The mastermind behind cool brunch joint Roast delves into the fine-dining arena
Varatt Vichit-Vadakan, one of the purveyors of the brunch culture in Bangkok, and part-owner of cool eatery Roast and hip coffeeshop Roots explores unfamiliar territory with the launch of a new fine-dining restaurant called Ocken.
Its name a portmanteau of “octopus” and “chicken”—the two main ingredients in the first sample dish created during the menu-making process—Ocken is one of the first outlets to open in the newly refurbished Bhiraj Tower at Sathorn (formerly Bangkok Code). The establishment takes a different direction in decor from Varatt’s other hipster-friendly outlets. The low-lit dining room is a study in dusky hues, with teal and brown tiles grounding dark wooden tables. In contrast, the open kitchen is a bright space manned by busy chefs and line cooks.
Chef Johnny Liu, formerly of Horse Says Moo, has created a menu that revolves around five categories (snacks, starters, salad, mains and dessert). Start off your meal with fried Barron Point oysters (B300/2 pieces, B850/6 pieces) that have been marinated in chili sauce and wasabi. The zest and heat in each bite are balanced out by creamy cilantro remoulade and cucumber. Follow it up with the mini Cubanos (finger sandwiches stuffed with braised pulled pork, gruyere and Swiss cheese, and jalapeño, B220) or the salmon roll (a mini cone made up of nori and crispy potato that’s filled with salmon belly, smoked salmon roe and genmai mayonnaise, B420).
The combination of pan-national culinary influences have resulted in imaginative mains such as the capellini pasta (B450). Taking influences from Asian-style cold noodles, the dish benefits from the naturally sweet and refreshing notes of clarified tomato water and zucchini sauce. Creamy burrata and crispy prosciutto inject a twinge of saltiness. Another fusion dish, the lamb rack (B850) is livened up by a blend of harissa (Middle Eastern chili paste) and yogurt.
Ocken is highly popular and it may take a while for walk-in guests to get a table. While waiting, you can grab a seat at the bar and indulge in classic cocktails or more creative mixes such as the cold brew coffee-injected Café Punt e Mes (B340), which also has a dash of red vermouth and rosemary syrup—it’s the perfect aperitif before venturing into the exciting flavors that are yet to come.
Bhiraj Tower at Sathorn
South Sathorn Road
|Opening hours:||Open Tue-Sun 18:00-midnight|