The perfect marriage of Pan Asian cuisine and signature Belgian beers.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Riverside Plaza debuted its latest gastronomic experience on the 15th of October, when Spice & Barley welcomed Masala and other guests to sample what they had to offer. Having heard of the whimsical story behind the restaurant’s design, I was eager to view their concept, which did not disappoint. The fictional tale is of three Sichuan sisters, a poet, a cook, and a performer, who left to seek their fortunes around the world but were finally reunited on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. A trio of immense portraits immortalise the sisters, while bold, undulating lines dominate the space thanks to made-to-order rattan pillars that draw the eye up to the vaulted ceilings at least three storeys high. The end result is one of traditional charm, despite the contemporary dynamism.
Operated by Anantara Riverside Bangkok, the gastro lounge boasted an innovative menu that spanned several Asian cuisines, no surprise to me when I found out that it was specially curated by celebrity chef Sam Leong from Singapore, who’d served, among other notable figures, Queen Elizabeth II herself.
It’s hard to pick a favourite from the steady stream of inventive canapés we were offered, but I’d strongly recommend the Lychee & crab tempura for the unique combination of flavours that evinced the restaurant’s choice of ‘Spice’ in their name. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the Vegetarian mushroom bun, which arrived as an unassuming mushroom on a bed of black ‘pebbles’ but was actually a dim sum dumpling in disguise. Of course, the melt-in-your-mouth morsels were best accompanied by a drink to whet the palate, and that came in the form of signature beers from the team at Cornellisen, a Belgian brewery – the ‘Barley’ half of Spice & Barley.
After we’d eaten and drank our fill, the festivities truly began, with a lion dance from a talented group that had us tapping our feet to the beat while they received hongbao packets. Many of us then retired to the Pepper Deck, a relaxed outdoor setting where we could still be entertained by the strains of music filtering through the night air, care of a musical duo that treated us to Chinese and English renditions of well-known songs.
With a unique point of view, surprising cuisine, and live music, this latest offering in the growing list of destination riverside restaurants is not to be missed.
For more information about Spice & Barley, visit www.anantara.com/en/riverside-bangkok/restaurants/spice-barley or their Instagram @spiceandbarleyriverside