A Japanese-style barbecue restaurant that aims for authenticity, value for money and top quality, meaty ingredients
Until a few years ago, "yakiniku" would have been an uncommon word to local diners. Today, though, yakiniku restaurants, the Japanese-style DIY barbecue targetting hardcore carnivores, are spreading all over the city. Their winning combination of superb quality and top value for money are the main elements customers are looking for.
Owned and run by a Thai family, Gyu Gyu Tei tries to present a Japanese BBQ that's as authentic as many native Japanese joints which have mushroomed the Sukhumvit areas, unlike several other Thai-owned restaurants that offer the yakiniku dining in a hasty translation.
Gyu Gyu Tei was founded by successful Thai restaurateurs from Tokyo, and claims to be the real thing - close to the original in terms of the menu, the ingredients, and even the style of eating. The restaurant has three outlets: two in Huay Kwang area and one on Rama III Road in Bang Phongphang district. The Rama III branch, which we visited, opened nine months ago and boasts a very distinctive setting. Though from the parking lot it looks as if it's in a small unit of a building in an unassuming office park, it in fact offers a pleasant view of the Chao Phraya River, and isn't at all small.
The ground floor of this 170-seat eatery has a contemporary urban look. There are a few private rooms on the second floor but the highlight is its lovely, riverside al fresco terrace that allows diners to chill and grill amidst the river breeze.
Gyu Gyu Tei's menu is small and simple but comprehensive. It features approximately 20 choices of local and imported beef, pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables for the tabletop BBQ. There's also a decent selection of salad and soup items as well as other condiments such as kim chi and rice.
The imported matsuzaka beef (1,200 baht per order), kept its promise of being well-marbled with intricate lines of fat that burst with flavour in the mouth. When cooking, do keep an eye on it and don't over cook, because as soon as the fat melts away, the beef will quickly become dry and stiff.
If you find the matsuzaka's famous melt-in-the mouth tenderness too flimsy to chew, then the higher-class Kuroge premium beef (1,300 baht per small order) should be just right. This top-grade meat with its wonderful beefy taste is perfectly tender yet still offers a good chew. If you are an avid beef lover, I'm sure you'll find it well worth the price.
Because it has the kind of quality and taste that belies its low price, this next choice of beef, which came from local farm, is the restaurant's all-time best-seller: Gyu Gyu Tei beef (320 baht). It is served in fair-sized slices and yields a pleasant savour and texture. The lower grade jo karubi (200 baht) is lean, and so will lack the juicy fat and the beefy taste.
For pork, I recommend order kurobuta, or black pork (350 baht). It comes in a substantial serving, and the pale pink meat is extremely succulent. The restaurant's marinated prawns (350 baht) also deserve praise for their supple texture and naturally sweet flavour. Though all the food we tasted was impressive, we found the restaurant's desserts less so. The home-made Italian ice cream (60 baht per tiny cup) was the only sweet treat available. We tried the green tea and oreo butter flavours and both seemed rather tasteless.
Servicewise, the friendly staff seemed to be very well-trained, and most of the time were exceptionally polite.
Full review at: http://www.bangkokpost.com/leisure/cuisine/193160/barbecue-with-a-river-view