Bangkok is a city where trends spread like wildfire, especially when it comes to dining, and this is part of what makes The Rock Restaurant and Bar so exciting. Located on a back lane just off Soi Ari, this two-storey restaurant not only has an original look, but it’s doing something very different in the kitchen. Serving cuisine that the team describe as "Siamisation", it brings together the flavours of Thailand and the countries that border it, as well as the influences of trade ships from countries such as India and Portugal.
The Rock Restaurant and Bar is open from Tuesday to Sundays from 17:30 until 00:00. It’s a pleasant ten minute stroll from the BTS Skytrain at Ari.
The restaurant stands out in this predominantly residential area and is a real ode to contemporary design. If you’ve ever visited the critically-acclaimed Black House in Chiang Rai, you’d notice some similarities. Both have black walls and make use of natural furnishings. At The Rock Restaurant the amazing tables, fashioned out of smooth pink stone with a thick glass top, are certainly talking points. Large animal hides cover the floor and bushy potted ferns add to the organic feel of the place. The entire facade of the restaurant is glass, and although the view isn’t one to write home about, it prevents the space from feeling like a cave. The fully-stocked bar is located on the ground floor. Cocktails come courtesy of maestro mixologist Joseph Boroski, who has quickly become the go-to guy for alcoholic concoctions in Bangkok.
The restaurant is quiet when we arrive but it takes a fair amount of time before our order is taken. We start with a complimentary amuse-bouche of crispy crackers topped with spicy fried pork, accompanied by a couple of glasses of white wine from their happy hour list and an original cocktail: Kumming Tourist Trap (280 baht), a tall drink that muddles gin, rose jam and fresh passion fruit. Other drinks worth mentioning are the Heavy Metal Acid Trip (260 baht), a martini-style mix of brandy, basil syrup, egg and topped with a single basil leaf. For something with an extra kick, order the Read Earth (250 baht) that combines white rum, red pepper, lime and paprika – it’s a taste of Siam. Cocktails can also be ordered as mocktails. The service is friendly, although a tad on the leisurely side.
The banana salad, however, is nothing like those you may have had at other Vietnamese or Thai restaurants. The thin slices of duck add depth to it, but the warm, creamy vegetables with spicy tomato sauce was mushy and uninspiring. Instead, try the rustic som tam salad. There is also a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu, including a hot and sour soup, which look appetizing enough for meat lovers to consider. Finish dinner with the toddy palm butter cake (180 baht).
The Rock Restaurant and Bar is very cool, and with a little fine tuning this could easily become a popular dining spot in Ari. Despite not being impressed with everything, we’d definitely return.
The Rock Restaurant and Bar
- Location: Rock Restaurant and Bar, 7/1 Paholyothin Soi 9 Bangkok
- BTS: Ari
- Tel: +66 2 6888200