The recent opening in Bangkok of the sixth ZUMA restaurant in the global group has introduced to SE Asia the concept of a contemporary, sophisticated update to the traditional Japanese “izakaya” style of casual eating and drinking. The concept for ZUMA originated with Chef Rainer Becker and his opening of the first ZUMA restaurant in London in 2002, with the support of financial partner Arjun Waney. Taking inspiration from the informal Japanese izakaya, the ZUMA concept combines both the culinary and aesthetic design traditions of Japan, and interprets these into a modern, stylish dining and drinking experience. ZUMA presents high quality Japanese cuisine, served from open show kitchens, including the feature sushi and robata counters. The restaurant spaces are large, with the distinctive designs in each location created by leading Japanese design firms, drawing on both contemporary Japanese, and Western design influences, and with extensive use of natural building materials such as granite stone, and salvaged timbers. Following the success of the original London restaurant, the ZUMA team of Chef Rainer Becker and partner Arjun Waney, opened a new branch in Hong Kong in 2007, and subsequently in Istanbul and Dubai in 2008, followed by Miami in 2010. And now, December 2011, the expansion has reached Bangkok, Thailand. It will surely be a dynamic and innovative addition to the Bangkok dining and nightlife scene- attractive to both local residents and foreign visitors.
The main restaurant dining area
ZUMA Bangkok is prominently located on the ground floor of the prestigious The St Regis Bangkok and occupies a large corner indoor / outdoor space. The restaurant has entrances from both the ground floor internal lobby area, and also directly from the external driveway to the outdoor Terrace area. ZUMA has several distinct seating areas, within the overall open concept of the layout. The main restaurant dining area flows through the centre of the room, with the Robata Grill Counter aligned across one side, the main kitchen in the corner partially behind the granite block wall of the long Sushi Counter. A private dining and lounge room is located behind large timber doors at the rear of the room. A Lounge seating area is partially enclosed by the large glass walk-in wine cellar. The Bar is adjacent to the lounge area and is open on both sides- to the interior and also the outdoor terrace- with bar stool seating along both sides. The expansive outdoor Terrace area features both lounge and table seating on timber decking, under an extendable fabric awning. Uniquely, the Terrace area has air-conditioning ducts built into the rear stone wall- making for a comfortable outdoor environment on even the most steamy of tropical Bangkok nights. The Terrace offers guests a true “oasis” in the downtown urban jungle of Bangkok- a perfect choice for relaxing after-work drinks, or for spending an evening of chilled out drinks and conversations.
Dining tables and the “bamboo” feature wall
The sublime design of ZUMA Bangkok was created by the leading Tokyo design firm Studio Glitt- headed up by ex-Super Potato designer, Noriyoshi Muramatsu. The ZUMA restaurants in both Miami and Dubai were the work of Studio Glitt, and ZUMA in Hong Kong was a collaboration with Super Potato Design, as was the original London restaurant. The consistent design theme across all ZUMA restaurants is a contemporary style combining both Japanese and Western influences- typically minimalist and uncluttered, but with a meticulous attention to detail, and utilising extensively natural elements of stone and timber, plus glass and steel to provide a palette of natural tones and contrasting textures. The feeling is warm and inviting, casual yet sophisticated. Each ZUMA also incorporates elements of the local cultural influences of its locality- in Bangkok the designer has sourced salvaged timber railway sleepers for lining interior walls, and individually selected all the large granite rocks used in the construction. In the Private Lounge and Dining room, hand-woven Thai fabrics are used on furnishings and wall coverings.
Sushi counter with seating to watch the sushi chefs at work
The award-winning cuisine of ZUMA is a refinement of the casual origins of the Japanese “iazakaya” style- maintaining the authenticity of the dishes. The emphasis is on highest quality fresh ingredients, and a simple, natural presentation. The concept of “izakaya” is based on the sharing of dishes, consequently the menu is unstructured, with no distinctions made between starters and main dishes. Any dish can be ordered, from any of the three kitchens, at any stage of the dining experience. The three kitchens at ZUMA are the main kitchen, the robata grill and the sushi counter. The Robata Grill serves dishes comprising fresh vegetables, meats, poultry and fish all grilled over the charcoal flames of the open kitchen. A signature dish from the Robata Grill is gyuhire sumibiyaki karami zuke- spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy. The Sushi Counter offers a selection of daily fresh seafoods- served in sushi rolls, sashimi and nigri sushi dishes. Signature dishes include the dynamite spider roll- softshell crab, chilli mayonnaise, cucumber and wasabi tobiko sauce; and suzuki no asashimi- thinly sliced sea bass with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe. And from the main Open Kitchen- tsubu-miso gake hinadori no obun yaki- baby chicken marinated in barley miso, oven roasted on cedar wood. Service staff throughout are friendly, attentive, gracefully professional but unpretentious.
Robata Grill with solid granite counter
Lounge area and walk-in wine cellar
The beverages menu is strongly influenced by Japanese liquor traditions- featuring a large variety of premium sakes and shochu, including regional and hand-crafted artisan styles. Selections of the premium sakes are available by the glass.
ZUMA are also famous for their signature cocktails which are concocted from fresh tropical fruits and premium brand name spirits. The impressive all glass walk-in wine cellar holds over 1,500 bottles of wine, champagne and sake – sourced globally from the leading wine districts and vineyards. A selection of 14 wines are served by the glass. Bottle purchases of dark and white spirits are served with large clay trays with soda water & still water, lemon and lime wedges, six “in house” flavoured soda water (plum, green tea, pink grapefruit, grape, lychee and melon).
Alongside the alcohol based drinks are also selections of freshly squeezed seasonal fruit juices, Japanese and herbal teas, and coffee.
The interior side of the bar
Outdoor Terrace and bar
Outdoor Terrace seating- with air-conditioning built into rear stone wall
Nikka 12 year Single Malt Whisky- served with wooden ice bucket, still water and soda water
Loius Roederer Champagne- all champagne bottles served in wooden ice bucket with chilled glasses and strawberries
Uluvka Vodka bottle- clay tray with each bottle of dark or white spirits contains soda water & still water, lemon and lime wedges, six “in house” flavoured soda water (plum, green tea, pink grapefruit, grape, lychee and melon)
sashimi moriawase- 3 sashimi selection
california roll- steamed alaskan king crab, avocado and tobiko
watarigani no agemono- fried softshell crab with wasabi mayonnaise and mizuna
buta bara yuzu miso- pork belly skewers with yuzu and miso mustard
Pink Mojito- Crushed red roses, blue agave tequila, house sugar, orange blossom water, lime juice and soda water
Dragons Den- Ginger, mint, lychee, blue agave tequila, elderflower sugar, lime juice
Zuma Iced Tea- Green tea, passion fruit, lemon & sugar
Address: G/F at The St. Regis Bangkok Hotel & Residences, 159 Ratchadamri Road. Bangkok 10330 Thailand
BTS: Direct walkway access from Ratchadamri station
Reservations : +66.2252 4707
ZUMA Restaurant : Monday to Sunday Lunch 12:00 ~ 15:00 Dinner 18:00 ~ 23:00
ZUMA Lounge and Bar: Sunday to Thursday All Day 11:30 ~ 24:00 Friday & Saturday 11:30 ~ 02:00
Review article on ZUMA Hong Kong
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