Escapades, a true hole-in-the wall bar and eatery on Phra Athit Road has an alternative feel about it, and you feel more like sitting at
a friend’s home than dining out.
Text & Photos By Dave Stamboulis
It’s hard to find a decent hamburger in Bangkok, and equally as tough to find a truly well-mixed drink. However, thanks to a couple of maverick young Thais, this has slightly changed. Escapades, a true hole-in-the wall bar and eatery tucked into Phra Athit Road, may not look like much from appearances, but a seat at the bar soon reveals one of Bangkok’s best kept secrets.
Master chef Chalermpon Rohitratana, better known as Chef Van, and his good buddy, award winning mixologist Karn Liangsrisuk decided to go after a dream of having a small place making well crafted meals and drinks and they settled on a burger bar.
As Van noted, “there were no burger joints in the area other than McDonalds, and as every other Thai seems to be opening a cute or fashionable café; we wanted to be different.” Van is indeed different, sporting a goatee, shaved head, and lots of body art, but it is his cooking that really sets him apart.
In addition to doing a different “menu of the day” (based on what is available at the market and how he feels that day), he whips up burgers that have people driving across town to eat.
Diners can choose between a lamb burger served on a dark chocolate bun, a Double Cow two patty Angus beef burger served with cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, the triple patty version of this known as the Half Cow, or for the strong of heart, the 3D Pig. Sometimes Chef Van just creates spontaneously with what is in the kitchen, such as making a plate of grilled mushrooms mixed with gorgonzola, cumquat juice, and bone marrow for me, which had me salivating for more.
The bar side of Escapades is just as equal to the task. Karn came in second in the “Thai Best Bartending” competition and the man is an absolute encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to alcohol, tropical fruit, syrup, infusions, and the way to mix them all into perfection. There is no drink menu at Escapades.
You just tell Karn what kind of alcohol you like, what you tend to normally drink, and how strong you like it, and he will create something sublime for you. This has to be the only bar in Bangkok serving customized drinks of which two are never alike.
The place has an alternative feel about it, local art adorns the walls and rock music blasts out from the kitchen, and you feel more like sitting at a friend’s home than dining out.
When I asked Chef Van about making gourmet hamburgers he said to me, “if a cow is going to die for a burger, I figure I might as well give it as much honor as I can,” and indeed, the food and drink speak for themselves at Escapades.
Escapades Burgers and Shakes
112 Phra Athit Road