Reasons to visit Bangkok in 2017
Author: Lara Dunston
Photography: Christopher Wise
The popular coffee-roasting outfit opened its first café earlier this year in an elegant, light-filled space shared with a clothing boutique, and has been so busy it has run out of beans some days. Expect meticulously house-roasted coffee, single-origin and multi-blend from Thailand and beyond - try the award-winning Tha Song Yang beans from the north-west. Inventive iced drinks include a purple sweet-potato tea or latte, and bagels come with crowdpleasing fillings such as cream cheese, ham, pickles and mustard.
Ground floor, YJA Building, Sala Daeng Soi 1, Bangkok
Power lunch: Bombyx
Named after the silkworm, this restaurant by Thai luxury silk company Jim Thompson is set in a windowless, cocoon-like space in a shopping mall. Admire walls lined by changing displays of silk art with a Bombyx Elixir (vodka, mulberry shrub and lavender) or choose from a wine list by manager-sommelier Greg Plowes (ex-Nahm, Tetsuya's). Chef Phongsak Mikhunthong makes imaginative modern Thai dishes, such as khao yam pak tai, a southern Thai salad of rice, roasted sesame, chilli and herbs resembling an artist's palette.
M34B, Siam Paragon Shopping Centre, Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok
Bangkok's most talked-about restaurant right now is by US chef Riley Sanders, who cooked for Laurent Gras at Chicago's three-star L20 and Paul Qui at Uchiko in Austin, before travelling the world. Four years and 30 countries later, Sanders has opened a restaurant with sous-chef Steve Ortiz (Alinea, Jean Georges) that, he says, aims to reflect Bangkok's "stimulation, excitement and boldness". Inventive dishes inspired by the "sights, colours and markets" of Bangkok include mud crab and lotus with swamp algae, rice-paddy herb and butter, and octopus poached in coconut oil with smoked chillies, taro, pomelo, pennywort and a 30-spice sauce.
113/9-10, Sukhumwit 55, Klongtan Nuei, Vadhana, Bangkok
Not to be confused with the Ku De Ta franchise's Ku Bar on Sathorn Square's 39th floor, cool Kŭ was opened without fanfare this year by mixologist Anupas "Kong" Premanuwat, formerly of New York's Angel's Share. The 18-seat speakeasy is located in a warehouse accessed by a small brown door on a dimly lit alley in Bangkok's Old Town; look for the spirit house. Inside is a long marble bar in a narrow minimalist space of breeze-block walls and raw concrete floors; grab a seat at the bar and drink by candlelight. The cocktail menu, which changes monthly, features the likes of 10 Herb, made with gin, honey, lime, egg white, burnt sugar, and jab liang, a traditional Chinese herbal tea. There's no standing, so bookings are essential.
469 Phra Sumen Rd, Rattanakosin (Old Town), Bangkok, +66 20 676 731
Sleep: 137 Pillars Bangkok
The spa pool at 137 Pillars Suites & Residences
The ultra-luxe 137 Pillars Suites & Residences couldn't be more different to its Chiang Mai parent, a 30-suite boutique hotel built around a 125-year-old traditional teak house that was the former headquarters of the East Borneo Company. Atop a 32-floor tower in hip Thonglor, the Bangkok property has 179 residences and 34 suites - named after the great royal periods in Thai history - on the highest floors with marble bathrooms, maxi bars, private pantries, and 24-hour butler service, and the city's highest infinity pool. The only nod to the north is the Bangkok Trading Post bistro, decked out in timber shutters, colonial tiles and old telescopes.
59/1 Soi Sukhumvit 39, Khlong Tan Nuea, Bangkok
Coming soon: Chef's table and market stall
Hard to say which of two imminent openings is the most anticipated: a chef's table for private meals, events and pop-ups in a beautiful old house being remodelled by Thai-born Ian Kittichai, of Issaya Siamese Club, No. 21 on Asia's 50 Best list. Or the ingredient-driven restaurant by Australian chef Jess Barnes of Opposite Mess Hall fame, which will be part of Viva Market, a one-stop shop in Thonglor for organic, free-range, sustainable produce, natural wines, and fair-trade coffee from Thailand and beyond.