In three words: Stunning, Sensational, Unforgettable
The Lowdown: Bangkok is a city of chaos, vibrancy and mayhem, all tumbled together in a mixture of sights, sounds and smells that can sometimes be overwhelming. But there is a way to appreciate this intoxicating place in a more sedate and relaxing fashion – and that is from above.
For a real chance to dine in style, one can do no better than taking the elevator to the top of Banyan Tree hotel. Vertigo restaurant offers a chance to dine underneath the stars, in modern and chic surroundings, while Bangkok sparkles below. The service is supreme, the menu offers the freshest of dishes, and the cocktails will wow you. Plus that view – a slice of Thailand you will never forget.
Location: This al fresco delight rests on the 61st floor of the rather gorgeous Banyan Tree hotel in Sathon, the swanky district of Bangkok. Ride up the elevator, step into a foyer, and climb the last few steps until you emerge into the warm night air. The city is spread below you like a glittering quilt.
The Occasion: Come for an opportunity to experience the finer side of life in Bangkok. Many people might write this city off as manic and crazy, but Vertigo shows that there is a luxurious and sumptuous side too. If romance is your thing then you will not be disappointed, while people who like to really make the most of their holidays will forever remember this trip.
Decor: There are pristine pressed linen tablecloths as white as snowdrops, wooden decking, careful uplighting that makes the place glow with warmth… but the real showstopper is that view, with lights shining until the horizon, as resplendent as the first Christmas Tree you decorated as a child.
Atmosphere: Refined elegance is the order of the day, and there is of course a dress code (so leave the denim shorts for another time!) But that’s not to say the place is at all stuffy. Maybe it’s the warm, perfumed air (so much cleaner up here!), or the feeling of freedom one gets from dining beneath the cosmos, but we found ourselves leaning back, exhaling, and slipping into relaxation.
Culinary Concept: The freshest of produce, from seafood to steak, taking in a number of different cuisines. For a real treat try the Tasting Menu, paired with matching wine.
What we tried: For starters, we went raw, with civiche and carpaccio. The spicy Thai Tuna civiche was a martini glass choc-full of tender, pearlescent pink fish and velvety avocado, all served in a tangy asian sauce, while the Angus beef carpaccio was a treat of whisper-light red discs, decorated by generous helpings of marbled truffle and salty parmesan. Both fish and meat fairly melted in our mouths. Next we had soup – a lobster bisque with truffle scented lobster and caviar (completely indulgent, utterly delicious), and a butternut pumpkin variety with a cheeky tortellini hidden below the silky orange soup. Both were creamy and unctuous, utterly indulgent, and beautifully presented. These two courses could not have been better matched than with a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that gave the flavours a refreshing zing.
Our main courses were equally impressive. Lovers of steak will feel their hearts lift at the flame-grilled Wagyu – a giant slab of delectable meat, cooked medium rare and glistening inside the charred surface. It was served with mashed potato and asparagus, and a wild mushroom jus that soaked up every morsel. The texture and taste of the Wagyu was incredible, and the accompanying Australian Shiraz brought out the flavours even more.
Our salmon was pristinely pink, arrived atop a moroccan salsa, and was given a pep with chorizo. The freshness was obvious, and showed that the chef is as competent with fish as with steak. Served with a delicate and balanced Chilean chardonnay, this was a meal to savour.
Now normally we’d be too full for desserts, but a) the quality had been so good we needed to try them, b) we were having such a good time we didn’t want the night to end, and c) it was a set menu, and so we kind of had to. Midnight saw us tucking into the burst of the tropics that was a mango cheesecake, accompanied by the most divinely indulgent toffee fig pavlova I’ve had in some time. A successful meal? I think so.
For next time: Other items on the menu that tempted us included the flame grilled lamb rack, as well as the Thyme spiced wild berry tart. True romantics can opt for the 7 course Romance Set Menu, that includes oysters, steak, chocolate, and a whole heap of culinary magic.
Veggie delights: A vegetarian could happily munch through four courses, with options like the mozzarella and heirloom tomato salad, butternut squash soup, mushroom and spinach cannelloni with basil salsa, and of course those sweets.
Best of the booze: Apart from the perfect wine pairing that was going on, we recommend taking a peak at the cocktail list. For a pre-dinner tipple, try the exotic Saffron Sunrise of Vodka, Malibu, Lime Juice, Ginger, Red Chili and Kaffir Lime, while a true after-dinner treat comes in the form of The Catalyst – Sangsom, Espresso, Bénédictine, Cinnamon and Condensed Milk. Delicious doesn’t even cover it.
Overall: There will be people that tell you Bangkok isn’t a great part of Thailand – that you should head North, or to the islands. Well, hold on a moment before you leave the city. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Spend a day exploring the raucous streets, and then completely indulge yourself in the evening by taking a birds eye view.
Vertigo and Moon Bar at Banyan Tree will completely blow you away. The service is supreme, the food is of the highest quality, and the experience of dining there, surrounded by the twinkling lights and so close to the magic of the city, will leave a lasting impression. We were completely wowed, and assure that you will be too. A first stop in Bangkok? You bet.