By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Experience the height of taste at Vertigo & Moon Bar atop Banyan Tree Bangkok, with an array of gourmet western cuisine and an unparalleled 360-degree view of Bangkok’s brilliant cityscape.
Banyan Tree Bangkok’s famed Vertigo restaurant, named after the eponymous Alfred Hitchcock thriller, lives up to its name with dizzying views and food scrumptious enough to send a shiver down your spine. But its recently renovated Moon Bar is the star, or rather the rising moon, of the show.
Established in 2002 to much worldwide acclaim, the Moon Bar re-opened in December 2018 with an avant-garde redesign that makes best use of its perch 200 metres aboveground. The al fresco lounge truly comes alive at sunset, when the diamond-form bar is the gleaming point of focus, throwing out fractals of light on the otherwise atmospheric ambience. A thrilling “moon walk” of glass leads to a vista point stretching out two metres from the main building, where courageous couples or spunky singletons can bask in the dramatic views of the sprawling metropolis below their feet.
Sitting on a former helipad, the rest of the 61st floor is divided into two other sections: the Vertigo restaurant itself and a private party lounge. The entire sky zone, which can seat up to 264 guests, is a dynamic mix of elevated platforms and low walls, ensuring an undisturbed panoramic view no matter where you are. Electronic beats filter through the night air, providing a relaxed but vibrant atmosphere in which to take in iconic landmarks such as the Grand Palace and the Chao Phraya River below.
Even when the moon above is waning, it’s hard not to wax eloquent about Vertigo’s gourmet selection of seafood, premium steaks, and range of western cuisine. Guests can choose between à la carte options or carefully curated set menus which offer a delectable mix of flavours.
A zesty beginning to any meal is the Blackened chicken and strawberry salad (B1,200) with its amalgamation of textures, from the feta cheese and chicken perfectly undercut by the red wine vinaigrette, to the berries which add the ideal complement of sweetness and crunch to the quinoa. Another exquisite starter is the Roasted purple sweet potato and cauliflower soup (B750), whose remarkable lavender colour is only matched by its striking balance of flavours. You’re invited to pour the soup out yourself from a delicate silver pitcher, and its unapologetically bold presentation does not prepare you for the lightness of the consommé espite its aromatic infusion.
For the plat principal, I heartily recommend the King prawns, blue swimmer crab meat, [and] chorizo linguine (B2,100). The succulence of the seafood is enhanced by the white wine sauce, while delicately crafted garlic and chilli flakes join the chorizo and baby tomatoes so each mouthful is an intriguing discovery. Those looking for vegetarian options should try the Wild mushroom and pesto linguine (B990), a rich and savoury delight that is elevated by the tactical addition of baby spinach and parmesan.
Finally, for dessert, we tried a dish that shares the restaurant’s name, the “Vertigo” lemon verbena crème brûlée (B580), served with an elegant concoction of berries and honeycomb on the side. The caramelised sugar crust which gives way to a creamy centre truly brings you to dizzying heights of sweetness, while the citrus granita brings you back down to earth with that perfect piquant punch.
True to its reputation as a cosmopolitan nightlife icon, the Moon Bar offers a plethora of signature cocktail blends and more classic options, including, indeed, a Cosmopolitan (B650) for the discerning city slicker.
For those wanting to try Vertigo’s famed “Legacy” cocktails, the Seoul to Soul (B670) is deliciously unique. Not just clever wordplay, the drink is made with kai lemongrass and ginger soju (a Korean liquor), passion fruit, chrysanthemum tea, umeshu (Japanese liquor distilled from ume fruits), and Giffard Banane du Brasil (Brazil’s iconic banana liquor), encapsulating the tropics across the world in every sip. Another must-try is the Bird of Paradise (B650), a refreshing concoction of Pimm’s No. 1, Plantation Pineapple Stiggin’s Fancy Rum, Giffard pink grapefruit syrup, pineapple purée, and lime for that extra zest; a true ode to the halcyon days of summer.
If the sheer range of cocktails gives you a little, well, vertigo, worry not! The Moon Bar also stocks a comprehensive list of liquors and beers from around the world, enough to get anyone a little punch-happy, or indeed, over-the-moon. Non-alcoholic options also abound, with a curated list of mocktails, sodas, fruit juices, and hot drinks to complete your experience in this true castle in the air.