A wide selection of vino offers diners excellent value for money
The bar and restaurant chain Wine Connection makes an effort to charm this city’s diners, combining the ubiquity of Starbucks (there are currently 18 Wine Connection outlets in Bangkok), the familiarity of its meat and cheese platters, and the lure of reasonably priced wine—which is a bit of a rarity in this town. However, at Wine Connection The Grill, located on the 1st floor of The Groove @ CentralWorld, the eatery has attempted to change its spots somewhat, focusing on grilled meat—especially beef.
The front of the restaurant opens to the mall and is brighter, sharing space with the wine retail area, while the back is dimmer, a mix of black mesh screens, open magnum bottles, exposed brick, circular plate lights, and big picture windows. There’s even a gargoyle on a shelf.
The music was an odd jumble, including an unfortunate take on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Fortunately, both the Cold Cut Platter (B380) and the Cheese Platter (B380) never fail to satisfy. Each features 150 grams of goodies, with the former offering a variety of Serrano ham, spicy chorizo, and speck with black pepper, along with sun-dried tomatoes and freshly baked bread. Meanwhile, a strong English mustard adds a sharp, vinegar kick to the ham. The cheese plate, in some ways, is even better, running the spectrum from Manchego, to a truly pungent Pont l’Eveque and Saint Nectaire. What better way to whet the appetite and prompt the lifting of a glass of wine in appreciation.
As befits a restaurant with a name like Wine Connection, there are many, many reds, whites, and others to choose from, available by the glass or by the bottle. We selected the very affordable 2016 Yarran Shiraz (B599 per bottle) from Australia—a full-bodied, acidic red wine with black cherry aroma and a short finish. It had a hint of spice as well, and is excellent value for money at that price. It also paired quite well with the Australian showpiece, a Beef Short Rib (B790) that was sous vide slow-cooked for 72 hours with rosemary butter. This cut of beef was lovely, the fat intermingling beautifully with the meat because it was so tender. Not a hint of chewiness, the steak goes down all the easier with a red wine sauce.
The Tuna Tataki Salad (B260) is apparently a top seller, and while the mesclun leaves with cashews and a spicy toasted rice pomelo dressing were scrumptious, the tuna tasted a bit like it was frozen and quickly defrosted.
The Chocolate Lava Cake (B150) was sweeter and spongier than others I’ve tried, but overall a worthy effort. In addition, the dark, hearty complimentary home-baked bread served alongside the meal was a huge success.
In short, Wine Connection The Grill is a great go-to spot for diners sticking to the steak and other old favourites… and wine!
By Robin Banks
Wine Connection The Grill
1F, The Groove @ CentralWorld
Open daily: 11am-midnight
Tel: 02 613 1037