Jun 07 2012
In Bangkok, a city filled with Japanese expats and close enough to the fish markets of Tokyo to make importing fresh tuna an absurd possibility, sushi restaurants abound. But choosing which sushi restaurant to frequent should never be done haphazardly; you must take as much care in selecting your sushi restaurant as a sushi chef when filleting halibut or rolling maki.
In our first splurging on sushi in Bangkok post, I directed you to Isao, a recommendation we still stand by, and perhaps the best sushi restaurant in Bangkok considering the price and quality of the food. But there are others to try.
For honeymooners in Bangkok, In the Mood for Love is a sushi bar along Thong Lor with a little kitsch and a lot of funk. An ode to the 2000 Hong Kong film ‘In the Mood for Love’, the name feels more appropriate once you step inside — a cave-like structure with corner nook seating and bird cages for lamp shades awaits. The sushi is creative and full of whimsy, with unexpected ingredients like strawberries atop eel in their signature Sweet 16 (400 baht), though often the chef’s bold direction swells over any delicacy in flavour. The cocktails share a similar fate as the rolls—unique, unexpected and entirely unfamiliar to the tastebuds. Chic does not come cheap in Bangkok, but In the Mood for Love is an experience beyond sushi consumption.
Honmono might be your biggest Bangkok sushi splurge; you pay for the airfare of the fresh fish between your chopsticks, shipped in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. Honmono is a popular haunt for hi-so Thais and Japanese business men with buckets of expendable income. With restaurants in Central Chit Lom, Central Bang Na, Parklane Ekamai, and their original, inside a converted house in trendy Thong Lor, Honmono has made a name for itself for authentic food and knowledgeable service. Try the juicy and tender engawa, or the dancing eel roll, made with avocado that melts in your mouth. Their most impressive feat is the sashimi platter, at a whopping 1,500 baht. Pay with either cash or a Citibank card and you’ll get a 25% discount.
Hole-in-the-wall Sushi Masa is a small gem in the not-so-trendy Ratchathewi area, with straightforward sushi and sashimi favourites shipped from Tokyo and chilled, but never frozen, and small surprises like the foie gras sushi and Thai-style salmon tataki. Despite its no thrills attitude, this locally-owned restaurant has still caught the eyes (and the mouths) of many, making it almost impossible to snag a table without waiting in line. But the taste of the fish, fresh and cut to perfection, is worth the wait.
If your sushi is not complete without sake, go to Yaki Ten, a restaurant just south of Lumpini Park with a late night Friday and Saturday sake bar. Yaki Ten specialises in yakitori, the Japanese equivalent of beer food, and their maki and nigiri are placed on the menu like an afterthought. But their focus on yakitori, paired with the unmemorable facade, belies the quality of the sushi – try the spicy yellow-tailed tuna roll and you will be an immediate convert.
In the Mood for Love Sushi Bar & Bistro
9/9 Sukhumvit Soi 36
T: (02) 661 5076
Open Tues-Sunday 17:00-00:30; Sat-Sun 11:00-14:00
BTS: Thong Lor
Honmono (main location)
19 Thong Lor Soi 23
T: (02) 185 1447
Open Mon-Fri 17:00-24:00, Sat-Sun 11:30-14:00
BTS: Thong Lor or Phrom Pong
Siam Sawana Hotel, 359/1 Phaya Nak Rd, Bangkok
T: (02) 215 9289
95/3 Langsuan Soi 6, Lumpini, Bangkok
T: (02) 652 2527
Open Mon-Thurs 11:00-14:30, 17:30-22.30; Fri-Sat 11:00-14:30, 17:30-00:30
MRT: Silom or Lumpini
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