Tag Archives: Food

Wine Connection Wednesdays – All You Can Drink For 300 Baht

We’d been meaning to give Wine Connection a visit for a while, but between the Bangkok protests and university exams we just hadn’t had the time or ability to get to the area on a Wednesday afternoon. Wine Connection 4We’d heard about this place from students on the international exchange programme at Thammasat Univeristy, there was a bar in Suhkumvit that had all you can drink wine and all you can eat tapas for only 300 Baht! Expect to see lots of expat locals, foreign teachers and international students taking advantage of the cheap food, drinks and networking opportunities.

(Excuse the shaky photos, thats what happens when one is taking pictures at an all you can drink event!) Wine Connection 3

How It Works

Wine Connection offer free flow red and white house wine and tapas (including cheeses, cold cuts, bread and pastas) for 299 Baht + Tax from 5:30 until 8:30pm every Wednesday night.  Wine Connection 6It is strictly limited to 250 spaces, and it sells out every single week.  To guarantee your spot you will need to pop in early to grab your tickets in advance (we got there at around 4pm and it was fine, but by just after 5 they’d all sold out). Wine Connection 5I’m not really an expert on anything wine related, so I have no idea what the wines are like or how they compare to what else is out there, but even to me this seems like a great deal, especially when you consider you are paying at least 100 baht for a glass at most places, it only takes a couple to make it worth while.

Me, I was there for the cheese and cold cuts, which can get pretty expensive (I will happily spend 400 baht on a cheese and meat platter elsewhere, heck I even paid 195 baht upstairs for cheesy fries!).  Where else can you find all you can eat parma ham, salami, cheese, bread, cured meats, fish balls, sun dried tomatoes and more!

If like me, you aren’t too much of a wine drinker and prefer a beer, they still have a reasonable choice of imported beers, mainly from Belgium, I managed to grab myself a Bar Bar Belgian Strong Ale and a Lefebvre Floreffe Blonde for around the 160 Baht mark each.

How to find Wine Connection

Take the BTS and get off at either Thonglor or Phrom Phong stations then walk towards Soi 47 (which is roughly in the middle of the two stations), you’ll it on the lower floor in the Rain Hill Plaza.Wine Connection 2

Wine Connection, Rain Hill Plaza, Soi 47 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok

Bombay Blues – Indian Curries in Backpacker Central

I’ve been a massive fan of British style Indian curries (Butter Chickens, Chicken Korma etc) since visiting the UK in 2011 and generally speaking these aren’t too common in Thailand, with the Indian community eating more traditional food, vegetarian or local variants. Bombay Blues 1That said, you still find reasonably good western style Indian food in most of the touristy type areas in Bangkok.  One of my favourites is Bombay Blues – which has one of the better reputations in Bangkok for takeaway style Indian food that we are used to from home. If you are looking for more authentic Indian food that that hasn’t been “westernised” and aimed at the Thai Indian community – there are plenty of options in the Little India area of Chinatown. Bombay Blues 4Bombay Blues is a brightly coloured but dimly lit restaurant offering a range of indian dishes, thai beer and flavoured shisha.  Expect to pay a bit over the odds for the food, but this is the same as with any situation ordering “Farang” food, and its still cheaper than Burger King down the street. I ordered a Chicken Korma and Garlic Naan, while Sarah went for one of the vegetarian curries and steamed rice. Both curries were tasty, but nothing too extreme in either flavour or spiciness. Definitely not the best curry I’ve had (that would go to a place in Brick Lane, London) but one of the better I’ve had in Thailand which is what keeps me coming back. Bombay Blues 5It turns out however that the best dish on the menu isn’t one that you’d order at first glance.  I noticed this one advertised on a poster in the bathrooms – Chocolate Naan.  Words can’t explain how delicious these things are – far from traditional, but absolutely amazing, sweet naan Bombay Blues 7Music tends to be the same sort of abrasive music that you get anywhere in the Khao San Rd (bad hip hop, trance etc) area if you are inside, so you are far better off getting a seat outside where its fairly relaxing and you can enjoy watching all the fresh tourists walking past in their elephant pants and braided hair.  Bombay Blues 3The trashy backpacker vibe does extend to some of the advertising as well – I’d probably avoid Thursday nights if you are an expat or on a date, with it being their “Boozers or Losers” drinking challenge, which to put it bluntly tests how long you can drink until you need to take a piss. The bathroom also has a sink that is made specifically for vomiting.    Bombay Blues 6    

How to find Bombay Blues

Bombay Blues is located at 51 Soi Rambutri, Banglampoo Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, to find it go down Soi Rambutree and go past the VW bars, you’ll see a bunch of tents on the side of a road.  They are open daily from 6pm until 1am. 

Other Locations:

  • Thonglor Soi 10: 139 Soi Thonglor 10, Sukhumvit Rd, Klongton-nua, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand

Brew on Thonglor – Beer, Beer and more Beer (Did I mention BEER!)

Brew, located in the Scene Space on busy Thonglor 13 is host to the largest collection of imported and craft beers in Thailand.  Stocking both big name foreign brands on tap and a wide range of microbrewery beers in bottles –  its one of my favourite places to spend way too much money on a night out.

Brew 1

Its the third time I’ve visited and I’ve always walked away with a full belly and am empty wallet, but I simply love the place. Beers generally range in the 200 Baht-350 Baht range for most imported beers, with Brew Dog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin at a whopping 5500 baht, but you get what you pay for – this isn’t cheap Thai piss water, its the real deal.

When you consider that about half of the price is excise taxes thanks to the massive protectionism here for local breweries – pricing isn’t really that expensive.  A 7% Service charge is added on top of the bill in addition to menu prices.

We ended up ordering:

Sarah isn’t much of a beer drinker so loved the peach beer, a Belgian Lambic style fruit beer (declaring it the best beer she’s had) while I found the Dai Dai IPA a little bland and more of a day time beer (I’m used to really hoppy IPAs with a high IBU) and the Brew Dog Punk IPA just fine.

Food is great, but as per usual for Bangkok beer type places, there aren’t really any real vegetarian meal options (chips and salad are not a meal) and even the salad came with Bacon (which I was able to eat).  Chris if you are reading this, add a vegetarian meal option to the menu so Sarah lets me come back for more!

Brew 3

3 Imported Beers,  Sausages, Garlic Bread and a Caesars Salad came to approximately 1400 Baht.  There would have been some potato sides but due to Scene Space exploding in popularity with local hi-so Thais Brew was absolutely rammed – not a single spare seat.

Brew 2

With all the orders the staff forgot to cook my dish, or at least weren’t planning on bringing it out until half an hour after we’d finished everything else we ordered, we managed to get it taken off the bill – but the staff did seem confused that we didn’t want the entree that we’d ordered served after dessert – mainly due to a clash of cultures, Thai food is served as its cooked and shared on a table, which is different to our western expectation of food to be served in the order which it is ordered. Next time we might see if there are some Vege options from the neighbouring restaurants while getting epic beer from Brew.

The outdoor courtyard is shared with the neighbouring cocktail bar “Clouds” and had a great Thai DJ (something that Thankfully, the Thonglor area has a few of) playing classic hip hop, soul and funk.

How to Get There:

Located on the first floor of Scene Space Thonglor 13, 1.5km walk from the Thonglor BTS station, so you are best to take a taxi or a motorbike as its a bit of a walk.

Brew_map_web

Other branches include:

Chamlong Asoke Bangkok Vegetarian Society – Chatuchuck Market

Thais are typically Theravada Buddhists, which while the religion frowns on harming of animals does not involve the strict practise of vegetarianism.  Many older Chinese Thais on the other hand are either Mahayana Buddhists or the more recent Santi Asoke sect Buddhists.

For the Asoke movement vegetarianism is one of the most important practices, so much so that they operate not for profit restaurants staffed by volunteer workers in Bangkok and other provincial capitals around Thailand as a way of making merit and promoting their values.

How to Find the The Bangkok Vegetarian Society (ชมรมมังสรวิรัติแห่งประเทศไทย)

I must confess, we got lost a few times trying to find The Vegetarian Society, Google maps wasn’t a help putting it a few kilometres away from Chatuchuck market in what was obviously the wrong location (something that is all to common in Thailand, and Laos I’ve found due to incorrect romanisation of their language).  It seems that most of the online guides, well aren’t that clear in their descriptions of how to find the place, although the Eating Thai Food blog eventually pointed us into what was close to the right direction (The post was written in 2011, and theres been a lot of development in the area recently, so some of the directions won’t make as much sense anymore!).

Take a bus, taxi or MRT to Chatuchuck Market, go to the Kampheng Phet Station across the road by the Market and next to the new InDesign mall.

Vege2Find Exit #1 facing the Marketing Organisation for Farmers “Or Tor Kor” Market and turn to your right (do not cross the road and go to the market like some guides say, if you do this you’ve gone too far – although it is a great market to be covered in a future blog post).

Vege1

You should see a bunch of antique stores along the road, and a large garden centre will be across the road from you.  Keep going along the road until you come to a side soi that is unmarked by any road signs.

Vege15

On one side will be a pet store, and the other side will be a (now closed down) antiques store that is referred to in other posts – Roy Antiques.

Vege14

Walk down a very sketchy looking soi that looks like its full of slums, demolished buildings and workers huts.  There should be a couple of Thai style night clubs on the left and the rear parking lot of the new Index Living Mall on the right.  Turn the corner at the end of the soi and…

Vege13

… you’ll spot a small two story building with shops out the front, the odd female buddhist monk shopping, and lots of yellow signs with Thai and Chinese script on them.  Shops will all have the letter “J” on them, which sounds like the Thai word for vegan food.  You’ve found the place!

Wasn’t Mike a founding member of the University of Auckland Meat Club.

Oh.. shit..

Yes I was, pleased to meet you, with meat to please you..

Why on earth is he at a vegetarian restaurant?

First let me state this clearly.  I’m a meat eater, I love my steaks, I love my bacon, and the whole idea of eating a vegetarian meal, let alone going to a vegan food court in Bangkok would have seemed quite unnatural to me just a few months ago. Heck, my mum used to have to fight with me to get me to even eat my greens at dinner.

So what changed?  Well I met a great woman, who well, doesn’t eat meat… not for any crazy hippy reasons, but for the fact that well, it just doesn’t agree with her. Add to this the ridiculously bad hygiene when it comes to storage and sale of meat products in Bangkok, and well, I’m happy to be a temporary vegetarian unless I’m in a decent restaurant or I know where the meats come from!

I have however learned that you can cook some freaking good food without lots of meat, and I’m going to stick with quality over quantity from now on!

So, Tell Me About the Food

The first thought that came to mind was – “What the hell do you mean vegan food court, theres bloody meat right over there”… followed by “What is this sorcery?”.  You see, it turns out that these crazy vegans have been practising some sort of culinary black magic.

Vege6

Yes, the plate to the left looks like it has a mixture of Chinese style pork and chicken in it doesn’t it.  Well, thats where you (and I) would be wrong.  And while I still find it strange that the vegetarians are all against GE, yet they can condone this – its imitation meat, made of, I think soy products and something called seitan (something made of wheat husks apparently), and while not tasting like meat, I was definitely impressed.

Vege8

The food court has a full range of Thai dishes, all made “Jay” that is vegan style, without any meat products, dairy or eggs.  You can get everything from rice dishes, curries, salads, noodle dishes soups and more, and of course, there was always the option of mystery meat that well, isn’t meat.

Vege4

The food court (like many in Thailand) runs on a voucher system, so we got  200 baht worth of vouchers to feed the two of us, upon getting our 80 Baht Refund (and finding another 10 baht voucher when we got home) we realised that we’d fed ourselves for 110 Baht which is amazing value, even in Bangkok.  For this we got (free) water, spring rolls with vegan meat and bean sprouts,  tom kha with vegan chicken, laab with vegan pork,  samosas with vegan chicken and a plate of vegan pork, vegan chicken, tofu dumplings, something square made out of spinach and some morning glory.

Market Stalls & Vegetarian Supermarket

Sarah’s been hanging out to buy some more interesting vegetarian food, and lets face it, you don’t have a lot of options at the 7/11 or Tesco Lotus.

Vege9

You can get vegan ham…

Vege10

Or vegan duck…

Vege11

Or vegetarian fish, for when you can’t take those silly pescetarians seriously.

Vege12

All in all I think we ended up spending about 1000 baht (3 times our weekly vegetable shopping budget at the local Thewes wet market) but got our moneys worth walking home with vegan, vegetarian or organic:

  • Vegan fish balls
  • Vegan fish slices
  • Vegan salty fish
  • Vegan hot dogs
  • Bottles of fresh passionfruit, aloe vera and guava juice
  • Organic soaps
  • Organic cooking oils
  • Vegan massaman,  penang and red curry pastes
  • Organic Lip Balms
  • Organic deodorants
  • Organic washing liquids
  • Some pretty cool wooden massage things
  • And lots more healthy stuff that keeps Sarah happy!

Verdict

Considering all the random crap, including MSG, formeldahyde and god knows what else that ends up in Thai “fresh food”, and the terrible hygiene you start to notice when you’ve been living here for a while, places like this are amazing, even for those of us who are meat eaters, or just trying to eat a bit healthier than say, pork on a stick from the side of the road.

Its not easy to find for first timers, but the food court food is amazing, and the products in the supermarket are definitely going to be interesting to try.  

We are off to Tops Mart in Pinklao to track down some mustard, mayonnaise and hot dog buns for some vegetarian hot dogs tonight, wish me luck!

Mikkeller Bangkok, Gypsy Brewbar in Ekamai

About Mikkeller Bangkok

Mikkeller is famous for its gypsy brewing practices, that is, making one off, niche craft beers in other peoples breweries… and they are bloody good at it!

It turns out that the guys from Mikkeller have a bit of a think for Bangkok, and after a few years of supplying their beer via their distributors Hopsessions, they decided to open their very own bar in Bangkok.

There are two things that brought Jacob Mørkenborg Rasmussen and Mike MacDonald together: an enthusiasm for beer and a respect for innovation. The business partners met a few years ago—Rasmussen had been importing foreign beers and holding numerous events that Mike MacDonald, a self-described beer connoisseur, would regularly attend.

….

“My partner and I are both in this business less so from a financial perspective and more so from a beer culture perspective,” MacDonald said. “We really wanted to build something that we would go to every night.”

They also of course have two bars in Denmark (Their home) one in Sweden and another in San Francisco.  The Bangkok bar offers 30 different craft beers on tap (This has got to be the most craft beer on tap anywhere in Thailand) and a load of limited release special edition beers available by the bottle or to take away.  Beers are on rotation, so you are more than likely going to spot something new every time you visit.

The place is a home for the educated beer connoisseur, its simplistic, clean, with quality music at a low volume.  Expect no flashing lights, smoke machines or hi-so kids getting table service bottles of SangSom, just quality beer, quality conversations and quality food – something thats definitely needed in the Bangkok bar scene.

Getting There

Mikkeller Bangkok is definitely a “destination” type bar, being that its a little bit out of the way, down a couple of side sois, so make sure you take a map with you when looking for them.

Mikeller BKK Map

The easiest way is to take the BTS to the Ekkamai stop, go down Sukhumvit 63 (Ekkamai) and turn into Ekkamai Soi 10, follow it down to Yaek 2, and you’ll find them down the road.  You’ll spot loads of Mikkeller stickers on power poles, lamp poles and power boxes, so you’ll definitely know if you are heading in the right direction.

Mikeller 1

Mikkeler Bangkok Co., Ltd
26 Ekamai Soi 10 Yaek 2, Ekamai Road
Bangkok 10110, Thailand

The Beers

I’ll be straight up an say these are the best beers I’ve had so far in Bangkok. Its one thing to offer imported beer, another thing to offer imported craft beers, but stick it on draft and you’ve got a happy Mike.

Mikeller 4

With 30 beers on tap, and even more in bottles in the fridge there is literally something for anyone with a minimal amount of taste.  You won’t find cheep 50 baht beers here, so cheap charlies can go elsewhere, what you will find is amazing, craft beer with a difference, that considering the heavy tax you get on imported booze in Thailand is remarkably cheap to purchase.  They don’t even charge a service charge (which is rare in Bangkok).  Expect beers to be in the 200-350 Baht per glass range, with bottles ranging from250 Baht to 1500 baht for the crazy rare beer nerd specialities.

Our selections for the night included:

  • Nelson Sauvin IPA (With hops from New Zealand)
  • American Dream IPA
  • Ris A’La Malle Fruit Beer
  • Honey Mead

The Food

Food is mainly finger food with a couple of sandwhich/slider/burger options available. Speaking to the manager he tells me that they plan to open a full kitchen down the line, and also (fitting with the gypsy foodie concept) have guest chefs doing pop up kitchen type nights, so follow them on Facebook to keep in the loop.

By now you will have noticed that my girlfriend Sarah is a Vegetarian (with vegan tendencies) and most beer places in Bangkok don’t really cater to our meat deprived brethren.  Right now they don’t have vegetarian options on the menu, but the staff seemed happy about the idea of whipping something up on the fly, and the manager Pete (or Tap Master as he prefers to be called)  is definitely keen to offer some rabbit food down the line to keep the vege crew happy.

Mikeller 3

We ordered a platter of cured meats, cheeses and pickles along with fresh bread, which was more than enough to keep both of us happy.  The cheeses were absolutely amazing, easily the best I’ve had in Thailand and the cured meats (Salami, Proscuitto, Pate & more) were amazing.  For 450 baht it was completely and utterly worth it, so much so that we ordered another cheese platter to pig out on.

Mikeller 5

Their desserts include some amazing chocolate cakes made out of a vietnamese chocolate that is absolutely to die for.  The name escapes me now (it wasn’t included on the receipt) but make sure you ask for it.

The Service

The service was easily some of the best I’ve had in Bangkok.  The bar staff really know our beers and were able to suggest the right beer every time.  They were able to pick me the perfect hoppy beers with high IBUs, with Sarah taking a fruit beer and some Honey mead with dessert.   We simply described the taste we wanted the staff gave us tasters and we were good to go.

Speaking to Pete the bar manager (sorry Tap Master), he said that they are more than happy to do private beer tastings at a very reasonable price for groups of 6 or more, getting you a chance to try a bunch of beers, with an expert, along with some awesome cold cuts and cheese – I’ll be doing this next time!

The Verdict

Easily the best beer bar I’ve been to in Bangkok.  The place is clean, the food is amazing, the staff are friendly and know their stuff and above all the simply have the best beer I’ve tried.

Mikeller 6

I enjoyed the stuff so much that I ended up spending another 2000 baht on takeaway beers, which of course I left to the staff to choose for me.   And being the good dudes they they are, they gave us complimentary glassware too!

For 2150 Baht I ended up with:

  • 1 Mikkeller Bangkok Tasting Glass
  • 1 Mikkeller – k:rlek Pale Ale 2013
  • 1 Mikkeller – Solt Gul
  • 1 Mikkeller X Bedow  – Wild Winter Ale
  • 1 To Øl – Ridiculously Close To Sanity
  • 1 To Øl – Dangerously Close But No Cigar
  • 1 To Øl – Dangerously Close To Stupid
  • 1 Birra Del Borgo –  Re Ale
  • 1 Birra Del Borgo X Dogfish Head – My Antonia

I highly recommend checking the place out, and if you do go there, tell them that I sent you… maybe they’ll be nice and shout me a beer.

Disclaimer: This post was written under the influence of a wonderful glass of ice cold Mikkeller k:rlek Pale Ale 2013 from the comfort of my home.  Craft beer for the win!