Bangkok Post reviews
A move able feast
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: July 5, 2013 at 8:13 am
Hemingway's Drinking and Dining blends a few of the author's favourite foods and drinks
Housed on the ground floor of a historic Thai mansion, the Key West Cafe serves as the restaurant’s main dining room.
Just a few steps away from Asok intersection, down the small Sukhumvit Soi 14, lies a century-old teak house with a lush tropical garden. It's not a Thai restaurant if you're thinking about treating your palate to exotic Thai cuisine. In fact, this newly opened 300-seater that occupies a historic Thai villa is one of the city's most talked about American gastro bars of the moment.
Heavily invested in and passionately renovated, Hemingway's is a dining complex where fine American cuisine is combined with an American sport tavern, Caribbean cocktail bar and Cuban cigar room under one inspiring concept to honour the legendary American author Ernest Hemingway.
The venue, which previously housed Los Cabos Mexican restaurant, went through a major facelift, and now boasts a Hemingway-inspired atmosphere through various zones, including Key West Cafe, Safari Sports Bar, Habana cocktail and cigar bar, Hideaway living room and the Spanish garden _ all to denote the residences and exuberant lifestyle of the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author from 1920-1950.
The food also depicts Hemingway's enthusiasm for gastronomy and his appetite for the finer things in life (fresh oysters, French cheese and premium spirits). Although most dishes have been reinvented according to recipes from Hemingway's cookbook, Wayne Morris, an Irish chef from Australia who directs the restaurant's kitchen, has added his artistic and innovative touch to the long-cherished dishes.
I recommend starting off with Hemingway's tapas platter, which gathers together three of the author's favourite appetisers: Spanish meatballs (flavourful veal meat compressed into a scrumptious ball leavened with fresh and tasty tomato-herb sauce), ham and egg croquetas (Spanish-style croquettes with a smooth milky centre inside a crispy breadcrumbed skin that is enjoyed with saffron aioli) and chilli-salted calamari with house-made tartar. All of them proved delightful.
The pan-seared, wild Hokkaido scallops with cauliflower puree.
Equally worth trying is the pan-seared, caught-in-the-wild Hokkaido scallops with cauliflower puree, celeriac and apple remoulade (350 baht). Three giant scallops, pan-seared to yield a brown exterior while the meat's still supple and chewy, came on a bed of silky thick cauliflower cream accompanied by the deliciously delicate complementary celeriac and pearls of apple sauce.
I couldn't afford to miss the restaurant's highlighted dish: charred Hanger steak with red wine reduction sauce (490 baht). Served to share, the plate cut of Australian beef, which was cooked medium rare and sliced across the grain, resembled flank steak in terms of texture and taste. The steak and the crispy potato garnish, made with imported Australian potatoes, which are less starchy than their local counterparts, were enjoyed with the super thick red wine gravy that added a fragrant salty touch.
Nicoise salad (290 baht), featuring slices of seared tuna fillet, green sugarsnap peas, baby potatoes, black olives, boiled egg, cherry roma tomatoes in pungent house-dressing, was absolutely a delectably crunchy and healthy choice. Sea bass with absinthe and oyster broth (450 baht) is another culinary pride of the restaurant.
A generous filet of sea bass from Hua Hin is cooked in salt water before being served on a bed of braised iceberg lettuce with aromatic, tasty and milky broth made with oyster and absinthe, Hemingway's favourite spirit, to create an interestingly sophisticated seafood flavour profile. The firm yet very soft fish was accompanied by steamed mussels, which were also fresh and delectable.
Duck was said to be Hemingway's preferred choice of poultry and Kirsch was his favourite brandy. The pan-seared duck breast with Kirsch sauce (450 baht) is therefore a must. Proving delightful in every bite, the dish featured succulent slices of medium-cooked duck breast with its supple skin intact, together with rilette (made from loose meat of duck confit), rich sauce, salad of micro herbs, orange and mango and braised cherries, which intermingled superbly with the duck.
The restaurant has a limited selection of desserts, yet all were beyond criticism. Try Hemingway's sour cream cheesecake with raspberry sorbet (200 baht), key lime tart with young coconut sorbet (200 baht) and butterscotch pot au creme with hazelnut praline and mocha crunch ice cream (200 baht). Though there's a parking space that can handle 20 cars on the premises, coming by BTS is also ideal since the restaurant is only a minute's walk from Asok skytrain station.
The Safari Sports Bar denotes the exuberant lifestyle of the American author during 1920s-1950s.
Hemingway’s Drinking and Dining
Sukhumvit Soi 14 Call 02-653-3900 Open daily 11am-midnight Park on the premises Most credit cards accepted