Jess Barnes, the chef who transformed the city’s food scene by introducing unconventional comfort food at Opposite Mess Hall, is collaborating with the
folks behind River City’s riverside gastropub Viva & Aviv on an all-day breakfast joint that offers dishes brimming with Barnes’ signature twists .
The five-story Viva Thonglor building, now slowly being converted into a new F&B complex, is the location for Barnes’ latest endeavor. For now, only the first- floor eatery is open. Though it still features vintage industrial décor— gleaming Edison light bulbs, bare concrete walls and rustic leather furniture—the space now includes a display cabinet packed with meat, cold cuts, and cheese provided by local deli producer Sloanes.
The menu is typical Barnes, featuring a roll call of the chef ’s unorthodox mash-ups. Try the simple-looking smoked eggplant salad (B350), a hodgepodge dish
of Middle Eastern and Thai flavors that combines labneh (thick yogurt cheese) with toasted rice, lime, chili and a fiery dose of Romesco sauce, or the dumplings of shrimp and bone marrow in a tom yum-like broth made from lime and chili- injected beef stock (B600). Our vote, however goes to the dry-aged pork chop. Cooked to perfection, it benefits from the comforting sweetness of green pea purée and the spiciness of mustard (B700).
Viva Thonglor also serves classic cocktails, and intends to have more signature items once the cocktail bar on the third floor and a rooftop bar open in a few months