Last Updated: July 25, 2015
Charcoal Tandoori Grill and mixology is where owner Rohit Sachdev revives centuries old Indian recipes in a refined restaurant right in the heart of Bangkok. His love for creating new, fresh concepts comes to life in this very restaurant.
Charcoal was conceived from the get-go as a unique Indian restaurant due to the lack of quantity as well as quality of Indian offerings in Bangkok.
Unlike typical Indian restaurants, the inspiration for Charcoal lies in the use of classic tandoors and North-Western Indian cuisines, so don’t expect to see much curries here.The industrial dining setting in Charcoal is contemporary with the heavy use of plank wood and dark metal, in addition to throwing in elements of rustic Indian culture; from copper kettles to the bustling sounds of Mumbai’s streets in the washroom, the blend of sophistication with heritage at Charcoal is seamless.
Tables and seats are designed to be intimate and for sharing amongst family members rather than a stifled fine-dining affair.
Authentic tandoor kebabs are char-grilled over smoky charcoal in faithfully recreated copper-clad ovens – dishes come out moist and with a hint of smokiness but have to be consumed fast lest they dry up.
There is no thermometer when using a classic tandoor, and the only way is by feeling and seeing the heat, then adjusting the coals accordingly. This ancient technique depends heavily on the chef’s experience and is no easy feat to pull off.
Executive Chef Deepanker Khosla has cooked for the King of Qatar and a slew of international ambassadors before joining Charcoal. His particular love for seafood sourced from local suppliers and experience in handling tandoors puts him in an excellent position to manage the kitchen in Charcoal and to present us dinner for tonight.
The night starting with drinks, and Charcoal confers some innovative cocktails that blend the best of Indian ingredient and spices with modern mixology.
New Delhi Duty Free (300 THB) is a cocktail delivered to guests in a plastic duty free bag complete with Indian passport – a concoction of Barcadi rum, Indian mango, chili, honey and lime.
The chili can get a bit too heavy for a drink to start the night, but its always refreshing to taste a spicy cocktail.
Mystic tea pot (300 THB). House infused gin with Assam black tea, fresh lemon juice, passionfruit and honey.
Shaken and poured from a Boroski-designed long spouted cocktail shaker and presented in a Mumbai tea pot with tea biscuits. This was my favorite cocktail of the night with gin and tea always making a great floral combination. Extra tartness from the passionfruit is balanced with the honey for a smooth easy, cocktail.
Paneer Tikka (350 THB). Cubes off fresh cottage cheese marinated in cream, gram flour, mild spices and yellow chillies grilled in the tandoor. A chewy, meaty cheese cube that has its pungent cheesy flavour accommodated by the accompanying mild spices.
Tandoori Malai Broccoli (350 THB/ 5 pieces). Fresh broccoli marinated in hung yoghurt (the thickened yoghurt after draining it), cream cheese, malt vinegar and green chilies then grilled in the tandoor.
The marination and grill creates a softer stalk, turning the typically boring broccoli into an amalgamation of creaminess with a firmer center.
Tandoori Jhinga prawns (850 THB / 3 pieces). Fresh jumbo prawns, marinated in Indian spices with yoghurt, red chili, tumeric and garam masala and grilled in their own shell.
The Jhinga prawns were definitely the highlight of the meal for me, given the impressive size, freshness of the prawns and flavorful marinates that worked in harmony to bring out the taste of India without overpowering the seafood.
Murgh Malai Kabab (420 THB / 5 pieces). Chunks of boneless chicken blended with cream cheese, hung yoghurt and malt vinegar spiced with free chili and whole coriander then tandoor-grilled.
No doubt, the marinate produced a juicy tender cut, but the spice flavours tend to get a bit repetitive with the other dishes.
Angaar Ki Pasliyaan (700 THB / 3 pieces). New Zealand lamb chops softened overnight in Indian kebab marinate of red chili, cumin, malt vinegar and ginger garlic.
The heavy spices treat the usual pungent smell of lamb very well, complimenting the meat with equally matched seasoning. Charred on the exterior while maintaining moist flesh, that’s the beauty of a tandoor grill.
Turrah Naan (100 THB). Crispy, white flour naan shaped in a elephant’s tusk meant as a salute to guests. Nothing to spectacular about its taste, but its upright shape is an impressive greeting.
Pudina Parantha (100 THB). A tandoori paratha drizzled with mint.
Murgh Yakhni Biryani (500 / 900 THB). Spring chicken and aromatic Basmati pilao rice, flavoured with fragrant spices is sealed and slow cooked with a lid sealed with dough to retain the fragrances released within.
Mix up the gravy at the bottom of the pot with the basmati rice to get the full experience of dum biryani – perfumed and delectable with multiple layers of taste.
Shedh E Jaam (150 THB). Reduced milk dumplings stuffed with pistachio and cardamon then deep-fried and doused in light honey syrup.
This is bite-sized diabetes right here, and definitely not my cup of tea. A old-school favorite dessert in many Indian families though.
Phirni (200 THB). A light dessert made from milk and ground basmati rice, flavoured iwth cardamon and topped with pistachios and almonds.
Made from basmati rice, this is technically a porridge/congee but has a much smoother texture and way less sweet, allowing you to appreciate the nut textures and cardamon spice.
Dubbed as an “Indian steakhouse”, Charcoal Tandoor Grill definitely brings something different to the table not offered much where else in Bangkok. From the interior design to food preparation, much detailed consideration has been put in by the restaurant owner for a sensory enterprise.
Expected Damage: 900 THB – 1500 THB per pax