Tasty Thai with a rooftop view
In Thailand, street food is the most immediate way to get intimate with Thai cuisine, but there are times when breathing in exhaust fumes, and dealing with uneven fold up tables and mismatched plastic stools, just isn’t the atmosphere you have in mind. What if you’re really after a rooftop breeze, subdued lighting, and a majestic view of downtown Bangkok. For moments such as these Chili Hip, located on the 20th floor of the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, offers a relaxed atmosphere, tasty food, and friendly service.
I’ve been to this restaurant several times over the years and I’m always taken with the views. From any one of the 64 seats diners can gaze up at the massive 85-storey Baiyoke Tower II, the rainbow-coloured flashing lights of the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, or the crimson arcs of the nearby Red Sky rooftop bar. It’s a very urban panorama but without any sense of vertigo.
After perusing the compact menu, we start with the Spicy salmon tartare with fried sticky rice (B260). Here the wonderful raw minced salmon, combined with chilli, mint, and coriander, is meant to be spread atop the accompanying (and totally addictive) fried sticky rice cakes. We follow that delicious dish with some traditional Tom yam goong ma prao-on (B320). This classic Thai lemongrass and coconut soup is fleshed out with some meaty river prawns and, as the symbols on the menu point out, it’s not only a signature dish but it’s also gluten free. It’s also MSG free—as are all the menu items—which might explain why my tongue isn’t as numb as it often is after streetside tom yam.
For mains we take turns delving into the sizzling Yam nue sannai yang (B410), a mix of expertly seared beef tenderloin slices, celery, onion, peppers, coriander and chilli, and the Gaeng massaman ped yang (B290), a traditional sweet Massaman curry, here made with a generous portion of roasted duck, and further flavoured with peanut and pineapple. If forced to pick a favourite I think I’d cozy up to the duck curry, especially when paired with a rice dish such as the Khao phad supparos (B260), a combination of fried rice, shrimps, pineapple, and cashew nuts.
For dessert we keep the Thai theme going, despite the fact that the restaurant’s exceptional Matcha tiramisu (B180) is calling my name. However I resist, and instead we opt for the Young coconut Thai tea cake (B220), followed by a slice of the Lychee white chocolate mousse cake (B220). Both are light, flavourful, and not cloyingly sweet in any way.
For drinks we both select a Tanqueray Blush (B299), one of the bar’s current promotional cocktails. It’s such a light and refreshing blend of gin, tonic, and cranberry juice, that I ordered a second without any hesitation. by Bruce Scott
Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, 20th Floor, 567 Rachaprarop Rd
Tel: 02 625 1234
Open daily: 5pm-11pm