Opened after a refurbishment, the InterContinental Bangkok has not only got a fresh look, it’s launched a new fun and casual restaurant.
SoCal, which could translate to southern California or just “so California”, brings the sunny side of the US to the sunny side of Bangkok. SoCal’s menu draws inspiration from the flavours of California and showcases a diverse range of quality ingredients, including fresh flavours from Pacific seafood, free-range poultry, sustainable seasonal produce, locally organic grown vegetables and a world-class wine selection from The Golden State. The decor of comfy sofas and chairs are also decked out in yellow, adding to the sunny vibe of the restaurant.
Chef Dominic Hong has chosen dishes from the vast repertoire of California to give Bangkok a new take on a diverse cuisine that traces its origins to the long list of immigrants that settled in the state. “We had to take into account that we were opening in Thailand and since the repertoire of southern Californian cuisine is vast, we had to present dishes that were somewhat familiar to diners. We chose dishes with a strong bottom American with a bit of South American and Mexican influences. The Mexican food is quite common in southern California, which is a bit of Calexican and a bit of TexMex, as well. We took traditional Western techniques and recognisable dishes from French, Spanish and Italian, stuff that has been appropriated in southern California,” explains chef Kong.
Cashew & coriander pesto cavatelli.
The ceviche is unlike the one Bangkok is used to; it is a bit more of a tomato sauce cocktail. What is delicious is the Kaboucha squash pizza. Though skip the carbs and get the roasted version. The Baja tacos use Norwegian halibut and so does the cioppino. “All the vegetables we get are local and our meats and seafood are local. Though meat from bigger animals is imported from Australia,” says the chef.
Kabocha squash pizza.
Other suggested dishes to order are the Lobster tostada, with fresh plum, tomato, basil, serrano chilli and yuzu dressing and Pork belly tacos with roasted pineapple salsa and smoked chilli sauce. The one must dish to order and comes in a sharing portion is the Cioppino seafood stew, which is a dish from Italian fishermen immigrants who lived in the North Beach neighbourhood of San Francisco. The stew is tomato-based and consisted mainly of whatever seafood was leftover from the day’s catch. At SoCal, it comes with tiger prawns, little neck clams, black mussels and halibut.
Cioppino seafood stew.
Coconut cake is a popular dessert in the South of the US and it would be a shame not to have that on the menu, when coconuts are so readily found in Thailand. Other desserts include strawberry mousse with the quintessential Graham crackers, a raspberry chocolate tart and an apple tart tatin.
Amador city butter milk fried chicken.
“We are starting off with the simpler things to introduce the cuisine to Bangkok. As time goes on, we are going to introduce more complex desserts. I want to do things like ube cheesecake, stuff like that. It’s always about something that people can relate to in the beginning and as we start to pick up momentum, we will start bringing out more unique dishes,” says chef Kong.
The drinks menu hasn’t been left behind and SoCal offers a wide range of California mixology options and signature cocktails such as Lavender sgroppino, vodka, lemon sorbet, prosecco and a lavender essence bubble, and Citrus & Bubbles, which is pink gin, bergamot liqueur, pink grapefruit, chamomile cordial, as well as a vast selection of wine collections, with more than 300 vintages to choose from, including 47 California wines.
It is also the first restaurant in Bangkok to use the Vinu app which provides guests with personal assistance for the perfect wine pairing with the food they order.