Fusion of flavor served in a fusion of style
Bangkok is a city full of restaurants. Currently there are 7,946 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor, not to mention the local establishments devoid of any online presence. It can be tricky to navigate through the maze of dining options to find one that really stands out among the rest and offers an experience worthy of writing home about. We were fortunate enough to find such a place, Rock Restaurant and Bar, located off of the main strip of tourist driven restaurants in a growing area of the same trendy and cozy style as the restaurant itself.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the two owners, Lucy, a foodie, and Richard, a fashion designer. We were told that the menu was based off the personalities of the two and it was clear that they had come together to create a décor and overall experience that were also like their personalities: warm and inviting.
Stepping into the restaurant we were immediately struck by that same warmth and the intimate, den-like feel of the restaurant. Beautiful hand-carved rock serve as the bases to glass tabletops, paying tribute to the Stone Forest and Lucy’s roots in China. Dark walls and pillars decorated with green foliage and vines warms the area and adds to the private cavern feel of the room and is perfectly contrasted with the crisp white chairs. Locally handcrafted lights and Italian imported cowskin rugs finishes off the look and brings the space together.
The space upstairs has been turned into a private area for additional seating or parties and groups and maintains the same feel as the main dining area.
The music also added to the feel of the place which has a chic, artsy ambiance worthy of the swankiest and trendiest of restaurants found in Toronto, New York or L.A. but lacks the pretentious flare one often finds in similar establishments. This is undoubtedly a place designed for the enjoyment of food . And boy, did we enjoy the food.
“Siamisation” – Familiar Thai dishes with a twist
They describe their style of food as “Siamisation”. This Asian-fusion fare, pulls from the traditional and old school Thai recipes, and incorporates the flavours and ingredients from cultures that have influenced the cuisine in Thailand, the Land of Siam, as well as styles from across Asia. It is familiarity with a little twist. A fusion of flavour to go along with the décor’s fusion of style. Created with the help of Chef Noi, who studied under one of the world’s most famous Thai chefs, David Thompson, the menu brings the concept of “siamisation” to life and elevates fusion style cooking to another level. Knowing that the recipes were cooked with fresh ingredients, locally sourced and brought in from the markets daily when possible, only made the list of items more appealing.
Upon being seated, we were immediately brought a welcome drink of butterfly pea water. We’re pretty sure there’s a fortune to be made should they decide to bottle and sell this water. Slightly sweet, floral yet fruity in taste and incredibly refreshing, this water was definitely a great introduction to the meal ahead.
We started with a canapé of syrup pork buns. We’ve had more than our fair share of dim sum, but we were in no way prepared for what we were about to be served. Rather than the traditional pork filled bun, we received three lightly toasted buns topped with braised pork leg, shallot and cilantro. It was an amazing combination of flavours and these bite-sized buns have been frequent players in our food fantasies of late.
For our appetizer, we had the crab cream cheese wafers. Thin wafers filled with seasoned cream cheese, crab meat, and homemade sauce offered up layers of taste. Perfectly balanced between wafer, cream cheese and crab, these wafers were simple in concept but complex in execution and taste.
Our next course was the grilled beef salad which was completely different in composition from any beef salad we had tried in the past. The meat was cooked perfectly and the shrimp paste based sauce was complimented nicely by the tartness of the pomelo and the sharper but fragrant lemongrass.
For our main, we had crab curry and rice noodle. This southern style coconut curry was slightly spicy and blended wonderfully with the flavour of the crab meat. It was yet another dish of layered and complex taste this time from a dish we’ve come to know in Thailand but made into an entirely new experience.
The meal wouldn’t have been complete without trying something from their dessert menu. We figured if the experience had been this amazing so far, their dessert couldn’t disappoint. And it definitely didn’t. Their toddy palm butter cake, commonly a Southern Muslim street food, was a dense cake without being heavy. The passion fruit cut the sweetness and created an amazing balance between the components of the dish.
Signature Cocktails… on the rocks
Their bar and drink menu is as thought-out and developed as their food menu. Their signature cocktails, paying homage once again to the couple, was developed by world-renowned mixologist Joseph Boroski and are as layered in flavour as the food.
The Kunming Tourist Trap is a drink inspired by Lucy’s hometown in China and combines black tea infused gin, rose jam syrup and fresh passion fruit pulp.
Red Earth is more of a creation based on the rock theme of the restaurant. Taking the patrons on a trip to Mars in a glass, this drink mixes Appleton white rum with the spice of fresh red pepper and paprika, the sweetness of surgarcane and the tartness of lime.
With a long list of drinks including signature cocktails, mixed drinks, wines, beers and spirits (not to forget the butterfly pea water) there is bound to be something for everyone.
Rock Restaurant and Bar in Bangkok offered us one of the best and most unique meals. From the moment we walked in our experience was of the highest quality. All of our senses were catered to with the décor, the ambiance and finally the dishes themselves. Lucy and Richard maintain a presence in the restaurant ensuring each of their patrons receive the best dining experience possible.
We like to think we’ve found a bit of a hidden gem, although it’s clear that Rock Restaurant and Bar is popular and busy. One thing is certain, despite this restaurant being off the main tourist streets, with the food, service and experience they provide this place won’t be very hidden for long!
7/1 Soi Chumnanaaksorn Paholyothin
9 Road, Samsennai, Phyathai,
Bangkok, Thailand 10400
082 688 8200