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Thursday, October 8, 2015

GAWA Day #23B: Sirocco...Dining Under the Stars in Bangkok

Bangkok once had only one rooftop restaurant, on top of the Westin Banyan Tree, where I stayed several times.  Westin pulled out, but Vertigo on the 61st floor became the first such dining attraction. Now?  There are, perhaps, ten, and increasing.

The second was Sirocco, about a dozen years ago, becoming the symbol of supreme dining extravagance in Thailand, remaining as the highest place to enjoy a meal with only the sky above you, on the 63rd floor of the State Tower.   I took the photos below awaiting my table and saw the sunset. Maybe your mind might recall this scene, for parts of Hangover 2 were shot here.


The welcome is ultra friendly.  They just about lead you by the hand to your table, partly because I had a cane, and the stairs down to the dining area were formidable.  This arrangement to the right at the entry is actually taller than me.

The view from my table:


This is the look from check-in to my table:


I ordered their chef's menu with wine pairing, and with taxes, etc., the total came to $300.  This figure is becoming a universal constant on this trip.  There was a pre-appetizer, which was quite tasty, but I couldn't understand the explanation:


The appetizer was an Alaskan Crab Tartar, but they substituted a beet root salad:


I think there was some goat cheese in this mix.  I don't like anything resembling goat.  The wine was a Berringer Chardonnay...then again, I think the sommelier, Toto, substituted something he said was more appropriate.  


Toto was knowledgeable, charming and, now, a friend.  Next came an excellent Challan's Foie Gras with a Castello del Poggio Moscato. 


Toto explained why a Moscato was better suited than a Sauternes, except I forgot his analysis  A Leon Beyer Gevurztraminer was served with the Iberian Pork Shoulder:


Quite good.  An hour into my meal I thought the background music was of fine fidelity, but, perhaps a bit too loud, and I wondered where the speakers were located.  Then I turned around and saw that this was a four-piece jazz group of different nationalities (with the saxophone player noted to be the best in Thailand), and a singer from Venezuela, entertaining just behind and above me:


 A Robertson Winery Pinot Noir came with the Mediterranean Sea Bass in a rich saffron broth:


The bass tasted almost shrimp-like, which I enjoyed because I can't have it.  A 2009 Clarendelle Rouge by Haut Brion balanced a wagyu beef from Australia, here shown shining with a burned onion herbed reduction sauce:


I did tell Toto that I understood this was fine cuisine and the chef had to work at enhancing each dish. However, given a choice, the steak would have tasted oh so much better if only fried in butter with salt and pepper.  However, this was at a point when my stomach said enough food, so my mind was not into savoring greatness.  

So, the chef came by to chat with me, for maybe the third time, and we joked around enough that I don't think he was insulted by my comments.  Chef Gonzalo Ruiz is from Barcelona, and ran his own restaurant when he was 28.  I wished him well on his next adventure, for I had similar chats with Chef Rene of Nomo and Chef Gaggan here in Bangkok before they became #1 in the World and Asia.

The dessert was Red Autumn Berries with Chocolate, including a Mythical Garden Ice Apple Wine:


One obvious problem of living in Bangkok and eating outdoors is that it rains.  Perhaps 40% of dinners are, thusly, spoiled.  However, I was very lucky.  I couldn't quite see stars, actually, but there was a slight breeze and no precipitation.  All things equated--cuisine, service, view, etc.--this $300 meal ranks right up there with the very best.

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