Shintori at the newly opened Dining Zensation of CentralWorld is a very modern Japanese restaurant that draws in other Asian influences, too.
By Laurence Civil
Shintori Japanese Art Cuisine offers contemporary Japanese food, prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients. It is inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhism with focus on simplicity and the importance of nature.
The first Shintori restaurant was founded in Taipei by Jeremy Guo, CEO, who expanded the brand with two branches in China. It’s most famous branch to date is in Shanghai. Allan Namchaisiri, president of Zen Lifestyle Trend Megastore and the recently formed Dining Zensations on the rooftop of Zen Tower, decided to bring the brand to Bangkok. Allan worked with Guo and Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag on the concept of this restaurant.
The restaurant is located halfway between Chidlom and Siam BTS stations, easily accessed by the skywalk. For those arriving by taxi, stop at the entrance to Zen opposite the Police General Hospital, then take the glass-sided lift direct to the 18th floor.
Whether you opt for the Grand Dining Hall or one of the four Private Dining Villas, you can enjoy excellent food and creative presentation, while relaxing in a chic and elegant rooftop environment. The restaurant features a gourmet sushi bar, beverage and sake bar, and a “New York Chic” view of downtown Bangkok. The glass-walled kitchen offers a crystal clear view of amazingly beautiful dishes being prepared under the watchful eye of executive chef Direk Kamnil.
“Central Retail Corporation (the organization behind Dining Zensations and Shintori) is now focusing on boutique products and that is why Dining Zensations was created,” says Warren Lucas, general manager. “Consistency and quality are essential for the integrity of the brand. We have two chefs from Shanghai with us for the opening period to control food standards.”
This means the menu, as much as possible, will be the same as the original from Shanghai, although adds Lucas, “If we can’t find ingredients needed for a particular dish then it won’t be on the menu.”
The first dish Lucas presents to me is a 15-piece sashimi assortment containing otoro (fatty tuna belly), salmon from Norway, yellow tail, hirame (halibut), amaebi (sweet shrimp), tai (Japanese snapper) and giant ark clam. They are on a deep bed of ice in a perfectly shaped bowl. “All the chinaware used in the restaurant is made in a factory owned by Jeremy Guo to ensure we have the right pieces to optimise the artistry of the food,” Lucas explains.
The second appetizer is grilled sea eel jelly with seaweed salad, presented like a terrine with the eel running down the middle. The seaweed is combined with cucumber, ginger and tomato, which makes it into a salad. A dressing of ponzu, mirim, soy sauce, and sake accompanies the dish, and has a sourness that works well with the eel. Lucas says it took them two months to find a supplier who could deliver the right eel according to the restaurant´s strict standards of freshness.
Vietnamese-style Peking duck roll follows, presented in a very contemporary way. Bite-sized duck rolls are wrapped in rice paper and partnered with dice-sized cubes of braised beef tongue. A sweet eel sauce adds a subtle Nippon tang.
Next are the main courses: The first of the two is beef steak on Pu leaf, which is thinly sliced Australian-raised beef, cooked in Japanese red miso sauce. It is served artistically on a Pu leaf sitting on a hot granite block, so each guest may enjoy it medium or well-done, as they want.
The second main is grilled cod steak with mono miso soup. The fish is perfectly cooked: flakey and moist, and the hearty miso enhances the flavor.
We enjoyed two sakes during the meal: Ozeki Nama Chozochu and Hakkaisan Honjozo, which were chilled and tasted clean and straightforward. Chilling brings out a refreshing aftertaste, mellow aroma, and moderate sweetness.
We finish the meal with their classic “Desserts On Spoon,” which features bite-sized portions of green tea cake, Thai tea pudding, apple pie, cheesecake and sesame tofu. They were served creatively on white china spoons and washed down with bamboo tea. The accompanying seasame seed ice cream, especially, is a must-try.
Shintori is a very modern Japanese restaurant that draws in other Asian influences, too. Without question, the restaurant’s guests will be presented with a delightful dining experience and a stunning view.
Shintori Japanese Art Cuisine
Level 18, Zen World, CentralWorld, 999/9 Rama 1 Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok (BTS: Chidlom)