Apr 25 2012
If you followed our street food adventure series, you’ll know that the best way to experience Thai food is by getting down-and-dirty on the congested Bangkok streets. As a general rule, the cheaper the food, the better the taste; the more limited the menu, the fresher the food. But then there is the other extreme: restaurants in the highest price bracket that offer air-con, delicious cuisine and a fresh towel to wipe your brow. And, if you’re going to splurge, you might as well go all out with a five-star, all-you-can-eat buffet. That way, you can store enough food in your stomach to last a day or two, or three. Turns out to be a deal, right?
If seafood is your protein of choice, I can recommend the weekend ‘Craving for crustaceans’ buffet at Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s Viola! Despite its odd list of descriptors – Parisian, Thai and heavy on the seafood – the recipe seems to work. The experience comes at a steep price (1,800 baht, 50% off for five to 12 year-olds), but if you eat enough mussels shipped in from New Zealand, they might even lose money on you.
After my intrepid search for quality cheese on pizza in Bangkok, I nearly reached nirvana after seeing a room devoted solely to cheese here. You read that right: an entire room. And further afield from the main buffet table, tucked away so you won’t notice it until you’ve already stuffed your stomach beyond human capacity, is a brick oven with made-to-order pizzas.
While Viola’s diverse assortment of delicacies is confusing, gastrointestinally, you can get a little of everything (or a lot). Don’t forget the tower of chocolate fondue. And if you’re not too stuffed, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit has direct access to Bangkok’s newest commercial behemoth, Terminal 21. Walk off the meal while window shopping.
For setting with a touch of swank and a lot of splendour, Riverside Terrace at the legendary Mandarin Oriental is host to a nightly barbecue by the riverside. I would venture to say the quality pales ever so slightly in comparison to Viola!, but the enviable views of the Chao Phraya river make up for this. A felicitous way to award yourself after a full day of sightseeing at Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and/or The Grand Palace, Riverside Terrace offers an all-you-can-eat-and-then-some buffet (2,766 baht, 2,001 baht for children) replete with ice sculptures. Ice in Bangkok!
For an early dose of luxury, the Mandarin also entertains guests in their Authors’ Lounge, a patrician affair fit for royalty with tea, crumpets and all. If you like the real estate, but aren’t up for plowing through a buffet, you can always head to Viva and Aviv for tropical drinks by the river.
If you’re after a flash brunch, St Regis Bangkok fills the bill with its Sunday Brunch at VIU. With sweeping views of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, get deliciously full and trashed at the same time with unlimited Bloody Marys and martinis of the week, and a buffet spread that includes such Bangkok rarities as foie gras and Boston lobster (2,400 baht, includes drinks). While your stomach struggles with digestion, be soothed by the sound of jazz from the in-house saxophonist. Oh, and grab a plate of the slow-roasted lamb if you still have room.
Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 2nd floor
189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15, Bangkok
Open: 06:00-10:30/12:00-15:00/18:00-22.00 (All-day buffet, seafood buffet weekends)
T: (02) 126 9998-9
48 Oriental Avenue, Charoenkrung Soi 40, Bangkok
Barbecue buffet: 19:00-23:00
T: (02) 659 9000 ext 7610
St Regis Bangkok, 12th floor
159 Rajadamri Road, Bangkok
Sunday buffet: 12:00-16:00
T: (02) 207 7819
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