Viva la brunch revolution
Tribeca Restobar delivers weekend essentials in Thong Lor
Bangkok is a city of appearances, both misleading and true. Leaning towards the former, a brunch outing in Thong Lor can be an experience, particularly if you are lacking any corner of the Thong Lor Triumvirate - rich guy, trophy girl, sports car.
A new brunch spot in the heart of the triumvirate scene is Tribeca Restobar, which has been entertaining the hungry weekend hordes since opening a couple of months ago with its prime location and slick interior. On paper it ticks all boxes, but is that enough to survive the impending brunch revolution?
Tribeca Restobar is the first food child of a sister-brother combination who warmed up for the occasion with a crash course at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Bangkok. They noticed a gap in the market for comfort food in the brunch range and the venue was born. Maybe it really is that easy. Maybe not.
The interior is generously cast over split-levels and features a leather booth section, bar area and upper dining area, along with a narrow space outside for the smokers. It's one of the prime spaces of the new mall, which calls itself "Little Tokyo". It works both during the day with bathing natural light, and at night with enough off-street intimacy and indirect lighting courtesy of rustic copper fittings and some nifty and colourful bottle illumination of the bar shelves.
The menu is split into slightly confused sunrise and sunset partitions, with a 5pm turnaround. The daytime version is a wide-ranging take on the New York brunch spread with everything from Granola & yoghurt parfait (9-11:30am, B135++) to Steak & eggs (from 11am, B420).
Confusing time brackets aside, highlights include the excellent Brioche pain perdu (B220) with the caramelized banana, walnuts and maple butter (rather than the bacon and maple syrup option), which sits atop a fluffy French toast base, offers texture and flavour and avoids being overly sweet.
Salad nicoise with seared tuna
The Reuben (B240) is an honest and intense sourdough sandwich with a generous spread of pastrami, Emmental cheese, sauerkraut, and overbearing Russian sauce.
Gangnam wings (B190) is a less successful Korean take on buffalo wings, particularly if undercooked, as mine were - a definite fowl foul.
Duo belly carbonara (B295) also tastes like it has sugar lumped on it, and might have famous Tribeca resident Robert De Niro throwing it against the wall of his local Italian pasta joint, Jake LaMotta style.
For softer palates, Salad nicoise with seared tuna (B325) is still a little oily, but is softened by leafy greens and generous tuna fillet slices.
Perhaps one of the secrets to maximizing the brunch at Tribeca is to indulge in the generous offer of B499 all-day bellinis, mimosas and Bloody Marys (get in while it lasts). The cocktail list is longer than it is wiser, with the Espresso martini (B260) adequate but a little watery and not at the calibre of the capable bartenders at neighbouring venues such as Gossip (Thong Lor Soi 15) and Fat'r Gut'z (SeenSpace, Thong Lor Soi 13).
All the usual drink suspects are present on the menu - from champagne to shooters to craft beers, a long list of cocktails and a modest wine cellar (but it is early days).
Coffee, the other essential brunch element, is included, if anybody can tame the dashing red coffee machine on the counter. Maybe the machine epitomises Tribeca Restobar. When asked about the origin of the machine, an owner shrugged with a smile, in contrast to their Casa Lapin neighbours (Sukhumvit Soi 49 and Soi 55) who can talk at any length about their brews.
While off to a racing start, the restaurant will need to mature in order to maintain the fickle local crowd that it currently entertains. It's a great litmus test for the city: Will the Thong Lor crowd, with their triumvirate of distractions, even notice the strengths and weaknesses of the place before they inevitably move on? We have, and the growingly discerning brunch crowd might too.G
Desserts prepared on-site
Tribeca Restobar International
G/F, Nihonmura Mall, 85 Thong Lor Soi 13 02-712-9209 facebook.com/Tribeca.restobar.bkk