Don’t be fooled by the name. Hot Rod has nothing to do with race cars, drive-ins, or Americana, edible or otherwise. An exciting new concept that prides itself on putting out “Thai tapas,” also known as some lusciously local bar food, Hot Rod packs a combustive amount of cool—via its drinks and design—into a tiny, glassed-in corner of Ekkamai’s Park Lane mall.
The latest creation of eclectic Aussie designer and entrepreneur Ashley Sutton, located just a few steps from his quirky Iron Balls gin distillery-cum-watering hole, patrons sit on stools around a u-shaped bar topped with shiny copper plating and stamped with the popular motifs of Thai tattoos—silhouetted geckos, stupa spires, and other Buddhist imagery meant to insure good fortune. At once cutting-edge metallic, both Gothic and Buddhist, it’s one of the most unique, if most miniature, spaces in town.
Thirsty patrons’ good fortune begins with signature drinks (B220 each) like “You Don’t Know Jack”—yes, containing a few subtle slices of jackfruit—as well as “Drunken Cha Yen,” a potent play on spiced Thai iced tea, and, of course, a “Bloody Hot Rod.” Do you really want to imbibe such a scary concoction? Where else could lips touch a cocktail buttressed with Sriracha sauce and tamarind candy? Or take a chance on being socked with a “Muay Thai Roundhouse” that features Johnnie Walker plus crushed ginger and lychee liqueur.
Yet the drinks pale before the bar’s edible offerings, which are borne on square black platters after being whisked up in patrons’ full view from behind the bar. The plates may seem small, but the flavour is big when it comes to their supremely tender pork ribs (B170), a fish filet in tamarind (B150), and a bowl of baby clams in a perfect basil-coconut broth (B150). Mounds of banana blossoms are topped with quail eggs (B150), and the Salmon Aob Nampla (B150) is one succulent hunk of fish turned just the right amount of Thai. Or pork out, but not too heavily, on pork with chilli jam and prawn relish with silken tofu (B170). Various noodles come in nibbles as well, the heat of Hot Rod’s bird’s eye chillies lingering long after.
There’s already a second Hot Rod in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with more planned—possibly to bring truly Thai tapas to the U.S. Open daily from 4pm until midnight, and moderately priced for its trendy locale, Hot Rod is just the place for launching an evening’s beverage adventures, perhaps a light meal, the perfect pre-or-post dinner pit stop.
GF, Park Lane, Sukhumvit 63 | 0 2714 2575 | hotrodtapas.com | daily 4pm-midnight
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