THE latest stage in Zen World’s amazing collection of dining venues, which began earlier this year with the opening of Zense on its 17th floor and culminates next month with the opening of a rooftop bar called Heaven, is the launch of Shintori.
Noted for its hip décor and vibe just as much as for its food, Shintori is a gem of a restaurant from China, where its Shanghai flagship is set within an old Chinese theatre, complete with an open kitchen on what was once the main stage, and is regarded as one of the city’s most striking restaurants.
So when news filtered down that Zen World would be opening a Shintori (motto: ‘Japanese Art Cuisine’) right here in Bangkok, local foodies rightly rejoiced. But there was some trepidation: perched atop a shopping mall, would the Bangkok iteration really be able to match the high standards set by its mother restaurant in Shanghai?
The answer, we’re happy to report, is a resounding yes.
In a bid to capitalize on Bangkok’s fast evolving and maturing dining scene, Zen World recently established a whole new division called Dining Zensations, and it’s this gourmet-focused department that has been involved in piecing together a restaurant that not only captures the magic of the Shanghai Shintori, but which also builds on it.
Ride the elevator to Zen World’s 18th floor and you’re met by a minimalist foyer decorated in true Feng Shui fashion with a large, circular marble sculpture. This centerpiece, too big to fit in the building’s lift, had to be carried up the stairs to its current position by a team of hardy builders. If that sounds like it must have taken a lot of effort, wait till you see inside.
Beyond a huge, sliding wooden door awaits a spacious dining room that is so achingly hip, it’s hard not to be wowed by it. Designed by Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag, Shintori revels in its own minimalist splendor – a black and grey colour scheme, polished concrete walls, a sweeping glass wall offering a panoramic view of downtown Bangkok, and a large open kitchen (run by a team of 24 chefs, no less, two of whom have come straight from Shintori Shanghai).
Carefully angled spotlighting beams down onto the dark-wooden tables ensuring that each dish you order is illuminated like a celebrity on stage. And the food, some of the finest contemporary Japanese cuisine you’ll find in Bangkok, certainly deserves this star treatment.
With a focus on fresh ingredients, the menu is simple and offers a decent selection of sushi and sashimi plus creative à la carte dishes presented with a touch of European flair. So while you can enjoy a premium Sashimi platter, featuring 15 varieties of fish for B1,100+, and a Tempura set featuring five fish and six types of veggies for B680+, you can also opt to enjoy unique creations such as Shintori’s signature Foie gras on radish (B950+), and Beef steak on Pu-leaf (Australian beef) at B750+. Sushi rolls start at a reasonable B250+.
Rounding out the menu are a range of innovative desserts such as Tofu cheese cake (B280+), and you’ll also find a long list of inventive sake cocktails to slurp, like the refreshing Gojira – made with sake, midori, syrup, lime juice, lychee juice, and mint leaves. Sake on its own starts from B185+, wine at B250+, and beers at B150+.
On our visit to the restaurant our seating options were limited to the main dining room. Later this month, however, the restaurant will open four private dining villas, three of which will hug the side of the building and promise amazing views. We can’t wait to check them out.
Zen World, level 18 (CentralWorld. Between Chidlom and Siam BTS stations. Accessed by Skywalk). Open daily 5.30pm till late. Ample parking available
Tel: 02 100 9000 www.shintoribangkok.com