Jan 10 2012
Sometimes we long for the discomfort of travel – overnight train rides squashed next to a family of 10 in Kuala Lumpur, holes in the ground as toilets in Ban Lung, food so fresh off the street a piece of the vendor’s hair is tangled into the noodles (well, maybe not that last bit). But other times, we feel we’ve come this far, we might as well live it up. Bangkok is the perfect place to let your inner fancy out, with two-hour long massages, 3-D movies with complimentary cookies, bowling, and fine gastronomic delights.
Viva & Aviv The River is a splurge for the senses (and your wallet), but a perfect place to go for a last hoorah in Bangkok before you move on to more rugged land (we’ve covered a cheaper riverside bar crawl before).
I begrudgingly went with a friend who has a far different idea of what it means to live on a Bangkok budget, but in the end, I couldn’t help but agree it was worth the trip. Viva & Aviv is perched over the Chao Phraya river, and boasts a “complimentary breeze”. The water looks so blue and inviting from their wooden deck, you might be tempted to dip in (at your own risk, my fellow traveller).
Viva & Aviv is a mere baby on the Bangkok restaurant and nightlife scene, created by the culinary team behind Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar in Phloen Chit. The venue has become a popular new haunt for the young-and-ready-to-party crowd as the venue of Kolour Sundays. The hype all started when word got out in November of a “secret” sunset party in an undisclosed location. The locale has since been revealed, but the allure of a Sunday afternoon barbecue with a cocktail menu by the ‘Swedish Bar Mafia’ keeps bringing back more partiers, and adding life to the otherwise sleepy River City shopping complex.
Cocktails steal the show at Viva & Aviv, so the best time to come is from 16:00 to 20:00 during their happy hour, where you can enjoy their cocktail of the week (199 baht), wine by the glass (199 baht) or draught beer (99 baht) and catch a pink sunset over the water. The cocktails tend to emphasise fresh fruit with a dash of whimsy and lots of flavour. The signature cocktails all go for 250 baht, with playful names like “Young Guns & Old Grenades” with lychee, fresh pomegranate and young ginger, and “Man Goes Nuts” with ripe mango, citrus and saffron syrup.
To complement your cocktail, the kitchen serves (pricey) snacks like duck with mango pickles and fig paste and croquet balls with yoghurt dipping sauce (180 baht) and meals including sandwiches, pasta and pizza reminiscent of a modern Australian café, with Asian or even Latin American pizzaz. While good brick oven pizza can be hard to find in Bangkok, it’s not impossible – try the Carlito’s Carnitas with pork carnitas and pico de gallo or an Italian spin on Thailand’s traditional tom kha gai (225 baht).
Some might say Viva & Aviv is a confusion of the senses – relaxed and romantic riverside dining, Sunday afternoon DJ beats, fruity and rum-heavy cocktails, Spanish chorizo sandwiches, and pirate-inspired décor – but the owners pull it off, and seem to be having a lot of fun along the way. For a playful drink on the Chao Phraya, stop by Viva & Aviv, and you might just end up ordering dinner there, too.
Viva & Aviv
River City, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Yota Road
T: (02) 639 6305
Open Mon-Sun, 11:00-24:00
BTS: Saphan Taksin. From there, take the free shuttle service to Si Phraya Pier by contacting the restaurant, or ask a taxi to take you to Thanon Charoen Krung Soi 30 (near the Royal Orchid Sheraton at River City).
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