Up & Above

Up&Above Bar_night shot
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A fresh buffet and a la carte dining, 24 floors above Ploenchit.

By John Howe

I’ve found a place of quietness and calming peace 24 floors above Ploenchit. The road to this space for recharging and revitalizing is called Up & Above, and it’s located at the west side of The Okura Prestige hotel.

Walking into Okura’s lobby feels like entering a world of tranquillity. Past a small Japanese garden with patterns shaped like gentle oscillating waves, and into a large open space where a long bar stands center stage, I found as a backdrop a glass wall that reveals the spectacular panorama of Wireless Road and its lushly-gardened embassies.

In a place surrounded by silence, with no intrusive waiters, and just an environment made for contented eating, I wandered around the buffet stations. I grabbed some sushi, shiny pink prawns and shrimp, smoked salmon, fleshy tuna steaks, and crayfish along with the tastiest, plumpest muscles it has ever been my pleasure to devour. If there’s one reason that would take me back to Up & Above’s seafood buffet, is the freshness of the ingredients.

At the equally enticing Thai buffet, I particularly enjoyed the larb; it was tart, but the zing only made this typical Isaan dish authentic in taste and texture.

For those not into Thai food, there is also a Western buffet selection. Thai and Western sweets abound; shot-type glasses filled to the brim with mousses made from all kinds of berries tempt the eye and the appetite, as do the vibrant-hued macarons and dainty fruit tarts, crème brûlée, and ice creams. Something a little more Asian is the superb selection of regional fruits, from mango (along with sticky rice) and star fruit, to dragon fruit and melon.

Having left a little space to try items from the a la carte menu, I spent some time mulling over the extensive list of dishes. The yam talay, a spicy seafood salad of muscles, prawns, and squid, was perfectly cooked to bring out the flavor of the shellfish, while the spices only enhanced the freshness of the ocean. The duck was moist, with firm flesh, and its rich red sauce was smooth and creamy.

By this time I was a sated but happy eater, so much so that I can highly recommend both the buffet and the a la carte lunch at Up & Above.

I will also be returning for Britain’s great contribution to world culture: the afternoon high tea and hard-to-ignore chocolate boxes—the kind of British legacy that I admire and that is, thankfully, now available in Bangkok.

Where: Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok
Reservations: 02 687 9000, upandabove@okurabangkok.com
Hours: Open daily. Breakfast, 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, noon to 2:30 p.m.; dinner 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 pm; Sunday brunch 11:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Website: www.okurabangkok.com

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