Breakfast by the River of Kings at NEXT2 Café
Here’s an insider tip: The best seats at NEXT2 Café are along the shaded terrace perched alongside the Chao Phraya River.
With a seating capacity for 425 guests, the trendy and modern buffet restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok is a compelling outpost for fabulous breakfasts (6.30am to 10.30am), lavish lunches (11.30am to 2.30pm) and divine dinner spreads (6.30pm to 10.30pm). On Sundays, sumptuous brunches take place from 12noon to 3pm while a la carte menu is available from 6am to 11.30pm.
It pays to be an early bird for breakfast here. We managed to nab a table just metres away from the river edge; a nice viewing spot to see the passing parade of barges and passenger shuttle boats. There's even a designated section where guests are allowed to feed the fishes with bread provided by the hotel.
Wood, stone, slate and glass have been artfully employed by Tokyo-based Super Potato Co. Ltd to conceive the impressive yet welcoming restaurant with 168 seats nestled in air-cond comfort, 207 seats out on the riverside patio and 50 seats at the bar.
I took my own sweet time strolling around, to absorb the multitude of culinary activities and sensorial touch-points onsite. Designed as a self-service, market-style restaurant, I was beguiled by the six interactive cooking stations which serve popular Thai specialities, Japanese sushi, sashimi and appetisers, Asian noodles and homely fare, Western carvery, Indian delicacies and breads, and barbecue/grilled items.
My fave section was the plethora of healthy, delicious options catering to today’s increasingly growing group of fitness and wellness enthusiasts. I love the appealing ‘green’ presentation used to showcase the juices, assorted nuts and seeds, mixed salads, quinoa bowls and gluten-free muffins.
Led by Executive Chef Marc Cibrowius, the battalion of 30 chefs tirelessly pull out the stops daily to rustle up the morning feast at NEXT2 Café. The luxurious brekkie even includes real honeycomb served with waffles and pancakes made on request, house-churned ice creams and oven-fresh breads – from European crusty types to cottony-soft buns and flaky pastries.
Price: THB1,000 nett per person. For reservations, call NEXT2 Café tel: 66 2 236 7777 ext 6205-6 or 66 2 236 9952.
* * * * * *
An Afternoon Tea Affair at The Lobby Lounge
It was the golden bird cage on a stand that caught our imagination and lured us to savour the afternoon tea at The Lobby Lounge. Inspired by seasonal produce of the cold wintry season, the triple-decked Winter Flavours tea temptations was created by Executive Pastry Chef Claus Olsen.
We couldn’t think of a better way to spend a languid afternoon, our heartstrings plucked by the resident harpist who swept us away with her musical passion.
Revelling in the plush sofa seating, we had a field day sipping cups of artisanal tea whilst nibbling on the various savoury and sweet treats. Although some of the delicious morsels looked deceptively dainty, we soon discovered the selection was more than ample to satisfy us.
Nibbles that left an indelible impression included Bay Scallop, Arugula & Tomato on Herbed Mayo Toast, and Cheddar Cheese with Chutney on Tomato Bread. We also paused to admire the pretty cucumber and cream cheese rosette atop the granary bread before devouring it.
Hitting our sweet spot were meticulously crafted dessert treats which had unexpected bursts of flavour or interesting textural contrasts. It was fun comparing notes which delicate confection snagged our attention, teased our palate and delighted our tastebuds.
Towards the end, we found ourselves valiantly finishing the last crumbs lest the goodies went to waste. Our enjoyment of the sumptuous creations were heightened by mellifluous music and the attentive service of The Lobby Lounge’s efficient and cordial team.
Price: THB1,198++ per set (for two persons) inclusive coffee or tea.
(Note: Afternoon tea theme may change according to the Hotel's prevailing promotion. Food served may differ from the set shown in this blogpost).
For reservations, call The Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, tel: 66 2 236 7777 ext 6205-6.