Asked what attracted him to open Escapade Burgers in the area, Chef Van says: ‘Because of the river and the Fort, there’s a real sense of history here…it’s something different.’ He goes on to say that one female customer in particular made a point of returning to Escapade to specifically thank him because her experience in their restaurant had changed her holiday significantly. “Bangkok is not just about Sukhumvit Road,” she said.
Chef Van and Escapade Burgers’ co-owner Karn met at hotel management school. They decided to open their restaurant upon returning from a post-graduation trip to Canada, when they realised that nowhere could satisfy their desire for a great burger. Van and Karn describe their burgers as having a “street-side look with gourmet details.” No forks allowed, they want you to have the “emotional feeling of street food in your hands.” Take one look at the long queue snaking out of their door every night of the week and it’s clear they are killing it in terms of atmosphere, quality gourmet burgers (start at B230), shakes (B80) and cocktails (B350).
Pie and Mint from the café Bean & Us have a family background in Organic Soy milk products. Inspired by a recent trip to Singapore, they “wanted to start another trend for health conscious people,” and with true entrepreneurial spirit and youthful creativity they have established a quality café with excellent Soy products and heavenly desserts.
Bean & Us is the most decadent way to be healthy as their waffles are sublime – crispy golden on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Stand out beverages like the Thai Milk Tea is as smooth and delicate as Thai silk.
Phra Athit Road
TAKE the pulse of Bangkok and the beats will lead you straight to the boutique bohemian entertainment spaces of Phra Athit Road. The restaurants and bars that line the road are easily identified by the large wooden shutters and century old shop fronts. Size doesn’t matter as each business has a style all its own and man do they pack a punch!
Phra Athit Road is a thriving music, bar and restaurant scene. Nestled between Khao San Road and the Chao Phraya River it’s a hidden Bangkok gem. Walk north of the Sumen Fort and you’ll discover live music and international cuisines served in venues with truly unique and authentic atmospheres.
To the left of Santichaiprakarn Park you find Sheepshank’s homage to the industrial shipping era. Nestled on the banks of the river, it’s a renovated mid-century boat repair yard with high ceilings and unique lighting created from and old winch and pulley block. In short, a restaurant you will want to share with your friends or that special someone again and again.
Executive Chef ‘Joke’ and his Bangkok born and raised business partners have strong roots in the area. Joke met his wife across the street and was creating his vision for the design of the restaurant long before the premises was available for development.
“Ideally we want people to appreciate the working feel and austerity of the shipyard, balanced with the warmth and cosiness of the food,” he says.
The menu boasts an entourage of mouthwatering delights such as grilled paneer and vegetables, smoked trout, crab, duck, octopus, seafood paella and pastas. The Sizzling razor clams with Pancetta (B290) are juicy and the accompanying sauce balances homely Italian flavours with some Thai heat. The Oxtail tortellini (B390), meanwhile, is a large dumpling style handmade pasta filled with slow cooked beef goodness – and each portion is just like a hug from your nanna. The experimental fusion mixes gourmet elegance with satisfying comfort food.
A Harley Davidson and a drum kit take centre stage at Comme Bar, a music venue with a vintage feel and a relaxed atmosphere. The bar tables spill onto the street giving a sense of openness allowing the atmosphere of the street in and the music to float out. The menu is fresh authentic Thai, the service is swift, and the drinks flow fast.
If you are looking for a date night with a Bohemian vibe, or a great dinner with family and friends, head to Good Story. Vintage velvet couches and chill out spaces give Good Story a cosy atmosphere. Cocktails range from B160-B180, the lesser known cocktails can be heavy on the syrup so stick to the classics and you can’t go wrong (and they make a fantastic Mojito).
The menu is traditional Thai, and while a couple of dishes are a little oily, standouts like the Soft shell pepper crab (which has a delicate pepper tempura batter) and the Deep fried sea bass (moist fleshy chunks with crispy skin layered with red curry spices) do not disappoint.
Generous spare ribs (B590) with thick cut chips are served in a woolly mammoth portion and the meat just falls off the bone. The smoked salmon (B280) is consistent and fresh with beautiful light citrus dressing. Also don’t miss the Crab cakes (B290), three large portions, crunchy and crispy on the outside and loaded with fresh crab and mayo on the inside.
Ricky’s Restaurant, whose atmosphere is warm and welcoming, presents a visual quandary with its Chinese décor and Mexican menu. The owner, Mrs Raynu, explains: “my brother-in-law designed, he like Chinese.” Fair enough.
Open from 8am-10pm, Ricky’s has a menu for anytime of the day or night, including a comprehensive all-day breakfast menu – think homemade baguettes, English muffins, bagels, pancakes, beans on toast and over a dozen different styles of omelettes (spinach and feta, ham and cheese, potato and blue cheese). Great after a big night out. The lunch menu, meanwhile, offers Baked potatoes, Homemade tortilla wraps, and traditional pasta dishes.
“I love to cook, it makes me happy,” says Mrs Raynu. “It’s good to talk to customers from different countries, but I have never been out of Thailand.” What Mrs Raynu’s Mexican cuisine lacks in authenticity it certainly makes up for in taste. Her handmade tortilla burrito has a good kick of chilli as does the homemade tomato salsa. Fortunately you can wash down the heat with Margaritas (B170) Beer (B90) and wine (B80), all at reasonable prices.
GOOD: Vibrant atmosphere. Good choice of bars and restaurants all within walking distance of each other.
BAD: No BTS or MRT links (we suggest taking a taxi from National Stadium BTS station)