Neverending Comfort Food
The Summer House Project is just that: a work-in-progress just launched as the Western cuisine companion to Never Ending Summer next door. What the place has going for it is the similarly cool design of architect Duangrit Bunnag—a garage-like space with clinically clean lines and an open kitchen, hung with huge shaded lamps and ferns—plus the meticulous management of Naree Boonyakiat, and last, but certainly uppermost, one of the most spectacular and ample sites on the far side of the city’s ever-charming, ever-renewing riverfront. Just sitting on the comfy Zebra-striped armchairs and couches on the restaurant’s large wooden platform of a patio is worth whatever meals cost. The place begs for outdoor entertainment, and management promises music, dance, jugglers, and anything to enliven the night in the future.
By design, the menu is as coolly minimalist as the rest of the space. Dishes are divided by basic, no-nonsense headings: Ocean Caught, Soup Pot, Side, etc. Borne on large teal-to-celadon plates, most allow the main ingredient to sing loudly with little fuss. Fish is clearly favoured here, and no one will be disappointed by the grilled mackerel with baked tomatoes (B450) or sea bass with a lemony side sauce of capers (B450), the grilled squid, or crab cakes (B350). All reasonably meet world standards. Special care is given to salads and vegies like balsamic roasted beets (only B120). The pasta offerings need amplification—a seafood linguine (B400) meant to satisfy the Thai palate won’t do much to quell Italian cravings—and the meats, while perfectly succulent, are as yet not terribly elaborated. Desserts are outstanding, supplied by a famed local baker, including an especially moist almond-orange cake.
Those who feel confused by this modernist twin, or simply have a hankering for more spice, can order from Never Ending Summer’s homey Thai offerings. In time, Ms Naree assures, this new venue will allow diners to bask in a more definite culinary vision. For now, she terms it Euro-rustic; it will be worth taking frequent trips on the cross-river ferry to check up on the direction they decide to take.
Once the food is up to speed and matches the river views, the Summer House Project may just end up transporting Bangkokians to Southbank on the Thames, a Left Bank bistro, or, most probably, an all-purpose homage to the creatures of the currents. By whatever label, it’s already one of the best spots in Thonburi to properly indulge in the hearty, the soothing, and the non-Asian.
The Summer House Project
41/1-5 Charoen Nakorn Rd | 0 2861 0953, 09 4485 3966 | daily 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm
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