Michelin-starred food, unique iced teas, and nostalgic tunes that’ll get you jiving.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Having recently visited the Sindhorn Midtown Hotel Bangkok for the grand opening of their after-dark haunt and whiskey bar, The Black Cat, I was eager to once again step into the charming hotel in the heart of Langsuan, this time to check out Bangkok’78, their latest F&B offering. Located on the 1st floor of the hotel, the eclectic space instantly whisks you away to the Bangkok of the 70s, greeting you with a wall of brightly-painted wooden screens in primary colours, tiled floors in retro-inspired patterns, and a variety of comfortable seating options for a large, convivial meal with friends.
I was informed that the designers, P49 Design and Associates, wanted to evoke the streets and skyline of a Bangkok of yesteryear, and this was immediately apparent as we walked through the deceptively large restaurant. In pride of place is a life-size Tuk tuk jutting out of a vibrantly painted wall, the requisite Instagrammable spot; arches of brushed concrete frame rattan wall panels in a riot of patterns, a reference to Bangkok’s ubiquitous street food stalls, then and now; and hand-painted art of 1970s Bangkok is dotted throughout the space; the result of which is a lively and yet carefully-curated cacophony of colour that perfectly encapsulates the joie de vivre of the era.
To fit the theme, ‘roadside stalls’ were installed throughout the space, ‘selling’ wares straight from Bangkokians’ nostalgic reminiscences, from ring pops, to clear plastic guns and traditional namtan pan candy in a variety of colours and shapes. Filtering through the space were tunes from a playlist of hits from the 70s, harking back to the halcyon, carefree days of Bangkok past.
The joint collaborates with the one-Michelin-starred Saneh Jaan restaurant, offering some of the greatest hits of Thai cuisine, including street-food favourites such as lookchin goong and kor moo yang, scrumptious finger food that we sampled to our hearts content from the food-laden tables and stalls around us. Chef Phukvarun ‘Golf’ Watchmon and her team are in charge of preparing these dishes, and diners can watch them work their magic at the open kitchen.
During the event, we were also served a tasting menu of some of their best dishes, starting with their Grilled long eggplant spicy salad with minced pork and soft-boiled egg, a flavourful bite to whet our appetites. We then tucked into a couple of curries, their delicious Southern Thai yellow curry with sea bass, which packed the heat and flavours expected from Southern cuisine, and one of my favourites of the night, the Mon red curry with grilled pork neck, a savoury and beautifully-spiced rice-puller that had us eating the jasmine rice on offer in abundance. Finally, we tried the Cowslip flowers stir-fry with glass noodles and fermented sour pork, another classic Thai dish that was light on the palate, and brought back memories of scarfing down this exact dish in the kitchen of my family home.
To pair with the dishes, we sampled RIVAL Sparkling Fusion wines from Australia, fused with Thai coconut for a wholly refreshing tipple, or with Thai mangosteen for a more bracing drink. These and a range of other international wines will be available at Bangkok’78, which also offers an ‘Iced Tea Programme’ with four signature iced teas: lemon, lemongrass with ginger, chrysanthemum and pandan, and raspberry. I would especially recommend the lemongrass with ginger for those who enjoy their beverages aromatic and herbaceous.
While we were making our way through the tasting menu, the sense of nostalgia was heightened even further by an incredible live band that entertained us until the end of the night. Composed of three separate musical artists who were brought together for the one night, they regaled us with lively renditions of dancefloor classics such as “YMCA,” which had everyone out of their seats and dancing without a care in the world; channelling the spirit of a decade where disco reigned supreme.
1st floor, Sindhorn Midtown Hotel Bangkok, 68 Langsuan Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan Bangkok 10330
Tel: 02 796 8888
•Weekday lunch: 11:30am –3:00pm
•Weekend lunch: 11:30am –5:00pm
•Dinner: 5:00pm –10:00pm daily