First-rate barbecue fare meets Tiki-inspired cocktails for a unique rooftop experience.
By Tom Mclean
Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok opened its doors last year inside the Velaa Sindhorn Village in Langsuan to much fanfare. Beyond sleek accommodations, the hotel has grown to become a destination for drinking and dining, housing the likes of CRAFT, Ms.Jigger, and the jewel in their crown, Bar.Yard. A vibrant rooftop bar nestled on the 40th floor, it perfectly encapsulates the urbane attitude of the Kimpton Maa-Lai, serving up innovative refreshments and moreish barbecue delights amidst a stylish backyard-inspired setting.
Knowingly kitsch, laid-back, and super-cool, Bar.Yard is an intoxicating reverie of 1980s stylings and classic Tiki-lounge trappings. Beyond sky-high views of the city, its interior is decorated in a vibrant tropical palette with shades of pink, yellow and blue brightening up the indoor-outdoor space. Potted plants line walls painted with giant floral murals and pineapple motifs, while patio-style furnishings are upgraded through a clever use of wood, wicker and copper elements. A range of seating options from booths to long tables ensure groups of all sizes are welcome, reinforcing the venue’s informal attitude. Once we were sat, it didn’t take us long to settle into the upbeat ambience, perusing their menus while the DJ laid down some chilled-out beats.
FOOD AND DRINK
Bar.Yard excels in both style and substance, with their dining offerings matching their unique approach to design. In the driving seat is Executive Chef Lamberto Valdez Lara, who infuses classic barbecue favourites crafted from premium local produce with exciting Latin American flavours.
Catching sight of an authentic meat smoker on the way in, we were eager to start our meal with the BBQ brisket & ribs platter (THB 690), which had been smoked for a painstaking amount of time until the meat was literally falling off the bone. As a self-confessed carnivore, I can safely say that these were some of best and most reasonably priced ribs and brisket I’ve had in Bangkok. Combined with their piquant barbecue sauce and zesty pickled vegetables, the platter was an undoubtable favourite of the evening.
On the side, we tried their Street Mex corn (THB 120), a trio of corn skewers and stripped kernels covered in spices and charred to perfection. The addition of crushed pumpkin seeds, smoked jalapeños, and parmesan cheese added the rich, savoury depths of flavour you’d want from a quintessential barbecue dish.
To pair, we opted for ice-cold glasses of their Pineapple just kidding (THB 190). A mocktail that reminded me a lot of sherbet, with sharp fruity flavours and subtle hints of beetroot giving way to a rounded creaminess. These refreshing and fun flavours coupled with its Instagrammable presentation means you can forego the booze and still get a taste of what makes Bar.Yard so unique compared to other rooftop spots.
Next, we tried their Pulled pork nachos (THB 290), a generous stack of tortilla chips smothered in tender slow-cooked pulled pork, melted cheese, and guacamole. The meat was the ideal melt-in-your-mouth consistency, while the zesty pico de gallo did well to cut through the richer elements of the dish. We enjoyed this alongside The queen’s group pineapple (THB 310), a tangy cocktail served in a porcelain pineapple. Crafted from tequila, apple brandy, pineapple juice, lime, and pomelo, the invigorating flavours of this drink land it somewhere between a margarita and a daiquiri and is recommended for those who prefer their cocktails ultra-fruity!
In addition to their a la carte menu, Bar.Yard also has two weekly specials—Taco Tuesdays and Paella Sundays. During our visit, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the best these special menus had to offer, kicking off with their sublime Paella platter for two guests (THB 450). The dish comprises of rice slow cooked in a seafood and tomato broth and then topped with meats cooked in an authentic Spanish style and a feast of fresh seafood spanning locally-sourced shrimp, fish, mussels, and squid.
During Taco Tuesday, guests can customise their ultimate tacos from an assortment of toppings and sauces for only THB 70 per taco. To get a taste of all the fillings, went for three soft shell tacos and filled them pork rib meat, juicy beef brisket, and marinated boneless chicken thigh respectively. We then topped them with their chipotle and black pepper barbecue sauce, grilled cactus pico de gallo, and sour cream with spring onions and bird’s eye chillies. While we tucked in, we wet our whistles with glasses of their Navy grog (THB 310), a definitive Tiki-lounge cocktail that harkens all the way back to the 1940s. Punchy, this classic beverage consists of three different rums mixed with honey and an array of secret ingredients, served with a cone made out of ice.
We capped off our hearty meal with their delightful Brownie block party (THB 190), a fun dessert that combines dark and white pecan brownies with raspberry, blueberry, and vanilla foam. Using a set of skewers, we dipped our brownies in the foam and relished the delightful textures of rich chocolate, crunchy nuts, and zesty fruit.
The Smoked chicken quesadillas (THB 290). Chicken thighs are smoked on the bone before the juicy meat is stuffed between two soft tortillas, along with smoked jalapenos and creamy goat cheese, making for an explosion of savoury goodness. On the side, three generous bowls of pineapple salsa, green onion sour cream, and more of their fresh pico de gallo balance out the more full-flavoured elements.