“You can bring the bar to the dining table, but you can’t bring the dining table to the bar,” says Nikolas Ramirez, the Hawaiian native and chef de cuisine of 22 Kitchen & Bar. The adage shines light on his culinary philosophy. With full creative discretion, the affable young Edison of a chef has crafted dish after dish influenced by Pacific Rim cultures, serving them in portions made to share, a style that gives guests the freedom to have fun with his food. That’s not to say that he or the Dusit Thani’s sky-high restaurant lack finesse. On the contrary, this is informal fine dining at its best.
The menu is peppered with plates that reflect Ramirez’s multinational roots and experimentalism. Each dish encompasses the cuisines of faraway places, from Peru to Japan to the islands in the big blue. Bao bun tacos, brimming with pork belly confit, cilantro, and sliced avocado (B280), blend foreign comfort foods. With a squeeze of lime, they taste like the kind of Yelp-worthy carnitas one might find in a SoCal taquería, but with a twist in the form of a soft Taiwanese wrap.
The tacos make a natural table partner to ramen burgers (B300), which are, essentially, sliders dolled up with Wagyu and tonkatsu sauce aioli. Simple in concept, but difficult to pull off properly. Ramirez first sends the meat through a grinder, wrapping up the tube of Wagyu that comes out the other end like a yule log. Then, he slices the tube to form the burgers, working the meat as little as possible. He makes the ramen from scratch, too. With the help of a ramekin, he shapes the noodle buns before flash-frying them; this produces a hashbrown-like flavour and crunch that round out the sliders.
Heartier fare follows similar patterns. Sea bass ceviche (B540) wakes up the palate with shot after shot of citrus in the leche de tigre — an honest rendition of the South American specialty. Scallops grilled on a cast iron pan pair with charcoal-roasted eggplant and quinoa (B840), the arrangement united by a peculiar scallop caramel whose flavour is reminiscent of brown butter and texture is similar to mashed potatoes. Whether slow-roasted chicken or lamb shank, the mains are fresh in taste, balanced in texture, and presented with the fastidious touch of a modern artist.
Fried apple pie with buttermilk ice cream and miso butterscotch. Watermelon carpaccio that tastes like beef. Handmade sweet rolls dangerously close to the King’s Hawaiian recipe. Even desserts and starters suggest a future of brilliant creations.
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22 Kitchen & Bar
Dusit Thani Bangkok , 946 Rama IV Rd | 0 2200 9000 ext 2345
dusit.com | Mon-Sun, 6pm-10pm