a convenient alternative thanks to the brand's mini chapter at Public Lane.

Although the seating is a lot more limited here, the menu is almost as full-scale.

It lists a selection Chinese-Western classics including stewed ox tongue (180 baht); fried pork chops (200 baht); and steak salad (550 baht); alongside modern creations such as goldfish har gow dumpling with truffle (450 baht); cheesy pork shumai (120 baht); and lobster bisque xiao long bao (120 baht). All are equally treasured by diners.

Individually portioned dishes such as pan-fried rice noodles in Chinese gravy with sirloin steak (520 baht); and rice congee with pan-seared duck breast with hoisin sauce and dried scallops (120 baht) sell best.

Tiengna Patisserie stands out from the crowd, not just for its bright red, Parisian retro-chic setting but because the geographic origin and culinary offerings of this cafe are also unique.

Tiengna first opened eight years ago in Tak, the low-populated, westernmost province of Thailand. It is the hometown of young entrepreneur siblings Mai and Tuan.

From a very humble start, the venture has grown to be one of the country's best-loved French pastry shops.

The Public Lane offshoot allows fans in Bangkok to savour their highly sought-after croissants, doughnuts, canelle and other puff pastries without the burden of a long queue at the Sukhumvit 39 location or a road trip to Tak.

Other than the all-time best-selling croissants, highly recommended items are Paris Brest Ispahan with raspberry, lychee and fromage blanc rose (250 baht); and Mille Feuille with Grands Crus Tahiti vanilla cream (275 baht). All are made with very fine French ingredients including Echire AOP butter and Valrhona chocolate.

The latest spin-off of the restaurant It's Happened To Be A Closet, A Fox Princess Kitchen W/ Rabbit marries Western cuisine with a full-scale bakery.

The menu lists a sweeping repertoire of modern bistro-style dishes. Meanwhile, a daily selection of baking goods encompasses more than 50 cakes, cookies and desserts.

The restaurant's onion soup with puff pastry (240 baht) is an all-time bestseller.

Also worth having are cumin-rosemary lamb with spiced potatoes and roasted garlic (520 baht); vongole spaghetti with shiimeji mushroom in garlic butter sauce (320 baht); and ox tongue stew with roasted eggplant and cumin pumpkin over rice (220 baht).

Highlighted sweet treats include taro-choc soft cake (175 baht); coconut soft cake (175 baht); and classic Kahlua tiramisu (165 baht).

Fa Pla Tahn was established two years ago as a delivery-only restaurant specialising in khao tom pla, or boiled rice soup with fish.

The Public Lane location is the brand's first venue to offer dine-in service, with a slightly-extended culinary concept, "all about fish".

Other than the rice soup, there are also a variety of fish-centric starters, or the likes of fish nuggets, crispy fish skin and fish balls, noodle dishes with fish topping, and fish hot pots.

The restaurant only uses fresh fillets of house-carved sea bass, garoupa and pomfret.

Don't miss spicy tom yum noodles with fish fillet and fish ball (199 baht), deep-fried fish nuggets (189 baht); and boiled rice soup with sea bass, squid and prawn (259 baht).

Shichi is a Japanese restaurant brand that first opened in the Bangkok outskirt of Ratchaphruek and is well-loved by the residents in the neighbourhood.

Yet, despite being a suburban establishment, the brand offers top-class Japanese fare just like what you would find in a high-end downtown eatery.

Fresh produce is flown in from Tokyo's Toyosu fish market to the Shichi headquarters four times a week before being allocated to 10 restaurants across town.

The most recommended items here are signature sushi roll with flash-torched salmon, tobiko flying fish roe, spicy mentaiko cod roe sauce and golden crispy tempura crust (370 baht); and inaniwa noodles with Hokkaido scallops, bacon, salmon roe, tobiko roe and spicy sauce topped with top-grade Bafun uni (1,950 baht).

Japanese beef connoisseurs are promised great satisfaction from the bone-in Dynamite Steak (2,500 baht). It features A3-4 graded Kagoshima Wagyu, sous-vided and then charcoal-grilled to showcase a perfect medium-cooked meat with a nice marbling line of sweet fat and juicy texture.

Although served with a very delicious dipping sauce, the top-notch steak proved flavourful by itself and needed no extra condiments.

At the east end of the passage is SaladStop!, the only eatery in the venue that has no other shop in Thailand, but 69 outlets worldwide.

Frankly, I didn't expect much from the brand, which is one of Asia's largest healthy fast-food chains. I had casually presumed that its offerings, the likes of salad, wrap sandwiches, superfood bowls and juices, are there just to fulfil health-conscious diners.

But the so-called healthy food turned out among the offerings in Public Lane to most impress my taste buds.

I highly recommend Get Shrek smoothie, a super delicious concoction of kale, baby spinach, mango, kiwi and coconut water (145 baht); and Tuna San salad, a hearty bowl of mixed green lettuce, avocado, edamame, cherry tomatoes and mandarin orange topped with slightly-seared tuna and wasabi honey soy dressing (340 baht).

There is also a bulgogi beef salad bowl, lemongrass chicken with quinoa and butternut squash soup as well as ultimate vegan options.

All the salads can be made into a wrap sandwich for 10 baht extra. There are 11 dressing options to choose from. Customers can always try them before making a decision.

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