Bangkok is famous for being… well famous for being Bangkok, it’s a heady mix of people, traffic, heat and concrete, which I love. However everyone who visits the city at some point in their time there will just want to escape the hectic pace for a moment, and the only way to do that is by going up! And by up I mean heading to the rooftop of some of Bangkok’s best hotels to visit their Skybars and Restaurants.
The Banyan Tree Bangkok is the 4th property in the Banyan Tree group, opened in Jan 2002 and located on South Sathon Road. It has 327 rooms and suites to suit a mix of luxury clientele’s budgets.
The hotel is set over 61 floors and includes 8 restaurants and 2 bars. The crowing glory is of course the Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar sitting proudly on the top of a converted heli-pad. Vertigo was named after the famous Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name and there is no need to explain why!
Vertigo Restaurant & Moon Bar
Bangkok’s skybars are all about sunsets and Vertigo is no different; the best time to visit is early evening when the skyline lights up with the setting sun and creates a theatrical performance as it sets behind Bangkok’s numerous skyscrapers. Because of the Banyan Tree’s location it has great views of the Grand Palace, Chao Praya River and Wat Pho Temple. However if you miss the sunset don’t worry it is a super romantic venue once the sun goes down so ideal for couples, in fact you will probably see one or two honeymooners dining there.
The restaurant and bar have a clever layout too, they are built on a stepped turret shape on the top of the hotel and with the very low walls around them (don’t worry you won’t fall off) which means that virtually all tables have an uninterrupted view of the city so you won’t feel like you are getting the dud table when it is busy – there aren’t any!
If you are just looking for a drink then the Moon Bar is perfect! Open from 5pm to 1am daily, this super cool setting is perfect for unwinding. The music is a chilled lounge genre which suits the atmosphere perfectly and their signature drink is the Vertigo Sunset – all drinks are served with bar snacks. Worth knowing that the dress code is smart causal so this means you don’t need to get your suit out of the wardrobe but you do need to make an effort.
Guests can choose from various options – either eating from the full a la carte or from a set menu (3 and 4 course meals available). Many luxury restaurants in Bangkok focus on being super creative, coming up with deconstruction dishes. Vertigo is refreshingly simple – and I don’t mean simple in a bad way, infact simple in a very good way. The food is is everything that you will recognise and the portions are hearty so you won’t leave it feeling like you need another meal on the way home. However don’t think that simple means cheap, a table for two people will come to around £100 a head, but it’s worth it.
One other thing to point out, which I loved is that that the service is helpful (very helpful in fact) without being over bearing and over familiar. The waiters are not standing to attention waiting to serve, it is relaxed but at the same time you feel well attended to
What Did We Eat
We were completely spoilt, we had a 4 course set menu. We started with a small palate cleanser of cous cous with lentils, lemon and radish which was wonderfully refreshing to setup your palate for the main events.
The appetiser was devine and this is what I mean by simple food. It was high quality buffalo mozzarella sweet red and orange tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Effective and delicious.
There was then a soup course. This was butternut pumpkin with a pumpkin ricotta tortellini. The soup was poured over the tortellini at your seat, beautifully rich and creamy. This was served with a basket of breads and popadums.
There was then a small sorbet to bring your palate back to neutral and then for the main course. There menu offered Wagyu steak and Salmon, but being a vegetarian I went for the Wild Mushroon Canelloni on a bed or red salsa and finished with truffle oil. For me this was divine, often vegetarian options are an after-thought for a kitchen but this would have equalled any meat eaters main course.
The final course, and by this point I was stuffed, was a raspberry and strawberry pie served with a sweet desert wine. Perfection!
One nice little finishing touch they offer all restaurant guests is a professional photo of yourself which they print out and give to you to take away. I thought this was a great touch and something I’ve not seen in other restaurants in Bangkok.
One take away point about the skybars in Bangkok is that they are open air, and Bangkok has rainy seasons. Unfortunately when we were dining it did start raining, this was just before dessert so it didn’t bother us at all. We were moved downstairs to the restaurant in the floor below and we finished off our meal there. However it is the nature of open air dining that you are in the hands of god so bear that in mind and check the weather before you go.
I want to go
If you want to book and I highly recommend that you do, make sure you book ahead as it is popular, in fact jam packed. If you just want a drink in the Moon Bar then we do advise you book too as it becomes busy due to its popularity.
Open daily: Vertigo 6pm to 11pm, Moon Bar 5pm to 1am (subject to weather conditions)
Tel: +66 (0)2 6791200