Thailand is of course famous for its fabulous local cuisine, from street food you can live off for only a few baht, to exquisite fine dining in hi-so Thai restaurants. However, Bangkok is home to not only some of the most amazing Thai food, it can also boast of having a reputation for serving some of the finest international cuisine as well.
For example, take a walk along Sukhumvit Soi 20 and you will be spoiled for choice if you fancy a night of your usual khao men gai or som tam. A quick survey of the soi shows you can choose from German, Swiss, Italian or Japanese food.
About a five minute walk into the soi, and set back from the main road is the attractive and authentic looking Koi Bangkok. The soft lighting and candles complement the red and black décor, following the rigour of Feng Shui, and creates a welcoming and cosy ambience. The dark wooden furniture is beautifully handmade. Thanks to the name of the restaurant the outdoor pond complete with gleaming white and orange koi was only to be expected, but nevertheless nice to see.
The concept originated in Los Angeles, and after becoming a hit with the Hollywood elite, now forms part of a famous worldwide chain (although I hesitate to use that word for the luxurious Koi Bangkok, deserves none of the undertones that derive from the term chain restaurant), Koi Bangkok offers contemporary Japanese cuisine, with a Californian twist.
Mouth Watering Menu
Glancing through the menu, I wondered if I could get away with ordering one of everything as it all sounded so fresh and delicious, but I opted for a selection of sushi by way of an appetizer. I played it safe and so I stayed away from the fresh water eel (180B) and smelt egg (160B) and opted for tuna (220B) and salmon (180B) – the tuna in particular was amazing and just melted in the mouth.
Despite being intrigued by the signature rolls including the lobster dynamite roll (800 baht), the tiger prawn and mango roll ((480 baht), or the koi dragon roll (580 baht), soft shell crab is my kryptonite and thus once I caught sight of the fire cracker soft shell crab with chive risotto and red pepper puree (550 B), I was sold. The crab was just as it should be – lightly battered and delicate. The risotto was creamy, and the puree gave a nice kick to the dish.
Although I was now comfortably full, I couldn’t resist the sound of the mango and passion fruit lasagne, which was a pallet cleansing way to finish my meal.
Sushi, sashimi set combos are also available for 1200 and 2000 baht respectively.
I highly recommend any one of their signature cocktails (I tried a few just to be sure!). The peach cosmo (270B) is a nice twist on a classic favourite, as is the cherry blossom margarita (270B) but if you are not a mix your drinks kind of person, then my absolute recommendation is the watermelontini (270B) – water melon juice is of course synonymous with Thailand, and the generous helpings of vodka and water melon liquor, ensure this refreshing drinks pack a punch! Traditional cocktails, local and international beers, wine and spirits are also available.
The Perfect Venue
The staffs are charming and friendly, strike the right balance between being attentive to offering you peace to relax in their surroundings. Admittedly this isn’t the cheapest of places to eat around Bangkok, but it is the perfect venue to enjoy an evening with a loved one or as a well-deserved treat.
Although holding itself out as a Japanese/Californian fusion restaurant, I like the nod Bangkok Koi gives to its location with the inclusion of local fruits such as mango and passion fruit or Asian connotations like dragon or sea weaved through their menu both with ingredients and names of dishes.
Koi Bangkok offers two private dining rooms and is open seven days a week from six pm onwards. Happy hour is held between 6-8pm with a 20% discount offered on the cocktail and sushi menu. Check on the restaurant’s website for more details as they often showcase live DJs Tuesday-Saturday.
By Anna Power