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Reliving the Good Old Days

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Ernest Hemingway lived large during the ‘Roaring 20s’, precisely when the gorgeous house that Hemingway’s Restaurant is now located in was built

Text & Photos by Dave Stamboulis

Hem2AAIt’s not often in Bangkok that one comes across a restaurant providing a nice ambience, a bit of nostalgia, and some smashingly good food, but Hemingway’s covers all bases. Tucked into a leafy garden just off Sukhumvit on Soi 14, the restaurant pays tribute to a golden age and its most famous denizen, Ernest Hemingway, while dishing out some excellent food and drink to go with the surroundings.

While Ernest never made it to Bangkok, he is at least now celebrated in legend. He lived large during the ‘Roaring 20s’, precisely when the gorgeous house that Hemingway’s Restaurant is now located in was built. The home, built in 1926, is a beautiful teak mansion, former home to the French ambassador. It has been renovated and restored and now pays homage to the 1920s’ legend along with the food and drink he loved.

Hemingway was famed for his travels, and the restaurant is themed to show this. Downstairs is the Key West dining room, and alongside it the Havana Bar, where you can indulge in Papa’s favorite daiquiri or mojito. The cucumber daiquiris, especially on sultry summer evenings, are sublime. Upstairs you can continue to follow the author’s wanderings with a drink in the African Safari bar, themed with animal skin covered bar stools and a giant wall image of the Serengetti, Hemingway’s top hunting spot.

Next to this is the period piece Hideaway, resembling the Parisian apartment where “Papa” spent time writing, complete with a gramophone, antique armchairs, and a fireplace. The entire place is done up in atmospheric soft yellow ambient lighting, befitting it more to the era it seeks to recreate than the gaudy neon we are assaulted with in most places these days.

Hem2AAABut it is not just the ambience that brings visitors here, as the food is superb. The charred hanger steak (often called the “butcher’s cut as it is not meant to be sold) is thinly sliced strips of Australian beef served as a Spanish tapas and delightfully mouthwatering. Another top meat selection is the crispy confit duck served with caramelized witlof, and is just as tasty as it looks. The Hokkaido scallops are divine, served with apple rémoulade and cauliflower puree, and the beef carpaccio with rocket salad and wasabi mayonnaise is another top notch entrée. For those craving something a bit simpler, Hemingway’s also dishes out some great pizza.

There are some super value lunch specials on tap as well, such as a full pizza and glass of wine for Bt250 or a choice of starters, an entrée, and a glass of wine or pint of beer for Bt375. And if the food and ambience of Hemingway’s doesn’t charm you, well, you can always wander through the dining room and read each of the individual place mats, which have different quotes from our man in Havana. There is pretty much something for everyone at this unique new spot.

Contact Details:
Hemingway’s Bangkok
1 Sukhumvit Soi 14
Tel: 02-653-3900
Open daily from 11:30 p.m. till late