A Soi Convent favorite breaks away from its Italian roots and now delivers exotic flavors spanning the entire Mediterranean
Husband and wife restaurateurs Choti Leenutaphong and Debby Tang (the couple that brought us Il Fumo and La Dotta) had us guessing when they announced that Vesper, their first foray into the Bangkok dining scene, would be undergoing major renovations. We expected a kitchen upgrade plus a repainting and a few furniture changes. Perhaps a revised menu as well. But when the curtain was raised, the renovation revealed an entirely new concept, one that sees the separation of the cocktail bar and the restaurant moving away from Italian flavors, going down a more adventurous road to explore the Mediterranean’s more exotic flavors.
Named after an ancient trade route that connected Northern Africa (Egypt, to be precise) to Syria, Via Maris is a casual and vibrant place that completely deviates from Vesper’s dim, bistro-like setting. The entrance displays a colorful floor-to-ceiling map of the Mediterranean region that’s festooned with cute doodles portraying ingredients indigenous to every country. Meanwhile, vintage posters and collectible plates from Southern Europe decorate the walls, evoking a tavern setting in an exotic, faraway land.
While most Mediterranean establishments in Bangkok limit their options to Southern European cuisine, Via Maris head chef Francesco Deiana takes the unconventional road and comes up with a menu that encompasses dishes from North African countries like Algeria and Tunisia. Each plate is a medley of exotic produce and multi-dimensional flavors. For example, olive oil-tossed grouper carpaccio (B380) is elevated with the sweetness of ripe figs and the zest of lemon granita, while saffron rice and sultana raisins infuse a delicate aroma and sweetness to a crispy suckling pig roulade (B650).
But Italian flavors are not completely absent from the menu. Deiana, who hails from Sardinia, playfully combines strawberry, honey and briny cured Bottarga fish roe with creamy burrata for an unconventional, sweet and salty starter (B420). Sicilian cooking, meanwhile, influences the couscous, which is cooked “Trapanese-style” with shrimp stock and topped with a generous amount of crustaceans (B590). For dessert, we recommend the roulade with date and orange filling (B290).
The food is flavorful and the vibe is friendly, plus service charge is not included in the bill. We won’t be surprised if, like its predecessor, Via Maris creates a buzz in Silom’s dining scene
|Venue name:||Via Maris|
|Opening hours:||Open Mon-Fri 12:00-14:30, 17:30-23:00, Sat-Sun 17:30-23:00|