It’s hard to know quite what to expect from this newish arrival to the backstreets of Thong Lor, with a menu that shoots off in a few different directions and a setting that has spliced together a whirlwind of cabaret trimmings. This lack of a clearly identifiable theme may throw some diners but the food – broadly defined as trendy New York fare, channelling the foodie diversity of that city – does not disappoint in the slightest. If the concept is slightly confusing, the flavour, technique and presentation of the food is an emphatic winner.
If you start with the crispy crab cakes with mango salad (B420) the Big Apple vibe rings clear enough but the scallop carpaccio (main image, B340), served with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce, sets the mind spinning all over. Scallops in chocolate sauce? Crazier still is that it really works.
Among the mains, the pan-fried blackened seabass served with dirty rice (B480) takes diners from the east coast on a trip to the Cajun south, helped on the way by the spicy shrimp gumbo (B380). It’s at this point that you really just have to stop worrying about categorising this experience and instead sit back and enjoy, not least because the gumbo is spectacular. It’s got all those amazing elements of a big Louisiana cook-up, the fire in the first mouthful all the way through to the peppery, smokey aftertaste. In a menu that’s heavy on experimentation, the gumbo is brilliantly authentic and is worth the visit on its own.
But we’re back on to a bold new path with the duck lasagna, homemade and stuffed with mushroom and mozzarella (B380), taking another staple of the New York melting pot and giving it a wild, completely successful shake.
The desserts are more straightforward but still worth staying for, the strawberry cheesecake (B200) delectably creamy and the mango crepe (B240) shot through with that refreshing tang.
If there is a criticism of Moulin, it’s that not much thought has gone into the cocktails, which are unbalanced and too reliant on sweet, brightly coloured liqueurs. There’s room for improvement there – the food is so inventively successful that it would be wonderful to see the same studied flair and confident presentation applied to the booze.
No.88 Thong Lor Soi 5 | 02-712-9348 | moulinsquare.com | 5.30pm-11pm, Fri-Sun also 5.30-11pm
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