The influx of trendy eateries and bars on Sathorn Sois 10 and 12 in recent years have cemented this compact neighbourhood’s status as a dining hotspot in the heart of Bangkok’s Central Business District, with no signs of the wave slowing down any time soon. The latest addition to the area is the much-lauded Bunker, which showcases New American cuisine with some Asian touches — from the Big Apple to the Big Mango — in a hip, multilevel setting.
For progressive international dining, Bangkokians will be familiar with the highly rated Eat Me, just minutes away down Sathorn Road, whose team is also behind Bunker. Their new restaurant’s design aesthetic is essentially the restaurant version of a ‘man cave’: dimly lit, bare concrete walls combined with iron, glass and marble elements. The stark lines are tempered by multifaceted light fixtures and some splashes of colour from the upholstered seating, creating a chic space that’s not too utilitarian. Each floor has its own character, from the stylish bar at the entrance to the outdoor balcony with another bar (serving craft beers on tap) overlooking the activity on the street.
Hailing from New York City is Filipino-American executive chef Arnie Marcella, who has previously worked at several Michelin-starred establishments in his hometown. Diverse culinary influences such as his fondness for Japanese food are exhibited in his creations, which places great emphasis on using fresh, quality ingredients; he even grows some organic produce on the restaurant’s rooftop. Examples of his contemporary signature style include the Kampachi sashimi, comprised of artfully curled-up slices of fish, sea urchin from Hokkaido and daikon radish that provide a refreshing starter to a meal with delicate yet impactful flavours. The salt-bush lamb dish is a more substantial main with tender cuts of meat from Australia paired with Tokyo turnips, lemon-yuzu-kosho sauce and eggplant pieces painted black from the charring process — altogether it’s a creative twist on the classic grilled chops.
Cocktails are taken as seriously as the food here, with a substantial menu ranging from the Bloody Brute – a more robust, spicier and meatier version of the Bloody Mary with the addition of steak sauce and bourbon – to the fruity and refreshing Paloma (tequila, grapefruit soda, Campari, candied orange, pineapple) to suit all tastes.
Bunker is a refined, yet relaxed, addition to the bulging roster of restaurants which make Sathorn 12 a must visit for gourmands. On the night of our visit Chef Marcella remarked, “The quality of ingredients and food you’re served at fine dining restaurants doesn’t need to be reserved only to restaurants with white tablecloths.” We agree and look forward to Bunker challenging perceptions and palates.