Something New, Something Borrowed

Posted on June 8, 2015

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The iconic Coco’s Cafe restaurant at the Bangkok Hotel Lotus on Sukhumvit 33 emerges with new palates and palettes. BY REENA KARIM

Steeped in history, the legendary Coco’s Cafe at Bangkok Hotel Lotus had been reintroduced earlier this year after an extensive refurbishing. Throngs of people showed up to honour this iconic establishment which has catered to loyal patrons for over two decades. The subtle revamp of the restaurant pays homage to its heritage, further cementing its prominence as one of Bangkok’s most beloved dining institutions.

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We marvelled at the restaurant’s exciting new make-over, and its elegant all white interior. Updated furniture and upholsteries as well as metallic fixtures and lighting reflect the hotel’s modern feel and the vibrant spirit of the city. The walls are adorned with alternating large mirrors and blonde wood panels, while the tables get delicate flower arrangements and candles. Porcelain animal figurines line the glass shelves, adding a quirky feel to the interior. The heavy drapery has been replaced by floor to ceiling glass which provides a striking view of the pool area and then the city beyond. The sun-flushed space includes a live tandoor as a centrepiece, along with a teppanyaki station, a sushi bar, and a platform dedicated to their in-house Bollywood band, the Spice Bandits.

The multi-faceted restaurant has an all-day tapas fare comprising of dim sum, sushi, and an Asian fusion menu. At dinnertime diners can indulge in an expansive Indian and Chinese menu, while all-you-can-eat fans can feast on an international buffet, available on Friday and Saturday, as well as a vegetarian buffet every Sunday. What’s more, the poolside — area with loungers and rattans – makes a great outdoor location for a weekend brunch, or an al fresco dining experience in the evenings.

THE FOOD
The restaurant’s dedicated in-house chefs have also given the menu a timely make-over. Indian Chef Dhuruv works his magic on north Indian delicacies and tandoori items, while working the teppanyaki station and the meat grill is Chef Eddy who brings his American sushi skills to the table. The restaurant’s Indian-Chinese selection, including the vast dim sum spread, comes from the menu of the hotel’s Xing Fu restaurant, which is currently undergoing renovations.

We started our gastronomic journey with a plate of Chicken Tacos (B280). The home-made shells came filled with spiced chicken and topped with crème fraiche, olive, and cheese. The great thing about these appetisers is that they come in bite sizes, which makes them easy to eat, not to mention totally mess-free (especially if you are a klutz like me). Following that was the flavourful Paneer Jalapeno (B280) –masaledaar cottage cheese stuffed inside cylinders of jalapeno. The flavour of the spices combined with the heat of the jalapeno was the perfect kick-start to the main course ahead of us.

But before we could move on, our host insisted we try Amritsari Macchi (B390) – light and flavourful fish, fried in tandoori spices and topped with tangy chaat masala. Another of his suggestions we couldn’t resist was the Schezwan Chicken Tikka (B540), a dish that best exemplifies the union between Indian-Chinese cuisine. The tender boneless pieces were spiced with an Indo-Chinese sauce made of garlic, ginger, and Kashmiri red chilli, and grilled just enough to keep it moist.

Our mains included a variety of creamy dals, Makhan Me Daal and Dal Panchmel (B295 each) that complimented baskets of soft and buttery garlic naan, methi paratha, and missi roti (B140 each). The Kurkuri Bhindi (B295) – thin slices of okra tossed in besan (gram flour) and corn flour and sprinkled with chaat masala – is a unique way of presenting this nutritious veggie. Next arrived Hyderabadi Nawabi Mutton Biryani (B410). Imagine warm cinnamon, shreds of saffron, cumin, and yogurt blending together with long grains of basmati rice and chunks of tender mutton, all topped with roasted onions and a hint of rose water. It was a treat for our senses. Meanwhile the rich Shahi Rogan Josh (B680) with succulent mutton only elevated the experience.

Despite a hearty lunch, we gave into our collective sweet tooth by indulging in servings of warm Gulab Jamun and creamy Kulfi (B240 each) which arrived as an ice cream popsicle on a stick.

THE DRINK
Complementing our lunch was the restaurant’s own light and tangy Shikanjvi (B180) which served as a refreshing palate cleanser in-between our courses. Helping us digest the food were glasses of spiced Buttermilk Chaach (B180) whose taste reminded me of my home in Calcutta. Of course, no meal is complete without a cup of Masala Chai (B180), a perfect brew to round out a hearty meal.

Coco’s Cafe
1 Soi Daeng Udom, Sukhumvit Soi 33
02- 610- 0111
http://www.cocosukhumvit33.com

Something New Something Borrowed

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Posted in: Dining