First-class refreshments at Capella Bangkok.
By Ashima Sethi
Luxury landmark Capella Bangkok opened its doors last month inside the illustrious Chao Phraya Estate with the promise to be a step beyond any of the city’s already impressive five-star offerings. The Capella brand takes its name from the Capella Star, the brightest in the Auriga Constellation, which represents their mission to treat every guest as the centre of their universe by crafting authentic experiences through a legacy of thoughtful design and personalised service.
Like Capella properties before it, the Bangkok outpost houses impressive F&B outlets, including cocktail bar Stella, which in a similar vein to the Capella brand, takes its name from the Latin word for ‘star.’ ‘Stella’ is also a name associated with strong characters throughout history and pop culture, and as Asia has always been a region famed for its strong women, the bar dishes up savours and stories inspired by female heroism.
Keeping with its theme, the bar is replete with bold, feminine touches. The walls are crafted from white marble with hand-painted frescoes depicting oriental motifs interspersing the space. In the centre of the room, a taxidermy white peacock sits on a pedestal underneath a glistening chandelier that takes the shape of the Milky Way, while patterned sofas and vintage-style wicker chairs frame the floor-to-ceiling windows with picturesque river views.
As we took our seats, we were welcomed by Beverage Manager, William Pravda, who told us an engrossing story about how he developed the bar’s unique perspective, which fuses together modern mixology with innovative pastry. He soon moved on to explain the signature cocktails take inspiration from four historic heroines from across Asia.
The first, Ya Mo of Nakhon Ratchasima was credited with saving her people by leading a rebellion against Laotian invaders in the 1800s. Ya Mo and the women of her village encouraged the soldiers to get drunk and once inebriated, the women overpowered them with cooking knives. A popular tale told across Thailand, I was curious to see how it would be imagined as a cocktail.
We were then presented with The City of Khai (THB 480), undoubtedly my favourite from the evening, the punchy concoction is made using Esan rum, roasted rice, spices, and a piquant tom kha foam, emulating the classic flavours you’d find in Esan cuisine. With every female hero, the Chef Patissier also recommends a dessert pairing. In this case, it was the Secret of Ya Mo (THB 390), a chocolate dessert that celebrates the rich cacao found in the North of Thailand.
Next was the tale of Tomoe Gozen, a 12th century warrior who slashed her way to samurai stardom as one of the country’s only women who engaged in offensive battle. To represent her journey, the drinks centre on motifs like the sakura. One we really enjoyed was the Blossom touch (THB 480), a smooth marriage of tastes with aromatic floral notes, it’s constructed using Japanese vermouth, gin, and blossom flower cordial. To pair, the Walk in Tokyo (THB 360) is a playful dessert shaped like a carp that’s meticulously crafted from meringue, chestnut, and hints of citrus.
The story of Zheng Yi Sao follows. In the 1800s at the age of 25, she raised one of China’s most intimidating pirate armies with more than 200,000 pirates under her command. Cocktails crafted to embody her journey are spirit forward, paralleling the cargo pirates often kept on their ships. One of the standouts, Dynasty sour (THB 480), is crafted from smoked bourbon, vermouth, citrus anise cordial, cherry, and comes with a small bottle of Argentinian Malbec. As the wine is added to the sour cocktail, the complexity of the drink changes because of the tannin and spices.
The last of the heroes is Rani Lakshmi Bai. One of India’s most prominent female figures, she became a symbol of resistance to occupying forces that ruled in the early 20th century. The cocktails representing this story are laced with ingredients commonly found in India. One shining example was Sun of Goa (THB 480) that combines Goan gin, with turmeric cordial, citrus, and champagne. To pair, the Chef Patissier recommends the Mumbai baba (THB 360), an exotic twist on the original French cake, it’s made using rose flower, saffron Chantilly, and is doused in spiced rum.
The bar also boasts an impressive selection of wines, spirits, and liqueurs, including over 72 different gins and 60 variations of rum. One of the more interesting aspects of the menu is the way drinks are listed, with dozens of vodkas and gins priced the same. This centres on the belief that customers should be able to choose what they like without worrying about price, tying in with Capella’s mission to curate experiences based on preference.
Equally as inspiring as the drinks, the food has been curated by a Michelin-starred chef and focuses on premium ingredients. One that I particularly enjoyed was Tuna tataki (THB 350), with ponzu, avocado, and ginger elevating the delicate flavours of raw tuna. Similarly, the Smoked Hamachi (THB 480) combines buttery yellowtail and foie gras tofu. The addition of yuzu helps cut through the richness, while the nori wafer adds a fun textural element. Another recommended dish, the Oscietra caviar (THB 540) is a luxurious plate of smoked sturgeon topped with generous amounts of caviar.
The menu also features fusion skewers, we sampled the Kushikatsu taraba crab (THB 520) that pairs sweet crab meat with a tangy salsa verde and Kushiyaki Rossini (THB 440), brochettes of Hokkaido scallops and creamy foie gras, topped with a truffle sauce.
Inspired by cocktail gatherings in the 1800s when punch bowls reigned supreme, Stella serves up Punch (THB 6,800) that serves six to eight patrons. One that caught my eye was the Elixir that combines Star of Bombay gin with Aversolvet Aquavit, oolong tea, lemon, sugar, yuzu, spices, and champagne.
Ground floor, Capella Bangkok
300/2 Charoen Krung Road, Yannawa
Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120
Open daily from 6pm onwards
Tel: 065 998 4674