Upmarket food, relaxed vibe
Bangkok is already brimming with Japanese restaurants and it remains one of the favourite cuisines of young, cosmopolitan Thais but Zuma sets itself apart by combining a fine dining approach with a remarkably comfortable, informal setting. For anyone suffering from uncontrollable sashimi cravings, this place is, quite simply, a must-visit.
The style and presentation of the dishes is unmistakably contemporary – authentic but not traditional – exemplified by a particularly snazzy range of cocktails, including the Rubabu (B295), which blends sake and vodka with fresh passionfruit, and a spectacular lychee rose martini.
But, of course, it’s the food that really matters and, in a format that might take a little getting used to for those accustomed to a starter, then a main, then a dessert, Zuma is a bit more free and easy than that. Dishes come out in no precise order and can be shared or eaten individually.
The technique required to execute the smaller dishes is truly impressive and, because of Zuma’s three open kitchens, customers can watch the chefs at work.
There are several highlights, though, including the sliced yellowtail served with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic (B410) – the effect is stunning, a mouthful of the most delicately textured seafood packed with light but still intense flavour. No less impressive are the plates of nigiri sushi and selected sashimi (B1100) – Japanese food has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how it’s meant to taste when it’s done with absolute precision and attention to detail.
Some diners may be nervous about eating raw beef (B490) but at Zuma, served with citrus dressing, it goes down so well that any apprehension soon evaporates.
Combining teriyaki and fish can backfire – the tangy flavour of the sauce can easily overwhelm the taste of the seafood but Zuma’s salmon and teriyaki with sliced cucumber (B480) is perfectly executed, the sauce flavours understated enough to let the salmon retain centre stage.
Make sure you leave room for dessert as the daikoku platter (B2300 for small one) is a work of art, a mix of exotic ice creams and fresh fruit, served in an entirely edible basket.
Ground Fl, 159 Ratchadamri Road | 02-252-4707 zumarestaurant.com | 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11p