There’s too much food in Bangkok. Whether you’re there for street food, ample buffets, or restaurants, Thailand’s capital manages to combine a diversity of flavors and cuisines with quality. Consequently, for those of you stuck in the indecisive camp, let me make a recommendation– The Allium at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok.
Address-wise, it’s a very good one. Located at 61 Wireless Road, The Allium is a very brief walk from the Phloen Chit BTS (skytrain) station, near plenty of shopping options as well as office towers. History buffs might be interested in learning about The Athenee Hotel’s prior occupant; it was built on the site of a former royal palace.
And there’s an added bonus: if you’re a member of the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, not only can you redeem points at the restaurant, but also earn them.
Extra bonus: under the current Marriott Bonvoy Dine & Earn program, non-hotel guests will also be able to earn points, after spending a minimum of US$10 (or local equivalent) per meal. US$1 will get you 10 points. If you’re an elite member, the rate will be even better!
The Allium at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok is open daily; lunch hours are 11:30 – 14:30, and dinner is from 17:30 – 22:30. It’s accessible by elevator from the lobby — once you enter the lobby, take a left by the reception desks — or by walking up the grand staircase, and then a smaller staircase on the left.
For those may not know, allium is the Latin word for garlic. But it also refers to the allium genus, which includes onions, chives, and leeks. As you may have guessed, expect to see members of the allium family in many of your dishes.
The decor is understated elegance, with a nice bar to accompany the immaculate dining room and open kitchen design. Plus, event planners, take note– are looking for a new spot to book a party? You can rent out the entirety of the restaurant, as well as the mezzanine floor dining area (as shown in the first picture). Restaurant event planning — that should be another way to rack up those Marriott Bonvoy points!
The Allium at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok focuses on modern French cooking, with significant influences from Japanese, South Asia, southern China, and Thai cuisine. As much as possible, the kitchen uses organic and Thai ingredients, but also imports Mediterranean products directly from France.
The eclectic menu was designed by 15-year restaurant veteran Chef Rémi Verrier. Chef Verrier has worked with acclaimed French chefs Alain Ducasse, Pascal Feraud, and Claude Bosi, at kitchens in Paris, London, Dubai, and Macau, in addition to Disney.
Although Chef Verrier was not on duty that evening, Sous Chef Krin was more than up to the task. He asked if I had any food allergies, to which I responded, “yes, but I will eat everything anyway.”
And with those words, my dinner at The Allium began ….
Good bread in Thailand? It happens!
This rustic sourdough was billowy, crunchy, and chewy, pretty much the ideal bread trifecta for me. It provided an excellent cushion for the equally addictive garlicky pea butter, which may have made two encore appearances at my table.
This medley of vegetables contained carrot, corn, tarragon, curry leaves, beets — all prepared using distinct cooking methods — atop dried powdered olives. A very light dish, I was able to clearly savor each individual flavor, from the delicate licorice taste of the tarragon to the natural sweetness of the beet.
It was a fine start and a palate cleanser.
Madai (Red Sea Bream) with polenta and peas was the amuse-bouche, and wow was it creamy and flavorful.
I’ve had polenta in simple Italian and Romanian dishes, so to see it served with superbly-executed fish was a treat. If only I had more bouche to amuse, because this was one (of many) highlights of my dinner.
What a showpiece.
On the left, the green bulbous thing is called cromesquis; it’s a type of fried croquette. This one had pea batter on the outside, and creamy king crab on the inside. On the right, king crab with Osetra caviar, surrounded by pea and corn puree.
With peas making so many appearances, you might at first think it’s modern English food. But the technique, flavors and textures will send you right back to the tasty side of the English Channel.
Shall we take a short break to look at a couple of drinks?
As with most foods, I’m a fan of all types of pear and strawberry. Yet, perhaps because it was pear syrup, this was the only slight miss of the night for me.
But I did quite like this one:
The Long Island Thai Tea had pandan syrup, lemon juice, Thai whiskey, and Thai tea. Once I mixed everything together, it was a fun sweet and sour cocktail.
I liked the transparent kettle for my (chamomile) tea.
Now let’s return to the food!
The main event, and what an event it was.
The duck was cooked so well — tender on the inside, and with crunchy skin. Part of me wanted to roll it up in a pancake, Beijing-style.
And the potatoes au gratin … it made me glad potatoes are so versatile. They were creamy, crunchy, and buttery all at once. It was a magnum opus of potato dishes, and really should be served with each course.
It’s a French restaurant, how could I turn down dessert? I should, but I have a dangerous sweet tooth.
Crack open the meringue, and out pours some delicious cream cheese. Blend it with the berries and Thai Nam Dok Mai mango sherbet, and you’ve got a successful dessert. Quite refreshing, and not terribly sweet.
What about chocolate?
You got it.
Here’s where the sweet tooth became chuffed.
Clockwise from the top, we’ve got a Thai banana truffle, pistachio brownie, and caramel truffle. Mmm, they all served their duties, but I was particularly taken by the caramel truffle. It wasn’t quite salted caramel, rather it was more on the buttery side.
If this trio is served to The Athenee Hotel guests, I’ve got to start staying there.
My dinner and dessert at The Allium were overall quite delectable. The service was helpful and attentive, the ambience welcoming, and the seating very comfortable. No doubt it my mind that The Allium is worth a visit, whether you are open to eating anything, are looking to impress your date or a client, or simply want a change from Thai food.