| December 8, 2008 at 07:36 pm
In the highly stylized dining room of Flava, located in the Dream Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 15 in Bangkok, one can tend to forget that one is there for fine food and not to be part of a scene that could be described as trendy — or otherwise. The fact remains, though, that this is a restaurant that puts food on the top of the list when it comes to impressing customers, serving both Thai food and international food. Yes, the decor is certainly cutting edge and the atmosphere is probably something that you could find in New York or possibly another hip large city, with its wide-open hardwood floor spaces and recessed ceiling lights that are offset by the almost-garish orange-themed decor. Comfortable seating keeps the furnishings from being pretty but impractical, and the muted sound in the dining area, at least in the early evening, has a presence but not a seat at the table with you. The designers obviously wanted you to pay attention to their work but they wisely kept from overdesigning
like many others have done when trying to pull out all the stops to demonstrate their sense of hipness and style. Sometimes style is demonstrated by restraint, after all. The chef and his helpers don’t show a tremendous amount of restraint in the kitchen, however, as they pile on the flavors and textures in some dishes but rely on basic tastes and simple design in others. Appetizers like the Seared & Marinated Pacific Tuna with Mirin dressing on chilled papaya & chili soba rice noodles and the Florida Bowl (avocado, tomato & buffalo mozzarella) on roasted garlic bruchetta with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil illustrate these two different approaches. In both cases the end result was very satisfying; it was the route there that provided the contrast. The menu has no discernible, over-riding influence, although there is an Italian section of risottos and pastas. The rest of the dishes could have come from a dozen different cuisine-themed menus, and fit together in a rough sort of way allowing diners to indulge in some of their favorite simple comfort foods — Vienna Schnitzel or a Char Grilled Angus Beef Fillet, perhaps — or take a bit of an adventure with something like the Tasmanian Salmon Steak stuffed with crab meat & spinach and baked in soy milk. And the Thai food section is unique for a restaurant of this type since it consists of a wide variety of favorites, not just a token few dishes. There is something else rather distinctive about this restaurant: the prices. Prices in a restaurant are usually not that important unless they’re artificially high or unusually low. In this case it’s the latter, so you’ll have to remind yourself that you’re not dreaming when you see the final bill.
See http://bangkokdining.ning.com/profiles/blog/list for info on Bangkok restaurants.