Amsa Café and Grill | Bangkok Post: Lifestyle

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Service hours: 11:00-01:00

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Official description

You probably already know Silom as Bangkok’s CBD, or central business district. But the area is also a strong contender as the city’s CFD — central foodie district. Think about it, people. On this very same street, you can eat fermented pork spicy salad from an auntie hawker, chow down on a street-side khao man gai, take a coffee break at a fancy cafe, sit down at an international hotel buffet, undertake a hearty bout of drinking at a bar or dine in style at a rooftop restaurant. And that’s not including the variety of options in neighbouring Surawong and Sathon.

Adding diversity to Silom’s foodie playground is Amsa Bar and Grill. The recent addition serves healthy Mediterranean dishes, some of which are sprinkled with local twists. The restaurant’s name is derived from “hamsa”, the Arabic word for a hand-shaped amulet that is a sign of protection. The casual two-level cafe is bright and inviting, befitting a quick lunch or a low-key dinner. Sitting on the couches under the mezzanine level is a bit claustrophobic so we opted for the more spacious space upstairs. The crowd consists mostly of office workers and tourists.

Rating

Editorial Reviews

The set-up

You probably already know Silom as Bangkok’s CBD, or central business district. But the area is also a strong contender as the city’s CFD — central foodie district. Think about it, people. On this very same street, you can eat fermented pork spicy salad from an auntie hawker, chow down on a street-side khao man gai, take a coffee break at a fancy cafe, sit down at an international hotel buffet, undertake a hearty bout of drinking at a bar or dine in style at a rooftop restaurant. And that’s not including the variety of options in neighbouring Surawong and Sathon.

Adding diversity to Silom’s foodie playground is Amsa Bar and Grill. The recent addition serves healthy Mediterranean dishes, some of which are sprinkled with local twists. The restaurant’s name is derived from “hamsa”, the Arabic word for a hand-shaped amulet that is a sign of protection. The casual two-level cafe is bright and inviting, befitting a quick lunch or a low-key dinner. Sitting on the couches under the mezzanine level is a bit claustrophobic so we opted for the more spacious space upstairs. The crowd consists mostly of office workers and tourists.

The menu

Despite its modestly sized kitchen, Amsa’s menu is rather large. The food department is broken down into tapas, salads, grills and desserts, while the drink list is filled with home-made sodas, coffees, teas, spirits, cocktails and wines.

From the tapas section, we ordered the Falafel (B180++), which burst with flavour and aroma, but weren’t too dense or oily. The falafel is good on its own, but pairing it with creamy hummus and assorted pickles never hurt. We dig the zesty contrast provided by the pickled jalapeño. The side of Moroccan salad features tomatoes and cucumbers.

Eggplant slathered (B180) is another vegetarian dish with voluminous flavour. The smoked eggplant is melt-in-your-mouth, and the hummus paste atop it makes the dish even more dreamily smooth. It serves as a blank canvas showcasing the colours and brighter flavours of jalapeños, lemon segments and pomegranate.

Hot off the grill is Marinated roast chicken (B250 for quarter, B450 for half, B850 for whole), which is served with a large bowl of tabbouleh — uniquely made with quinoa stir-fried with chilli in lieu of traditional bulgar wheat, resulting in a crunchier feel — and three baguette slices. We have our first miss with the wing quarter of the chicken. Although well cooked, it tastes too plain. Garlic paste and harissa sauce are on standby to lift the meat up, but not by much. The leg quarter, on the other hand, is tasty and juicy.

Served with tzatziki sauce, pita bread and Greek salad, Chicken souvlaki (B290) is a wholesome delight. The chicken is flavourful and tender, the sauce offers a slight yoghurt-y flavour and contains crisp bits of cucumber and garlic. Make a pocket out of your pita and stuff everything in it for a delicious Greek sandwich.

Herbed meat kebabs (B300) is another killer dish. The skewered beef tenderloin is well-seasoned and aromatic, with a pink interior. The side of spicy salsa is grilled for bonus smokiness, while red onion salad offers freshness and pungency.

Insider tip

Unicorn Hospitality and two Moroccan investors have partnered to bring you Amsa. The hospitality consultant firm manages many hotels and F&B outlets across Thailand, and opened Amsa in late November. The restaurant’s weekday lunch sets (B299 or B349) are available from 11am-4pm, offering diners a tapas, a main course and a soft drink.

Value & verdict

We enjoyed everything we ate during our visit, except for that plain upper quarter of chicken. Substantial portions rightfully justify pricing and wait staff is very attentive. Silom execs, get to it. The same goes for foodies looking to expand their horizons. Just try not to kiss anyone afterwards.

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