A labyrinth of modern infused Thai recipes
Intent on making a bolder statement, Rock Restaurant & Bar has moved from its original hard-to-reach location in an inconspicuous alley in Ari, to its new and more upscale address on Soi Ruamrudee, near Ploen Chit BTS.
Asymmetrical metallic webs climbing the restaurant’s exterior glass walls announce your arrival. Inside, a forest of massive trees climb the walls and columns, while Balian hand-spun chandeliers hang from the ceiling like stalagmites, and amorphous limestone tables dot the floor.
“The inspiration was a mix of future meets nature; to make people comfortable in a modern but earthy environment,” says designer Richard Emden, who created the original Rock back in 2014 with his wife Lucy. The restaurant’s name and décor—and portions of the menu—are heavily influenced by Shilin, Yunnan province’s beautiful “stone forest” (Lucy’s hometown is Kunming, China).
While the dining room is softly lit, the bar to one side shines a radiating halo for the formidable shelves of alcohol, to be mixed into such wittily titled concoctions as Kunming Tourist Trap (B300) and My Bitter Chinese Ex-Mother in Law (B300). A bespoke electro-house playlist—created by DJ Scott Hess—forms the sonic backdrop, while a warm greeting from host and co-owner Fiona Sayer creates an all-enveloping welcome.
Head chef Thanyathorn ‘Pla’ Kojaranonta (previously at David Thompson’s Nahm), oversees the kitchen and menu, which offers a blend of traditional Thai recipes enhanced with Western aspects. A wide range of canapés offer small bites of classic recipes, such as savoury Chinese-inspired Syrupy Pork Buns (B170-370), and perfectly grilled Chicken Satay (B120-280), as well as more innovative dishes such as Fresh Pomelo Slaw (B90-240), which is attractively served on lotus flower petals. The Oyster Shot! (B170-370) gave us the spicy wake-up we didn’t know we needed, but no worries… the waitresses are trained to bring a glass of chilled butterfly-pea tea if they notice a customer in hot distress.
From the appetizer menu, Crispy Oysters (B260) offer a friendly harmony of two classic Thai ingredients: fried oysters and minced pork salad. However, the real treats come in the main courses. Creamy yellow Crab Curry with Rice Noodle (B330) makes a comforting backdrop to an immensely unique signature dish, while Coconut Poached Prawn Kanom Jin (B330) masterfully targets four different flavour profiles. Pleasantly bitter fried ginger, succulent pineapple and prawns, spicy chopped peppers, and tangy fruit juice all meld together with silky and light coconut milk. Kept at room temperature to brighten the tastes, this dish is quite unlike anything we’ve ever tried before.
If you haven’t loosened your belt yet, don’t hesitate to order one of four available sweet indulgences. We enjoyed Toddy Palm Butter Cake (B230), a moist, warm khanom tan made tropical with dollops of chilled shredded coconut and passion fruit pulp.
By Laurie Cohen
Rock Restaurant & Bar
48/8-9 Soi Ruamrudee
Open: Mon-Sat, 5:30pm-midnight
Tel: 082 688 8200