An Indian fine dining restaurant in the heart of Bangkok serving cuisine from the subcontinent's Northwest Frontier famed for it's meaty tandoor dishes and dum briyani. Pair it with innovative cocktails specially created to match the hearty food of India's rugged Northwest.
Restaurant name: Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology
Address: Level 5, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, 38/8 Sukhumvit Road Soi 11, Khlong Toey Nua, Wattana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Thailand (nearest BTS station, Nana)
GPS: 13.745547, 100.556221
Hours: 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight
Phone: +66 89 307 1111
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert, alcohol served
Johor Kaki was invited to a media tasting at Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology in Bangkok.
Stepping out of the lift at level 5 of Fraser Suites, we were
It's orangey red tiles tilting and shimmering, moved by wind from the turning fans at the bottom of the brilliant
This amazingly creative window art is a clue to the classic Indian cuisine and also the classy aesthetic artistry of the place.
Charcoal is the brainchild of Rohit Sachdev, co-founder and Managing Director of Soho Hospitality - an international interior design and hospitality development company based in Bangkok. Soho Hospitality also owns Fraser Suites and Above Eleven (a rooftop Peruvian restaurant/ bar).
Stepping into Charcoal, I was awed by the class and finesse of the space. Even in one sweeping glance, I could tell that Rohit had given deep thought to every design detail in Charcoal. Like a well styled coiffure with every strand of hair in place, every element in Charcoal is in the right place.
So we were not surprised at all when Rohit shared that Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology won the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2015 for the Interior Thailand category.
While the interior of Charcoal is contemporary fine dining, the food is faithful to the traditions of classic Indian cuisine from the North-west Frontier. It's easy to feel comfortable in Charcoal which is designed to be welcoming to large gatherings and families. Charcoal is for "fun dining" Rohit insists.
The bar at Charcoal stocks 40 labels of wines and an extensive collection of whiskies.
The mixology serves over 20 creative cocktails specially designed to match Charcoal's offerings of food, style and place.
New Delhi Duty Free (THB 300).
Heady concoction of Bacardi Superior, fresh Indian mango, Indian chili, honey, lime and water soda quirkily delivered in a duty free bag complete with "passport" :-D
My companions Seth and Tiffany's cocktail and mocktail.
Mystic Tea Pot (THB 300).
Gin with Assam black tea, fresh lemon, passionfruit and honey served in a traditional brass Mumbai tea pot with aromatic CO2 steam and Indian tea biscuits.
I tasted sips of several Charcoal cocktails and soon found myself tipsy :-p
The cocktails were easy to like and pretty strong stuff ;-p
Luckily, the New Delhi Duty Free comes with a "passport" to take me straight to India for dinner ;-p
Youthful but accomplished Chef Deepanker who hails from Allahabad (India) is the man behind the food in this contemporary Indian culinary palace.
The menu at Charcoal is inspired by India's North-West Frontier with centuries old Central Asian influences. So, unlike what we would typically find in Indian restaurants, there are no curries on Charcoal's menu.
The keys to Charcoal's cuisine are spices and the tandoor (traditional clay oven).
Tandoor and spices, that's all.
Like the traditional Dotar "guitar" where two strings are all it takes for magical tunes, the tandoor and spices are all it takes for magic in the kitchen.
In the spice library, the Indian and Thai spices are kept under lock and key like precious jewels. The way spices are cherished, they are jewels indeed.
The tandoor is a centuries old cooking device using a clay oven and charcoal embers. Cooking with the tandoor is much like playing a traditional musical instrument, by ear and feel. Control of the temperature is purely by the eyes, smell and feel of the chef. This is the only way to recreate the authentic flavours enjoyed in old Mughal India.
By the way, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani the Emir of Qatar (from 1995 to 2013) has enjoyed Chef Deepanker's cooking.
Here are the food we enjoyed.
Paneer Tikka (THB 350 four pieces).
Cottage cheese marinated with fresh cream, mild spices and green chillies, then tandoor grilled till lightly golden brown.
Tandoor Malai Broccoli (THB 350 five pieces).
Fresh broccoli florets marinated with yogurt, cream cheese, malt vinegar and green chillies, then tandoor grilled.
Murgh Malai Kebab (THB 420 five pieces).
Large chunks of tender juicy chicken marinated with cream cheese, yogurt, malt vinegar, green chili, coriander, then tandoor grilled in the old Mughal way.
Meaty New Zealand on-the-bone lamb marinated with red chili, cumin, malt vinegar and ginger garlic, then double grilled in the tandoor till charred at the edges while keeping the meat juicy.
Tandoori Jhinga Prawns (THB 850 three pieces).
Jumbo fresh river prawns marinated with yogurt, Indian spices, chili, turmeric and garam masala, then tandoor grilled with shell on.
Dal Charcoal (THB 200).
Lentils, tomatoes, ginger and garlic slow cooked overnight over the dying embers in the tandoor. The creamy dal is perfect for Charcoal's freshly baked naan.
Turrah Naan (THB 100).
Simple white flour naan shaped like an elephant's trunk in a welcome salute to the guest. I love the mild wheat flavour of the crispy bread which went perfectly with Dal Charcoal.
Murgh Yakhni Biryani (THB 500 five chicken pieces | THB 900 ten chicken pieces).
The dum biryani technique cooks the premium basmati rice, succulent chunks of spring chicken, spices and vegetables in their own aromatic juices in slow heat inside a clay pot with the lid sealed with dough.
Shedh E Jaam (THB 150).
Milk ball stuffed with pistachio and cardamom, then fried and soaked with honey syrup. My favourite old school Indian sweet dessert.
Phirni (THB 200).
A sweet soupy gruel of milk and ground basmati rice flavoured with cardamon. Topped with pistachios, almonds and silver foil.
As a finale to end our scrumptious dinner on an uber sweet note, Rohit offered us a taste of paan - this was a first for me. It's betel leaf with silver foil wrapping various other leaves, herbs, crushed nuts and fruits.
It was amazing. It was like chewing perfume and I can see why it is addictive. I love it ;-D
Prince Paan, one of India's top paan shops has a stall in Charcoal :-D
If you are in Bangkok and want to enjoy authentic Indian cuisine while chilling over a cool cocktail in beautiful ambiance, then check out Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology.
Disclosure: As this is a media invite, the food is not reviewed.
Date visited: 11 Jun 2015
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