There's never a dearth of stylish spots in the capital's flashy wining and dining capital, Thong Lor, but for a restaurant to still impress despite being in a full-throttle zone crammed with other just-as-chic venues, it's hardly doing "meh" at all.
Have dinner and look as pretty as the gastrobar under Kaguya’s melange of warm lighting.
Without a doubt, two-month-old Japanese gastrobar Kaguya is surely set to become one of the most voguish dining pads on the strip.
The 70-seater capitalises on splashes of warm lighting and wooden surfaces, but despite being heavily infused with Japanese influenced decor, the walls of bamboo rods tied together with Nipponese square lashings hardly feel oriental. It's a place where all the lighting creates a perfectly glamorous atmosphere whether you're sitting at the bar, or on dining benches or outdoor sofas, and the cosmopolitan crowd will surely do the happy dance _ being in such a ritzy setting with snazzy, pumping beats.
All of this is happening while enjoying a blend of modern Japanese and French cuisines, of course.
Despite being such a hip place, the traditional dishes are still done right. We started off with fuyu (3,000 baht), a large sashimi bucket with otoro, hamachi, akami, madai, shima aji, hotate (scallop), botan (prawn) and taraba (crab) cuts. It was indeed a generous offering as the pieces were massive, yet what was most important was that everything was definitely fresh. What also was special was how crab was also part of the dish, as not too many other sushi places offer taraba. Creative maki are the sine qua non at all new-gen Japanese restaurants and the engawa roll (900 baht) was still on the traditional side with its filling of taraba and wrapping of wagyu beef and halibut. It was packed tight and the flavours came together pleasantly in your mouth, although lightly torching the beef would have brought out the flavours more. Nevertheless, it was a good sushi dish to pick where the riches of the meats really shone without drenching dressings overpowering all.
The servings from the cold kitchen didn't fair so bad, but what you should come here for really is their compositions of two different cultures. Bisque soup (900 baht) was an exemplar where both Japanese and French cultures come together _ and also with a visual gimmick. This soup, usually intended for individuals, became a sharing delight at Kaguya and can also serve as the sukiyaki base for the other side ingredients _ scallops, tiger prawn, mixed vegetables and fish of the day. What was fun to watch was how it came with hot stones which were lowered into the soup in order to keep it bubbling while retaining the superb taste. Although watery, it tasted marvellously rich with the aroma of lobsters. The soup alone was already a delicious concoction so we preferred to not throw everything in to create a sukiyaki, just so the sublime taste was not destroyed.
Things got even more impressive when the spring rolls (380 baht) were served, and in this case there was also a whiff of Chinese cuisine in the mix. Under the wrap, steamed tiger prawns and Chinese chives were flavoured with French butter, making each bite divine yet also very airy and light. It came in a warm sesame broth and there was also foam on top, which gave varying textures for your buds to enjoy. For the main course, taraba (1,300 baht) was chosen. The grilled king crab leg was served on top of a caramelised negi (leek) puree and next to an array of vegetables and sauteed parade of mushrooms. The crab was well seasoned and did not taste bland, but surely the highlight was _ yet again _ how the veggies were given a French touch. The Asian vegetables got a tasteful cordon bleu revamp and the Gallic leek puree was a sweet side that offset the salty but delectable and finely chopped mushrooms.
Ice cream is the main staple for dessert, but what was noteworthy was the photogenic array of cocktails served at Kaguya. After all, what's a gastrobar without some stiff drinks to wash it all down? New on the menu, Panna (280 baht) was a peppy mixture of Johnnie Walker Gold whisky, pineapple and cinnamon. For a more beachy feel, Caribbean Navy Smash (280 baht) will send you to the West Indies with its blend of mango, lime juice, rum and creme de banana. The best of the East and West come together fittingly without outdoing each other at Kaguya, so keep the place in mind if you're looking for swanky, hybrid dishes _ the type only a true Thong Lor crawler loves... and can afford.