The Coconut Terrace is a sort of floating restaurant on dry land. Placed poolside at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, between its Thai Pavilion and main, Western-oriented buffets at the Sunset Terrace, this small hotel outlet that seems nearly an afterthought takes an equally compact menu—five starters, a few soups, a few fish, and meat mains—and makes big flavours and fun from its mission to straddle guests’ tastes and the East-West divide.
Who would think that a setting usually reserved solely for drinks with umbrellas in them could bring out half a Canadian lobster smothered from top to bottom in a Thai salad of herbs, chilli paste, and fried shallots (B480)? “Our vision is to look outwards,” says Assistant Executive Chef Boonsom, explaining that hotel restaurants should be as good at stand-alones as choosing the best world ingredients and combining them in new ways. Adds the Chef, “Fusion, modern-style, we can go any direction.”
One of the best combinations at the Terrace is their pan-seared foie gras combined with the classic Thai pomelo salad, made crispy with plenty of roasted coconut, sweetened with a tamarind-based sauce that perfectly cuts the intense liver flavour (B450). And never mind the word Coconut in its name: the place uses a plenitude of Thai seafood to do up more than reasonable facsimiles of a tomato-based bouillabaisse and prawn-chocked paella (B480).
BBQ ribs are thrown in for fun, but the chefs and waitresses all push the signature Thai Massaman Lamb Shank Served with Garlic Fried Rice (B520)—especially garlicky, in a manner more Brazilian than Bangkokian. How many hours does it take, exactly, to melt down and meld the world’s cultural differences? No one has found the recipe for that, but in the meantime, we’ll have to take the poor animal flesh cooked to fall off the bone and honoured with a complex, brown-grey mélange of Southern Thai spices, onions, and potatoes.
Swirling mini-towers of lemon meringue provide relief and a nice final taste (B160). There’s also a range of other desserts, from fresh fruits to European cheeses. It’s hard to find cause for complaint after downing lobster served either in a bath of Thai heat or poached simply with truffle paste and vanilla oil.
For a hotel, prices are surprisingly reasonable. The Coconut Terrace menu is also available to those dining beside the river, where it might be wise to just digest and watch the sunset. Who could possibly go for a swim after this?
Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside, Charoenkrung Rd | 0 2688 1000 | ramadaplazamenamriverside.com | daily 11am-11pm
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