The Water Library restaurant at Chamchuri has been one of the top spots in Bangkok’s fine-dining since opening six years ago. Not only has the brand survived this modest test of time (along with the stigma of being located in a shopping mall) but they’ve also gone on to open up half a dozen other venues around the city. It’s this Silom spot that still remains the Water Library’s flagship restaurant, and probably the most exclusive. Before our latest visit, we were preparing to have to throw around vague terms such as ‘contemporary western’ or ‘European with a twist’. However, after trying their newly introduced seasonal menu (2,900 baht for five courses), there’s not so much need. It’s essentially French haute cuisine, with plenty of the classics making an appearance such as foie gras, langoustine, scallops and pigeon. Plated immaculately, the sparing use of non-traditional French ingredients enhances the overall menu, rather than defines it.
The obvious starting point here is the venue itself. Despite its mall-slash-office tower location, Water Library feels like a standalone restaurant thanks to its signature cylindrical design, complete with a giant tower of water bottles as the centrepiece. The tall floor-to-ceiling windows also help to create a more open feel, just don’t expect anything spectacular in the way of views from the second floor. Water Library Chamchuri is open for both lunch and dinner. The set lunch menu is priced at 880 baht (two courses) and 990 baht (three courses), while the five course tasting menu in the evening is priced at 2,900 baht per person with wine paring for 1,900 baht on top.
To start, the foie gras is quite possibly the boldest dish of the evening, both in terms of flavour and aesthetics; resembling a pretty little cabbage patch, the mounds of foie gras cream are dotted around specs of sweet beetroot moose, alongside sprouting greenery, crispy pumpernickel, and it’s all arranged neatly on a thin layer of hummus. Amazing! The second dish, a seared Canadian scallop, is just as impressive in appearance, served in its shell atop a bed of sea salt. Strong flavours from the yuzu sake and shaved truffle are certainly present – but the end result is simply not as satisfying as the rest of the evening’s menu. Things quickly pick up again with the Norwegian langoustine, which is served surf n’ turf style with a thin shaving of robust, crispy bacon. Having Norwegian langoustine in Thailand is always a rare treat; thankfully the meat here is succulent, fresh, and the cream cauliflower and parsley sauce retains the strong seafood flavour. A fruity, almost apply Chablis (Patrick Clergot AOC, Burgundy 2013) is served as part of the wine paring, which was excellent all night.
Water Library Chamchuri has a choice of two mains, fish or pigeon, and we opted to try both (if there’s two of you then you can just mix and match in the same fashion). The fillet of red mullet definitely stands out as a detour away from France and into the Mediterranean with its Spanish sobrassada and piquillo peppers. The pigeon, on the other hand, keeps things more classic; rich and cooked medium rare – just how we like it. Highlights from the additional wine paring included the Chablis (Patrick Clergot AOC, Burgundy 2013) as mentioned before, and a 2008 Esprit de Pavie from Bordeaux with the main. Our delightful mango soup and white chocolate dessert was also paired with an equally sweet 2010 Chateau Megyer from Hungry – not a bad way to end what was quite a memorable meal.
Opening Hours: 11:30-14:00; 18:00-22:00 daily
Location: The Water Library Chamchuri, Level 2 Chamchuri Square, Rama IX Road
Tel: +66(0) 2160 5188