Livin’ The High Life
by Mick & Di, The Food Lovers
Hola! from the Food Lovers who have just returned from a short sojourn in Bangkok where Centara Grand at CentralWorld teleported us to one of the snazziest, swankiest tapas bars that could have been anywhere in contemporary Spain. Tapas have taken the world by storm and Bangkok is no exception. Here at UNO MAS authentic tapas are flying out of Chef Joan Tanya Dot’s Iberian kitchen and in particular the Josper charcoal oven. Hailing from Barcelona, Chef brings a wealth of gastronomy from his working experience in a myriad of top establishments including the famous Catalan Escola Hofmann, Michelin star restaurant school.
Tapas restaurants are so “now” in Bangkok. But, it is worth mentioning how the trendiest prevailing food fad started. Tapa simply means a lid or cover and derives from the fact that in the past a glass of wine (or ale) was covered with a slice of bread or ham to avoid flies diving into the drinks. From this humble creation it has won the hearts and stomachs of bon vivants the world over.
From the moment we stepped onto the Mediterranean blue glazed floor in reception we were sold. A Flamenco guitarist provides the atmospheric falceta excitement and at other times a DJ spins the Latin beat. Then there’s the 8-metre wine tower containing over 2,000 bottles. Remarkably, bottles are retrieved when a very acrobatic wine server, wearing a harness, and known as the “wine angel” is lowered into the tower to locate your preferred bottle. Then there’s the casual 60-seat Tapas & Raw Bar and the fashionable 78-seater open air dining deck, all of which adds up to a very chic, stylish culinary destination.
Mick and I opted for the Weekday Lunch menu, which offers three courses for B.999++ or 2 courses for B.799++ chosen from a weekly changing menu. Gambas al Pil Pil (sizzling prawns with garlic and chilli) was our first taste. A speciality dish from Spain’s Basque region, it truly fulfilled our expectations. This was followed by Argentinean Tenderloin Carpaccio. Rizzla-thin cuts of this most prized and expensive beef had been tenderly layered with shavings of Idiazabal cheese (another Basque speciality), apple puree and peppery leaves of rocket to create a succulent and meltingly delicious dish. Creamy wild porcini mushroom croquettes then hit the table accompanied by salmon canuto (salmon rolls wearing overcoats of crunchy sesame seeds) and served with a lively wasabi aioli. Diversely different taste sensations so far and more was yet to come…
A Spanish centric wine list features over 2,000 bottles and pleasingly includes over 30 by the glass in 9 cl and 15 cl pours with prices from B.170++ to B.820++. We enjoyed a glass (or two) of a ruby red La Vendimia Rioja 2013 which we just loved with its silky tannins and an elegant crisp white to start, namely an Albarino from Martin Codax costing B.1,600++ and B.1,400++ per bottle respectively.
Joselito is considered the best cured ham in the world and here Chef offers five opportunities to discover for yourself just why this is the case. For first-timers try the 120-gram mixed selection at B.1,290++.
Chef’s signature dishes include the celebrated “Cochinillo” Asado. A half roasted suckling pig Segovian style served with green Mojo sauce, house gravy and a fusion nam jim jaew. The Josper oven (or more correctly grill) is the hottest indoor barbeque available and a much-prized piece of equipment by Chefs worldwide. At UNO MAS it produces exciting dishes such as the famous Basque large rib-eye steak weighing in at 1 kg or the 600 grams of Spanish suckling goat leg or the grilled boneless shoulder from the legendary black-footed Iberico pigs. There are so many “not-to-be missed” dishes on this menu it fairly sparkles with authentic, premium items.
Our lunch continued with an angel hair pasta (Catalan Fideua) cooked like paella. Soft, tender squid joined huge prawns, chillis and chopped green and red pepper. Chef then presented us with a rabbit confit. Rabbit confit is just like duck confit cooking the meat slowly in olive oil loaded with herbs and spices. It was a superb rendition and afforded even more luscious with a tranche of foie gras cooked quickly in a pan to a glazed medium rare with just the right amount of pinkness.
Yes, this menu is a privileged collection of the world’s gourmet food items with prices that reflect their provenance, but also the cold and hot tapas items showcase a wealth of Spanish recipes to enjoy here in Bangkok with exceedingly reasonable prices, i.e. the Iberian artisan cheeses at only B.190++ and the opportunity to savour Joselito ham croquettes at only B.190++. Allow 30 minutes preparation time for paella, but then you’ll be rewarded with an iconic dish that has held a place of honour in Spanish homes for centuries and has been authentically prepared personally for you 54 floors above the spreading metropolis that is the amazing city of Bangkok.
54th floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld
999/99 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok
Opens daily from 4 pm to 1 am
Weekday Lunch available Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Tel: 02 100 6255