Oriental opulence with glamour, gastronomy, and great cocktails.
By Ashima Sethi
With branches all around the world in cities like London, Hong Kong, Miami, and Las Vegas, the Zuma name has become synonymous with three things: glamour, gastronomy, and great cocktails. In 2011, the Bangkok outpost of the celebrated restaurant chain opened its doors inside the prestigious The St. Regis Bangkok with the aim to elevate the traditional Japanese izakaya style of eating and drinking by crafting a dining experience that’s equally as elegant as it is fun. Years later, it’s evident that the restaurant achieved just that, as it’s become a go-to spot for meeting and mingling with celebrities and the hi- so crowd, who frequent the restaurant thanks to its premium quality cuisine and luxurious ambience.
Zuma’s biggest standout factor is its blend of indoor and outdoor space. The main dining room boasts a mix of round and long wooden tables, each with views of the traditional robata grill and sushi counter, and the walk-in wine cellar that encloses the private lounge seating. The indoor dining room seamlessly flows out to create the outdoor terrace thanks to foldable doors that open up the partition between the two spaces entirely. During our visit, we dined on the oasis- style terrace that made us forget we were dining in Bangkok’s CBD altogether.
FOOD AND DRINK
To begin, we sampled some of Zuma’s signature drinks. The zesty norisan (THB 195) was a great way to beat the Bangkok heat, but if you’re looking for punchier options, the restaurant also offers a selection of cocktails like the Zuma colada (THB 295), their unique reimagining of a pina colada served in a baby coconut; the invigorating Mango & yuzu ramos (THB 295) served with a crispy mango wafer; and my personal favourite, the Semei sour (THB 485), a smoky whisky-based concoction that’s presented in a fashion fit for boasting about on social media, a giant vial.
After our introduction to the bar offerings, we moved on to their appetisers. To whet our palates, we were served the White miso soup with tofu, wakame and spring onion (THB 195), a deeply savoury soup that exemplifies the ‘umami’ flavour profile. Next, we tucked into the Avocado salad (THB 380), where creamy slices of avocado are served alongside crunchy vegetables and drizzled over with a tangy, slightly spicy lemon dressing.
Another recommended starter for vegetarians, the Spicy fried tofu (THB 390) is dressed in an array of uniquely Japanese herbs, making every silky bite an interesting emulsion of flavours. For seafood fans, one of my favourites from the starters was the Thinly sliced sea bass (THB 390) a dish that featured delicate cuts of raw fish topped with salmon roe and truffle oil whose richness is cut through thanks to the inclusion of tangy yuzu.
Moving onto mains, next we enjoyed a truly spectacular selection of Zuma’s raw delights (price on request) served atop an Instagram-worthy stone platter. To choose from were several types of vegetarian maki crafted from ingredients like creamy avocado and deep fried tofu; spicy tuna maki made using homemade chilli miso; several types of nigiri; fresh sashimi ranging from salmon and red tuna to scallops and yellowtail; and a bowl of buttery uni (sea urchin). Perfect for sharing, the seafood was fresh and flavourful.
If raw seafood doesn’t tickle your fancy, Zuma offers a plethora of other mains that are cooked. One of their signature dishes is the Miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf (THB 1,520), where the fish is marinated in a mixture of savoury sauces and then grilled until tender and flaky, and served with a creamy, aioli-style sauce, a fitting complement to the buttery essences of the cod. Another signature main is the Spicy beef tenderloin (1,340) that’s dished up with hints of sesame, red chilli and sweet soy. As an addition to our mains, we opted for the Sweet corn (THB 350) that’s covered in a herbaceous shiso butter and then grilled until charred.
Before moving onto desserts, we tucked into their rendition of a Japanese risotto (THB 550). Cooked table-side from a stone ‘hot pot,’ the rice was creamy and the mix of different mushrooms gave the dish a rich, earthy flavour profile. The Japanese influence in the cuisine remains prominent in Zuma’s desserts. We had the pleasure of sampling three of their most popular, the Mango and young coconut custard, passion fruit froth (THB 280); Green tea and banana cake (THB 280); and my favourite, the rich, semi- sweet Chocolate lava cake (THB 490).
As someone who genuinely loves delicacies with raw fish, Zuma’s Salmon and tuna tartare (THB 680) was my favourite of the night. Served in a statement wooden ice bowl with two different types of crispy crackers for scooping, each tartare was moreish and well- seasoned without overpowering the fatty, delicious essences of the fish.
Ground floor, The St. Regis Bangkok,
159 Ratchadamri Road, Pathum Wan,
Pathum Wan District,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Open daily for lunch from 11.30am to 2.45pm and dinner from 6pm to 11.30pm
Tel: 02 252 4707