A sky-high visit to Shanghai.
By Tom McLean
Shining like a beacon at the top of Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse, Yào Rooftop Bar is the city’s only Chinese restaurant-cum-rooftop lounge. Situated directly above Yào Restaurant, this sky-high venue is a far more contemporary take on the Chinese dining experience than its downstairs counterpart, flaunting a modern Shanghai influence that’s reflected in its subtly oriental designs and specially-curated refreshments.
The menu is adapted from Yào Restaurant and adjusted to complement the rooftop bar experience, with signature dishes revamped into more finger-appropriate fare. Benefitting from the kitchen’s long-established culinary expertise, the rooftop serves up authentic Chinese food with a side of jaw-dropping views.
After making our way to the 32nd floor, we were guided to a separate elevator which took us up to the rooftop. Stepping outside, we were greeted with panoramic views of the wild blue yonder. Oriental inspired music, modest Chinese motifs, and smatterings of greenery made for a serene ambience that transported us away from the hubbub of the city below.
Wooden openwork furnishings, marble tables, and ornate flooring gave the venue an additional, opulent flourish. Settling into a pair of comfortable armchairs and a two-seater sofa, we really felt like we’d made it to the top of the world. From where we sat, we could see the Temple of Dawn, the Grand Palace, and even the ICONSIAM shopping mall, with the restaurant’s staff assuring me that the rooftop is one of the best places in the city to watch New Year fireworks. Larger group tables were also available, as well as high-chairs for some extra altitude. As the sun began to set, we were pleased to discover that the menus had backlights, so we could peruse Yào’s offerings with ease.
FOOD AND DRINK
Yào Rooftop Bar offers an appetising selection of à la carte dishes, as well as Chinese-influenced cocktails. We started off with a selection of their signature dim sum, first and foremost being the Xiao long bao pork dumpling (THB 138). Filled with a hot broth, these delightful dumplings were an explosion of savoury goodness that left us wanting more. Next up came Crab claws with shrimps and lime chili sauce (THB 188). A testament to the chef’s aptitude, the crab and shrimp meat was perfectly cooked and had a satisfying bite, with subtle notes of lime and chili cutting through the smacks of umami.
Likewise, the Crab and fish wrapped in tofu sheet (THB 288) was a delectable fried dim sum dish featuring crispy tofu pillows stuffed with fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth seafood. We also tried the Sticky rice with Chinese sausage, and mushroom wrapped in lotus leaf (THB 188), a substantial, carb-based dish infused with mushroom flavour and peppered with sweet bites of Chinese sausage.
For those of us of a plant-based persuasion, the Vegetables dumpling (THB 128) was the ultimate luxury snack, with fragrant hits of garlic and a moreish, vegetable filling. We washed these down with a glass of Yào’s Dragon dance (THB 485) cocktail. Pairing gin and dry Vermouth with passion fruit and lime juice, the drink was both sweet and sharp, making it a perfect dim-sum palate cleanser.
Moving onto main courses, we sampled the Peking duck roll with caviar and wasabi (THB 428). These Peking duck pancakes come pre-rolled for your convenience and are filled with a delectable assortment of ingredients. The addition of caviar raises this classic dish to another level, adding a salty element to the duck and offsetting the sweetness of the sauce. We then tried the Deep-fried soft shell crab with dried chili (THB 498). Served in a fried noodle ‘birds nest’, this dish was decadent and delicious, with generous lashings of garlic and chillies giving the sweet, soft shell crab an extra level of flavour. We enjoyed these along with Yào’s intriguing Szechuan cocktail (THB 458). Combining vodka, lychee juice, and Kaffir lime leaf syrup, a slice of chilli floating in the glass gave the drink a spicy touch.
If you’re in the mood for something heavier, the Hand cut noodle with spicy pork gravy sauce old Peking style (THB 268) was a hearty and sizeable dish, with freshly-pulled noodles served in a smooth and flavoursome gravy – the perfect choice to soak up some alcohol. We had this alongside the Szechuan fried chicken with chili and cashew nuts (THB 528). Piquant and crispy, real Szechuan chillies gave the chicken a tingly edge. Drinks wise, we elected for the Chinese mule (THB 378), Yào’s inspired take on the Moscow mule, featuring vodka, fresh ginger, and a secret, homemade spice mix.
For fans of more carnivorous fare, the Marinated beef shank with Chinese herb (THB 568) was an aromatic and appetising dish. Subtle herbs and spices added depth without overshadowing the quality of the beef. We then finished on the Yin Yang (THB 588) cocktail. Equal parts dessert and drink, Baileys Irish Cream and vodka are paired with chocolate ice cream and Crème de Cacao White, making this a very indulgent pick-me-up. We were especially impressed with how Yào’s mixologist managed to create the yin and yang symbol on the top of the glass by separating the cream and chocolate ingredients.
The BBQ Platter-roasted duck, BBQ pork, crispy pork (THB 988). While roast duck and crispy pork are abundant in Bangkok, Yào’s version was by far one of the best we have ever tried. Every element of this grand Chinese platter was cooked to perfection and improved upon with premium ingredients and delicate twists, epitomising Yào Rooftop Bar’s first-class approach towards gastronomy and hospitality.
Yào Rooftop Bar
Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse,
262 Thanon Surawong, Si Phraya,
Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Tel: 02 088 5666
Facebook and Instagram: @yaobangkok