They’re raising the steaks.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
When I discovered that The District Grill Room & Bar was located at the ritzy Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, not too far from my own home, I was immediately intrigued, as a good surf-and-turf restaurant is always the perfect haunt to bring friends you’re wishing to impress – assuming they’re a fan of premium steaks and seafood. Moreover, having learned of their Chef Christian’s culinary accomplishments, including Michelin stars for L’Orangerie in Belgium and Hostellerie de Levernois in France, I was even more eager to sample their offerings.
I’ve recently been to a few surf-and-turf restaurants, and there’s always something about them that encompasses the epicurean experience, whether it’s the promise of culinary indulgence, or the carefully-curated atmosphere. The District Grill Room & Bar is no exception; immediately whisking me away to a moody and intimate scene with its dark wood and chrome palette, strategic red lighting, and comfortable seating that invites you to sink in.
A wine cellar greets you as you walk in, a promise of the premium labels they have on offer, and you walk past a bar of magnificent proportions, where I was told that unique and innovative cocktails are prepared by their bartenders in eye-catching and entertaining ways. Further on, an open kitchen in pride of place allows you to see the fire dance as the grill is being fired up; mesmerising in the best way. A single, striking red rose is placed at each sable table, underscoring the sense of romance that I could tell the restaurant was trying to create.
FOOD AND DRINK
I was informed that Chef Christian was Thai-born but with extensive European experience, which means that he brings a unique understanding of both culinary cultures to the (literal) table. To that end, the restaurant offers classic flavours and dishes in contemporary ways, bringing a fun twist to fine dining. As we were waiting for the food, we were served a complimentary brioche fresh out of the oven with a selection of butters and even salt; my favourite start to any meal. Crisp on the outside and fluffy as a cloud on the inside, as it should be, I have to admit that I indulged far too much before the meal even began.
Next, each of us were served with a complimentary amuse bouche, one that we were told was the chef’s own creation and changes every day. For us, it was a silky-smooth chicken-liver mousse in a mini ice cream cone, a melt-in-your-mouth bite; and tuna tartare with fish roe on a thin slice of brioche bread, piquant and spicy to whet your appetite.
For our appetisers, we started with The district caesar salad (THB 450) a classic dish comprised of heart of Romaine lettuce, crispy bacon, and anchovies, and a delicious Caesar salad dressing made with Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and garlic that was extremely moreish. This was followed by one of my favourite dishes of the night, The district hokkaido scallops (THB 850) with two outsized and extremely fresh scallops in their own shell, served atop a bed of pebbles (something that I always jest is an indication that you’re eating at a fine-dining restaurant). Each shell contained a generous helping of green peas, sautéed baby spinach, bacon, and an indulgent white wine cream sauce, all to add texture and flavour to the briny scallop – I recommend eating the entirety in a bite, if you can.
Of course, no visit would be complete without sampling their steak offerings, and we were served their Australian black angus beef grain fed 150 days, tenderloin (180g) (THB 1,690), cooked medium-rare to perfection. Tender and juicy, the steak was the perfect proportion and paired perfectly with the potato gratin, sundried tomatoes, and red-wine marinated shallots on the side, with a sprinkling of beetroot powder for a unique aftertaste. You can pair this with your choice of sauces – we went for the Truffle mushroom cream (THB 60) for that extra-luxe touch.
For those who prefer the ‘surf’ part of the surf-and-turf, their Pan-fried snow fish (THB 1,450) is not to be missed, delightfully flaky and with more subtle flavours but a delicious lavender beurre blanc to add richness. It’s served with rosemary baby potatoes and tomato antipasti on the side, which we couldn’t get enough of.
Finally, we ended our meal with dessert, starting with my favourite kind, the Skillet gooey brownie (THB 590). Cooked in just the right way, with a delicious crisp on the outside, and of course the piping-hot, dark gooey chocolate on the inside, the dessert was sublime and only improved by salted caramel ice cream instead of vanilla. The star of the show (and of our Instagram stories), however, was The district cigar (THB 350) a delicate concoction of Valrhona white chocolate mousse and smoked rosemary in a thin chocolate tube shaped like a cigar, and hazelnut jello to offset the cream. The end result was a stunning and innovative dish that packed a smoky punch – definitely one to check out.
Their menu has an impressive array of premium wine labels and cocktails, but we chose to instead sample their mocktails, such as their eminently-refreshing Cucumber lychee (THB 270) with fresh cucumber muddles and lychee gomme for extra sweetness; and their Summer magic (THB 250) drink which, true to its name, tastes of summer with orange, berries, lemon, and honey. If you’d like non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails, I’d recommend either the Mango margarita (THB 270) or the Raspberry mojito (THB 250) which will keep you effervescent without the booze.
The Spicy marinated pork ribs (THB 790) which were fall-off-the-bone tender and perfectly spiced. Served on grilled sour bread to soak up the juices, make sure to add lashings of your choice of sauce for a wholly decadent experience.
THE DISTRICT GRILL ROOM & BAR
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit 2 Sukhumvit Soi 57 Klongtan Nua, Wattana 10110 Bangkok, Thailand
Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11.30am to 8pm
Tel: 02 797 0000