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Kanok Karn
12th November 2010, 09:16
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Zeist wants to be two things at once. One is the friendly neighborhood bistro that serves discerning regulars well-executed French fare with few pretensions and little hoo-ha. The other is the fancy corner brasserie presenting fancy dishes to a fancy clientele. As a result, Zeist is pulled in two directions: the unassuming earth-toned décor and dog-eared menus point one way; some of the fancy dishes (with accompanying fancy prices) point another—the nod to ubiquitous offerings like Caesar salad and hot foe grass with fruit-based reduction and unnecessarily exotic flourishes like roast pigeon are cases in point. If this sounds like equally unnecessary whining about a very good restaurant, it very well may be. But one wishes Zeist would settle into what it does best: salt-of-the-earth, muscular renditions of unpretentious food that rivals some of the best (and fanciest) establishments in the city. Not one to do things by halves, Chef Art Supapipat turns out food with an almost macho regard for size and flavor—no delicate Alain Decision frills here. That means that dishes that can withstand the hammering shine brightest. Soups are good enough to bring tears to the eyes (but if we had to choose just one, maybe it would be the roasted garlic cream). Meats are among the best in Bangkok: beautifully velvet slow-cooked beef tongue, hefty, succulent organic pork tenderloin, dependably good braised beef cheek, well turned-out charcoal-grilled lamb chops. But the star is on the specials menu, a fatty slice of beef belly called, somewhat unappetizingly, a “short plate” and braised in a rich, unctuous sauce. Even the bread is a hearty wedge of flavor, hot and well-seasoned. If Zeist turned out a judicious choice of salads (the best is smoked duck breast) and any of its soups and meats all day long, this restaurant would easily pass the four-star hurdle, food-wise. But seafood can be capricious, particularly the baked shellfish, and the girly flounces in dishes like smoked salmon stuffed with crabmeat mascarpone, while possibly pleasing to the ladies who lunch, take focus away from the kitchen’s culinary heft by lending some taste with little satisfaction. But Zeist is more about the high notes than the low, and here, the high notes reach very high.

Zeist
Methawattana Bldg., 27 Sukhumvit Soi 19
Nearest train: MRT Sukhumvit
Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm
Tel: 02-651-0372

[GOOGLE MAP]Sukhumvit Soi 19,bangkok,thailand[/GOOGLE MAP]