Come for the vino, stay for the vittles
Delivering on their promise of great wines at exceedingly affordable prices, the bar and restaurant chain Wine Connection currently has 18 outlets in Bangkok, for a total of 29 nationwide. And a recent visit to Wine Connection The Grill, the branch at The Groove @ CentralWorld reveals that their kitchens are doing a stellar job as of late as well.
Located on the ground floor of the Groove complex, the bright and airy front section of this restaurant opens to the mall and shares space with a sizeable wine retail area, while the enclosed back portion is more low-lit. There’s even some outdoor terrace seating available.
Although the wine menu offers some great deals on full bottles, such as French Bordeaux in the 600-700 baht range, we order by the glass. Of the four whites available we sample the nicely tart 2015 Trevento Mixtus (B170), a Chardonnay Chenin blend from Argentina, as well as the 2014 Deep Woods Side by Side (B200), a very pleasant French-oaked Australian Chardonnay.
With such attractive prices on vino this makes for a great spot to heartily imbibe, but to forego sampling the new Specials Menu—available till the end of August—would be a mistake. Start with the Grilled Calamari (B270), a full squid that arrives sizzling on the plate, colourfully accented by a spicy pineapple and red pepper salsa. To keep with the white wine and seafood pairing, move on to the Sea Bass en Papillote (B410). En papillote is a French term meaning “cooked and served in a paper wrapper”, and sure enough this dish arrives in a folded wax-paper housing, which when cut open reveals a steaming succulent fillet, doused in lemon with steamed veggies on the side.
As we switch to reds, we move on to the yummy thin-crust Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza (B250), topped with pineapple, jalapeño peppers, and chicken chunks prepared in classic Jamaican jerk style. To pair we choose the 2015 Umani Ronchi Podere (B180), a dark Italian Montepulciano with a very strong tannin base, and the mellower 2014 Chateau Haut Canteloup (B220), a Côtes de Blaye French that blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Of the seven reds on offer these both prove to be excellent choices.
The next two courses that arrive are both superb, starting with the Duck Fettuccine in Red Wine Sauce (B270), a generous serving of perfectly prepared pasta tossed with tender duck that’s been marinated for five hours. Equally ample is the divinely tender Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin (B390), served with mashed potato and roasted vegetables. Beaming with pride, the young Thai chef responsible for these dishes comes to the table to accept our applause for both his fantastic apple chutney topping on the pork, and all the other special menu items as well.
Finally, for dessert, the velvety smooth Cappuccino Mousse (B140), topped with roasted coffee beans, makes for a heavenly, chocolate-y nightcap.
By Bruce Scott
Wine Connection The Grill
1F, The Groove @ CentralWorld
Open daily: 11am-1am
Tel: 02 613 1037