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EKKA Grill & Bar is a hidden gem in the Indian cuisine scene of Bangkok

by Mahmood Hossain

A culinary ace up the sleeve.

By Mahmood Hossain

One of the many beautiful things about Bangkok is the pleasant surprises in culinary corners. EKKA Grill & Bar, located at 56 Surawong Road in Bang Rak, is an ideal example. The challenge for restaurants that specialise in Indian cuisine is that there is often very little wiggle room that sets them apart from the multiple Indian restaurants around town. Within various price ranges, these establishments must excel in particular aspects of the culinary and service fields. Some focus more on the quality of their menus, while others highly emphasise their ambience or exceptional service. But once a restaurant strikes a fine balance between all the essential ingredients (pun intended), without sacrificing quality and comfort, or becoming too focused on a single component, the overall experience is worth the wait.

EKKA Grill & Bar provides the staples of Indian cuisine in its most authentic form, comparable to what Indians would taste and feel coming out of their own kitchens. But just as South Asians would appreciate such fine dining, this should also appeal to the expat community. EKKA Grill & Bar seems to effortlessly cater to both crowds, of which I was part of the former. Although it becomes increasingly difficult to impress customers who frequently indulge in Indian cuisine, sometimes, all it takes are the basics, combined with wonderful service, that makes the biggest difference. It’ll fulfill your appetite and deliver the right amount of joy, and EKKA Grill & Bar does this gracefully.

First Impression

Unassuming from the outside, this Indian restaurant has a splash of interesting design choices, split between its traditional dining section to the left and its bar area situated to the right. There is also outdoor seating for those who want to stay closer to the city’s action. Inside is a collection of provoking wall art amidst comfy and casual seating, accompanied by a playlist of global chart poppers and Bollywood hits. My colleague and I were, what the kids say nowadays, ‘vibing’.

The restaurant’s dining area, filled with burnt-orange booths and mid-century-inspired netted-wicker chairs with olive green cushions, surrounds a see-through kitchen, giving patrons a peek into the cooking brilliance behind the veil. Suspended above are multiple caged bottles of liquor, tempting guests to indulge in the establishment’s cocktails only a few feet away. There is something strangely familiar and homely about Ekka Grill & Bar’s interior. To me, it was the blend of traditional furnishing complementing the theme of gold on earthy tones throughout the restaurant.

Food & Drinks

I’ve had several visits to eateries around town that offered their version of pani puri shots. At Ekka Grill & Bar, they were plated in the form of Dahi puri & pani puri shooters (THB 200), providing a stinging tangy jab to every morsel. If you’re having a meal there, this dish could serve as a solid kickstarter. In the same vein, the Avocado papdi chaat (THB 280) is a crispy and delightful alternative. Additionally, in the list of appetisers, the Aloo moti tikki (THB 200) offers spiced potatoes and sago pearl patties that pack the right amount of spice, paired with tamarind chutney.

It’s not too common for Indian restaurants to highlight an item like EKKA’s Seafood kebab set (THB 1,000). Served on a shovel’s rounded blade (the head of a shovel; yes, you read that correctly), the tandoori tiger prawns, salmon tikka, gunpowder calamari, and Amritsari fish fingers, provide a combination of seafood in tandoor you never knew you needed. Yet another dish freshly flamed out of the tandoor oven is the Paneer Peshawari tikka (THB 360), cottage cheese marinated with ajwain (carom) seeds, yoghurt and yellow chilli, which was soft to the touch and elevated by the various available chutneys to dip it in.

Heading toward the heftier options, we were spoiled with the Mutton beli ram (THB 480) – Punjabi style mutton curry, Paneer ki khurchan (THB 380) – a North Indian specialty made with paneer in an onion-tomato-capsicum sauce, and Daal ekka (THB 300) – black lentils simmered overnight with tomatoes and garlic, finished with churned butter. We dove into these with both the paratha and garlic naan for that finger-licking good experience. To top it off, and trying our best not to burst at the seams, was the Chettinad prawn biryani (THB 700). Cooked to absolute perfection.

My colleague and I realised that ‘surprise’ was undoubtedly the theme of our visit to EKKA Grill & Bar. Across the dining space and into the bar, their signature cocktails (all for THB 300), brilliantly prepared by the bartender, were yet another ace in the restaurant’s proverbial sleeves. Whether it was the Reposado fashion, Negro mojito, Bitchy berry, or the other tempting drinks on the menu, we were delighted to have beverages that had the right amount of alcohol mixed with delicious ingredients to create balanced cocktails. It’s comforting to know that EKKA Grill & Bar not only provides a proper dining experience, but also an appropriate setting for drinks and a conversation in the evening.

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As time progresses, I feel all-veg dishes have started to steal the show, regardless of the type of cuisine or restaurant. The Paneer makhanwala (THB 380), cottage cheese curry in a fenugreek-flavoured tomato curry, is no exception to our recent culinary excursions. It’s the simplicity and balance of flavours that provide the taste of home and fulfillment. We’d give this dish a standing ovation if our bellies hadn’t induced our bodies into a food coma.


56 Thanon Surawong, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok

Open on Mondays to Sundays from 11.30am to 11.30pm

Tel: 090 927 9494

Facebook & Instagram : @ekkabkk

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