New York sensibilities, French sophistication
The Chong Nonsi quarter of the city continues to expand with the recent opening of steak and seafood restaurant The Capital by Water Library. Despite its office block location, The Capital exudes a pleasing boulevard café ambiance with outside tables and a bright and airy anteroom illuminated by large windows. Further in is the more testosteronefriendly ambiance you might normally associate with a steakhouse, with decor modelled on a 1930s bank. It has brass safety deposit boxes on the wall and a heavy bank vault door leading to a private room. The central bar is flanked by throwback wooden cabinets holding bottles of tequila, cognac and single malts, and there’s a mix of tables and booth seating, grey pin-stripe sofas and what must be the heaviest dining chairs in town.
Cocktails run from B280-B650. Try the excellent martini, made with a hit of alcohol you can smell from across the table, as you browse the menu. This is divided into salads and soups, pastas, fish and seafood, burgers and sandwiches, plus a wide pick of meat cuts.
The prawn cocktail starter (B380) comes as three large whole prawns wand a side dip of mayonnaise with burnt pepper and spices that leaves a lingering smokiness in the back of the nose. The meaty fresh Pacific Bay oysters (B110 each) are a knockout served with a yuzu koshu and chilli sauce just powerful enough to sting the lips.
Meats come with a set of three salt pots – Malden sea salt, Himalayan with merlot, and Habanero with cigar smoke. Unfortunately, the Wagyu rib eye (B2000) was so over seasoned it was impossible to try any of them. Otherwise, though, it was a tasty piece of meat, the accompanying red wine jus (B150) was deep and flavourful, and the sides of mushrooms and potato Dauphinoise (B150 each) both well cooked. The steaks have an attractive entry point of B750 for grass fed German tenderloin.
The broad wine list (from B1200) has a decent spread of grapes and regions, but only one sparkler and two each of white and red by the glass (B260-B320). That said, there will be a larger selection soon, plus a good quality wine of the month at cost price.
Desserts include an excellent lemon Calamansi tart (B270), served with a satisfying crispy meringue that was light it could have been candy floss, and a very short short crust pastry that melted to nothing on the bite.
The Capital has a welcoming relaxed feel unlike many of the stiffer steakhouses, and a price structure that allows a place at the table for those not on expense accounts.
The Capital by Water Library
Level 3, Empire Tower, South Sathorn Rd | 0 2286 9548 | waterlibrary.com | 1.30am-midnight (kitchen closes at 11pm)