Going a step above by leaning further into its Peruvian roots.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
As one of the denizens that frequents Sukhumvit Soi 11 far more often than I will admit, I’ve always known Above Eleven to be a staple of not only the bustling soi, but of the city’s wealth of rooftop haunts. Atop Frasier Suites Sukhumvit, Bangkok, the Peruvian-Japanese bar and restaurant was conceptualised by the Soho Hospitality Group, the team behind Soho Pizza, and arguably Bangkok’s most well-known speakeasy, Havana Social.
Recently, this Central Park-inspired bar has revamped itself with an updated look and feel, drawing more from its Peruvian roots in its colours, décor, and materials, plus an extensive menu of Peruvian and Japanese favourites. Having only visited the space before its refresh, I was excited to soak in the new vibe and Peru-se their offerings.
When you first step out of the dedicated lift to the 33rd floor of the hotel, you’re greeted by a Peruvian fabric wall that immediately hints at the restaurant’s unique point of view. What was previously a maze of greenery has been replaced by deliberately rough-hewn stone walls unevenly packed together; an homage to Machu Picchu and other elite Incan architecture’s seismic-dampening structures.
As you enter the bar, its iconic custom-designed ‘trees’ are still present in pride of place, but a new colour scheme of burnt orange and royal blue breathes new life into the space. Seen throughout – from the patterned upholstery to the dapper new uniforms sported by all the staff – I’m told the colours are inspired by Peruvian fabrics, a swathe of which peeks out above the bar, and which has also informed the vibrant mosaic patterns on the floor. A glut of new greenery allows the bar to lean even further into its original ‘garden in the sky’ concept, while a ‘selfie mirror’ topped by a neon pink ‘Mamacita’ sign creates the eminently important Instagrammable corner for guests.
FOOD AND DRINK
The first thing that jumped out at me from the menu was the number of sharing plates, perfect for a convivial night out with friends. We first tucked into their Cebichero platter (THB 1,900), comprised of various classic Peruvian cured seafood dishes, including seabass and helpings of tender octopus, each with their own sauce that perfectly complements each bite.
Next, we tried the Lamb shank seco (THB 700), a New Zealand lamb shank stew prepared sous vide over 48 hours. Fall-off-the-bone tender, the stew was made with beer, cilantro sauce, and white beans; a hearty comfort dish that hits just the right spot on those breezy rooftop nights. For vegetarians, Above 11 has a separate ‘plant-based’ section of the menu with a range of dishes to share, and I would recommend the Awesome whole roasted cauliflower (THB 300), grilled to perfection on a traditional Japanese kamado stove; a dish that elevates the humble vegetable with lashings of a spicy anticucho sauce which brings out all the marinated spices.
Of course, one cannot dine at a purveyor of Japanese cuisine without sampling their sushi, and their Sushi platter (THB 800 for 14 pieces, THB 1,400 for 26 pieces) did not disappoint, with a variety of deftly prepared and fresh rolls for the true connoisseur, including liberal helpings of fish roe. We paired our dishes with the Arroz con mariscos (THB 475), a generously spiced iteration with red chilli aderezo and yellow chilli, and shrimps and fresh mussels integrated into the dish. Make sure you have it with their salsa criolla, which adds a nice kick for those looking for a bit more heat.
For dessert, we were treated to a personal favourite, the Volcán de chocolate (THB 200) or chocolate lava cake, which was served piping hot and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, rich in the best way and an indulgent end to a luxe night over the Bangkok cityscape.
Of course, no rooftop bar is complete without their signature cocktails, and Above 11’s pack a punch, in the best way. For those who prefer their drinks a little zesty, we’d recommend the Pisco sour (THB 390) infused with Pisco Barsol quebranta, distilled from grapes originating from the Southern Valley of Ica in Peru. The Pisco 2.0 (THB 390) is a less complex and brighter version of the same, while if you have a sweeter palate, I’d recommend the Cantalupo nani (THB 370), with Chita Japanese whiskey to give it depth. If, like me, you’re always on the lookout for a good deal on a tipple or two, don’t miss out on their Ladies’ Night every Wednesday, with special prices for cocktails to make a delightful night even sweeter.
The tiradito seabass that was served with the Cebichero platter, made with ají amarillo (yellow chilli pepper) sauce. Deliciously piquant and moreish, it packed just the right amount of heat.
33rd Floor, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Sukhumvit Road, Soi 11 Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open daily: from 5pm-11pm
Tel: 083 542 1111