New chef, new menu, new (26th floor) outlook
Confession: I don’t like seafood. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to get past the smell, texture, and general look of these weird aquatic creatures. From the seaside town I grew up in, to right here in Thailand, to admit such a thing is tantamount to blasphemy. But that may be about to change, and it’s all thanks to Char.
The restaurant, spread out over the 25th and 26th floors of the Hotel Indigo, has been an impressive addition to the high-end dining scene over the past year, but the introduction of Chef Nikolas Ramirez a couple of months ago may catapult the venue to the city’s must-try status.
The Hawaiian-born chef joins Char following a decade’s worth of international experience—not to mention a spell working as a professional soccer player in Romania—and his desire is to shake things up. The result? A menu of exciting new additions and fresh takes on customer favourites, each designed with the young, tattooed chef’s “rock and roll” outlook at heart.
Which brings me back to the bewildering business of seafood. My dining experience begins with a Ramirez twist on the Prawn cocktail (B380). Served iced in a large wooden bowl, it’s a sociable starter that sets the tone for an evening of dishes that surprise, and not just in the unique way they are presented, but the fact that I—a seafood naysayer—actually rather enjoyed them. This dish is served with lettuce, avocado, and a spicy salsa to be enjoyed taco-style.
For something a little more carnivorous, opt for the Smoked beef tartar (B280), a melt-in-the-mouth starter served with fruit mustard and crostini, which acts as the perfect segue into the selection of meaty mains. For example, there’s the Mexican-inspired Fiesta burger (B400), combining a juicy, perfectly cooked Australian Wagyu topside patty (that’s been painstakingly prepared) with jalapeño, bacon, guacamole and aged cheddar cheese—all crammed into a light charcoal bun.
But if you take your grilled goods a little more seriously than burgers, there’s good news. The funky eatery offers a couple of showstoppers that can’t be missed, especially if you’re looking to impress a dining partner. They include the spectacular whole Lobster tail with aioli sauce (B2,200) and the mighty Tomahawk Wagyu steak (from B560), both of which are presented beautifully to deliver the wow-factor, and guaranteed to have you reaching for your camera.
If there’s room for dessert, I recommend Ramirez’s Crackerjack sundae (B250), not to mention an inventive cocktail from the rooftop bar and lounge one floor up. The views from the rooftop, or out the windows of the 25th floor restaurant, are magical. As the Wireless Rd city skyline lights up after sunset, it’s a truly special experience… and one that has changed my outlook on seafood dining for good.
By Annaliese Watkins
25-26F, Hotel Indigo, 81 Wireless Rd.
Open: Thu-Sat, 6pm-11:30pm, Sun-Wed, 6pm-10:30pm
Tel: 02 207 4999 | www.charbangkok.com