Popular with Bangkok’s well-heeled set, The Face is an upscale joint that fuses three of Asia’s most distinct cultures to charming effect. Comprising three restaurants – Japanese, Indian and Thai, guests can enjoy their respective choice of cuisine in a classic Thai environment – the extensive teakwood mansion in which the Restaurant, Bar and Spa operate provides a cool and unique environment in which to relax and enjoy pan-Asian fare.
Part of the Face brand that operates from China, Indonesia and London, the venues have gradually built up a reputation for their attention to detail in the realms of décor, service and cuisine – bridging the gap between ancient customs and contemporary dining. In a case of Old and New World Thailand colliding, the architectural structure and interior décor of the Face blends traditional Thai culture with international style.
The Indian fare at Hazara is served amongst authentic Indian artifacts as is Lan Na Thai restaurant, where objets d'art on display are worthy of museum space. The newest recruit to the scene is the Misaki Japanese restaurant. Each of the three restaurants feature menus tailored to the tourist demographic, dishes will appear familiar while still retaining rare flavours.
We chose the Lan Na Thai for some classic Thai fare and it did not disappoint. Before eating we had a pre-dinner drink in the Lounge Bar. This is a great opportunity to relax and admire the tranquil interior, while enjoying a cocktail.
Where is it?
One of Bangkok’s best hidden secrets; situated on Thong Lo 38, the venue is best reached by skytrain. Once at Thong Lo BTS leave at the fourth exit and you will arrive at the top of Soi 38. Walk 100 metres down the soi and you will see the Bar, Spa and Restaurant sign.
Designed by London-based architect Frank Drake, the stilted building is reminiscent of Jim Thomson’s teakwood mansion however built on a slightly more elaborate scale. Consisting of three restaurants, a bar and a spa, there is a layering effect that enables the restaurant to appear on a number of different levels.
Teak is the dominant building material here and at the core of the restaurant's concept. The interior is made up of intricate ornamentation, paintings and hand-sourced artifacts which contribute massively to the overriding classical atmosphere of the venue.
Diners enter via a staircase leading to a courtyard area surrounded by greenery and trickling water; you really get a feel for the old-world Thai khlongs (waterways).
The basic décor is minimalist Thai but rich in the use of the materials and textures and statement pieces that fill the ample space of the restaurant.
This is where the restaurant comes into its own and the spa connection becomes ever more apparent. Dimly lit throughout, the courtyard area is a great place to sit amid the subtly lit flora and sound of trickling water, the perfect spot for a post-dinner glass of port. It’s difficult to imagine you are in central Bangkok; the serenity is quite overwhelming and the tranquility is enhanced by the gentle sound of traditional Thai music.
The first wine we tasted was the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Cantavida – 2007, a delicate and crisp choice with accents of white peach and black current bud. Fresh and crispy on the palate with a long finish, it was well a great companion to our assortment of classic Thai appetizers. For our main dishes we take a Shiraz, Cabernet, Penfolds – 2007. The medium-bodied wine displayed hints of blackberry and rhubarb married with a spicy Shiraz, perfect with the gently prepared sea bass we chose for our main dish.
Thai-style dining is a communal experience – share and share a like. To get the best from this delicious cuisine it is best to order a number of dishes and appreciate the subsequent variety of tastes and textures.
To start we decided on the shared Appetizer Assortment, consisting of generic Thai snacks including chicken spring rolls, chicken satay, banana leaf chicken and fish cakes. Each came with an appropriate sauce – peanut, sesame or plum. Alongside this we went for the quintessential spicy seafood soup, best described as the original tom yam, the clear broth is laced with lemon grass and succulent prawns. We recommend you follow the appetizers with the soup, so not to as override the taste.
Four our main dishes the whole sea bass with tamarind sauce was hot on the agenda, cooked to perfection, the fish was fresh and well dressed with herbs and optional sauces to the side. The roasted duck, cooked with red curry, cherry tomatoes and red grapes came highly recommended and did not disappoint.
Our choice of vegetables was stir-fried baby corn, straw mushrooms and snow peas in oyster sauce. The boiled rice provided a base for the food to sit on, complementing and not subtracting from the flavours on the table. The in-house traditional French bakery, Visage, is run by world-class chocolatier Eric Perez (the Clintons are fans) and one of the highlights of the evening were the desserts, lending a whole new meaning to the term ‘mouth watering’. The bombe passion was simply superb and, as is often the case with desserts, looked to good to touch. Covered in dark chocolate with a passion-fruit-and-mousse centre, the raspberry sorbet was an ideal companion. Post-dinner port was the perfect end to the evening.
Adorned in traditional Thai dress and sporting the famous Thailand smile, the wait staff couldn't have been friendlier. Our food and drink was served punctually with enough time in between courses, which added to the whole Face experience.