In Bangkok this Valentine’s and stuck for somewhere to wine and dine your loved one – or the one you want? Avoid the overhyped and overpriced hotel packages; here are 3 great ways to spend a romantic evening in the Thai capital.
Steve Café & Cuisine
This cute spot on the banks of the Chao Phraya, and just a hop, skip and jump from the express boat pier at Thewet, serves up not only great food but a friendly, informal atmosphere and an unmissable view of sunset over the city skyline. To really make an arrival, once you’ve disembarked from the express boat at Thewet, be sure to hop on the smaller boat run by a sweet older man from the same pier – he will happily whisk you right to the edge of the restaurant for another 5 baht per person.
The menu boasts a great selection of Thai staples, some with the restaurant’s own unique twists, including some tasty seafood dishes and the likes of ostrich for the more adventurous eater. The setting is romantic and yet pleasingly unpretentious, and the staff attentive and eager to please. There’s no alcohol served here, though they’ll happily serve up your own bottle of bubbly for a corkage charge of 300 baht.
68 Sri Ayutthaya Road Soi 21 (Thewet Pier); 081 904 8444
WTF Bar & Gallery
Admittedly not the most subtle, tasteful name for a Valentine’s date destination – though maybe closer to the truth about what you’re hoping to get from the evening – this bar, tucked down Sukhumvit’s dimly-lit and admittedly somewhat dingy looking Soi 51, is a real find in itself, but on quieter nights also has a surprisingly cosy, intimate and romantic feel to it. Mirrors and old movie posters hang from the walls, candles flicker on the tables and the plain, unplastered concrete flooring adds simple, industrial tones – the retro lamps suspended above the bar, itself ornately decorated in a style echoing years gone by, complete the look. There’s even a gallery upstairs that you can take a canoodle around.
The food is impressive, though hardly date material – delicious, very thin and crispy pizzas are a must to try another time nonetheless, as is the crème brûlée with its oh-so-satisfying hardened sugary top (someone here is very good with a blowtorch). But in truth you’ll probably want to hit WTF after eating somewhere else, to get your mouth around one of their innovative cocktails – Monkey Shines is made with chocolate sauce and bananas but was all out on my last visit. The jury’s still out on the adventurous mojito made with beer, but they earn brownie points for even giving it a go…and even if you’re not a fan, you get the rest of the beer anyway.
Tuesday-Sunday, 6pm-midnight; closed Mondays
7 Sukhumvit Road Soi 51 (BTS Thong Lo); 02 662 6246
Sky Train Jazz Club
Read around other lists of ‘must-visit’ Valentine’s spots in Bangkok and you’ll likely to struggle one that doesn’t mention the Baiyoke Tower and its sky bar. But who wants dazzling views from its eight-hundred-and-seventy-whateverth floor, when you can have the gritty, well-grounded alternative at Sky Train Jazz Club; four storeys from ground level and with an enviable view of Victory Monument BTS station and the tracl just outside of it. Well, someone must be envious of it, anyway.
Jokes aside, though, this place is a firm favourite for its trendy yet unpretentious atmosphere, cheap drinks and informal open-air setting. Ordinarily you can come with a group of friends and crack open a bottle of Sangsom with plenty of ice, soda and Coke – but come with your date, take things up a notch and sip on a glass or two of wine; in your mind you could really be up a few dozen more floors at the Baiyoke.
The food at the Sky Train Jazz Club is genuinely ace, too – if relatively pricey. The kaa moo (stewed pork leg) is crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and not the slimy mess it is on the street. Other dishes include beautifully cooked duck in black pepper. Service is generally friendly and attentive here, though the food can take its time to arrive so you might not want to leave it too late before you roll up to eat. Last point – romantic as it might be, there is no jazz at the Sky Train Jazz Club; your guess as to why they called it that is as good as mine. It’s worth booking a table on Friday and Saturday nights, and likely for Valentine’s too.
Soi Rangnam, Phaya Thai Road (BTS Victory Monument); 089 895 4299
Do you know another romantic hideaway in Bangkok? Where will you be spending your Valentine’s Day? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.