Bangkok thrives on its eclectic nature that draws us in repeatedly. This city seemed bent on becoming the “land of malls” with a culture so open to expressing oneself has establishments that are both eye catching, and engaging concepts springing up in and around the malls we’ve grown to love.
Standing out amongst the countless malls vying for your attention, GROOVE has a concept that is youth-centric. With more than 15 establishments in its open-air dining area to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something that will pique your interest. Here are some shops that we recommend visiting.
HYDE & SEEK peek-a-boo
Going out for drinks in Singapore is expensive, and if you ever find yourself at a modern cocktail bar, expensive becomes a bit of an understatement for most of us.
The cocktails at Hyde & Seek peek-a-boo will take your senses on a trip. Not just shaken or stirred, the cocktails here are layers of flavours and textures each with a story to tell.
As we found ourselves drinking during the day, the aptly named day dreams (325 THB) as the ethereal fog rolled down and around the glass it was served in, with fresh watermelon as its base, the cocktail was refreshingly sweet with a mild kick of the vodka and liqueur at the end of each sip.
No complaints about the melon crumble that sits atop the glass, not only was it fun to eat texture-wise, also, it reminded me of maple syrup, which I believe tastes good with everything.
If you love a bit of theatre with your drink or meal, nam doc mai (325 THB) is both a cocktail and a show. The drink takes what is arguably Thailand’s most famous dessert, mango sticky rice, and makes it more appealing to adults.
With rice out of the equation, it leaves room for the deliciously sweet Thai mango to be paired with vodka and botanical liqueurs and flavours.
If you’re just looking to drink more than the recommended number of alcoholic beverages per day, the beer buffet (699 THB every Tuesday 7-10pm) would be right up your alley.
Address: HYDE & SEEK peek-a-boo, GROOVE ground floor | Expected damage: 200–1600 THB | Opening hours: 10am–1am (last order at midnight) | Facebook
“Api” translates to “grand” from Thai to English, so If you’re looking for a moment of reprieve from the bustling streets, and Thai cuisine taken up a few notches in the refinement department, look no further than Apinara.
Apinara’s modern Thai inspired interior is woody, with a reliance of natural light. Everything, from the rattan-like weavings on the wall, peculiar looking medieval fans and cutlery complement one another, tying the Apinara’s concept together.
Now for the main event, the food. For all the well thought out interior design and aesthetically pleasing features, Apinara walks the talk, putting together a menu that features dishes from across Thailand that taste as good as they look.
Yum bai mon krob (270 THB) or fried mulberry leaves will make all the carnivores more inclined to eat their greens, or at least try something that’s green. The deep fried leaves are so crisp and delicate that a klutz like me had it crumbling into bits in my fingers on my first try.
All the more reason to go for seconds, or thirds. The dish comes with a deceptively spicy-citrusy dip with prawns that have to be carefully placed on the leaves to avoid shattering them. A little challenging to eat for heavy handed folks but, well worth the extra work.
The next dish is a mouth-full both to eat and to say, chu chee koong mae nam (300 THB) are river prawns in a thick, mildly sweet and spicy sauce.
Personally, I found the whole prawn, shell and all to be edible, with the head and shell easy enough to crunch up. For those unaccustomed to eating prawns in their entirety, the head and shell often trap the sauce and good bits that it’s cooked in. Have a go at it!
Desserts in Thailand are typically decadent, containing coconut in some way, shape or form. Bua loy ka ti nara (80 THB) with salted egg and rice dumplings (95 THB), will instantly remind you of bubur cha cha, however, the differences are just as easy to recognise.
This Thai dessert is noticeably thicker with the coconut more pronounced, which also comes in a version with additional salted egg and rice dumplings, however, we had to tap out lest we wanted to explode in a rain of Thai food.
Bingsu took Singapore by storm awhile back, perhaps mekha with assorted Thai sweet condiments(180/220 THB) will hit our shores soon and be raved about with the same amount of fervour in no time.
Opting for the Thai milk tea flavoured mekha because there’s an unspoken rule to have the iconic beverage daily when in Thailand. There wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy about this cloud of shaved ice, with the assortment of condiments providing contrasting textures and flavours. However, my personal favourites are the glutinous rice and peanuts.
Address: Apinara, GROOVE 2nd floor | Opening hours: 11am-2am | Facebook
When not attracting the masses with it’s bright lights, Central World has a flea-market at its doorstep with vendors peddling street food and souvenirs. A vibrant scene to behold altogether.
A towering and sprawling shopping mall that’s easy to lose yourself in, you might find yourself walking around for a time longer than expected, albeit not entirely on purpose. Central World does have shops worth checking out if you’re looking to bring something home, and compiled here are a couple to look out for.
KARMAKAMET Secret World
I’m not one to have scented candles lit at the end of a day. That isn’t something I’ve taken the trouble to work into part of my life. But for those who are crazy about these alluring scents, KARMAKAMET is a playground for your senses.
Walk into the shop and you’ll be greeted by a myriad of scented products. To my simpleton nose, the combined aroma of all the scents was a tad overpowering.
Whether you choose to bring back scented candles, incense sticks or aromatherapy oils to banish the mustiness and smell of mildew that comes with tropical humidity, have a spot of tea at the shop or do both, this shop is by far the most comprehensive when it comes to stress reduction.
KARMAKAMET Secret World, Central World 3rd floor
When the crowded streets and ceaseless haggling begins to wear you down, make time for down time. Chill out at this bright spot in an urban jungle of malls new and old. At GROOVE at Central World, food and drinks are constantly being reimagined.