So What Floats Your Boat?
January 15, 2021
As the sun set in a blaze of colour over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, our perch on the deck of Sirimahannop gave us an enviable vantage point to the drama unfolding before our eyes.The air had a just-washed quality to it with a slight nip. Perfect for our planned al fresco dining experience. But for the moment we were pretty much focused on the magical cocktail hour.
When the last rays of the sun lost their battle with night we turned our attention to the dozen Fine de Claire oysters that sat on the table between us. The river never disappoints nor does the champagne-oyster combo. We were the first to board this three-masted vessel on permanent anchor at the Asiatique but as we looked around somehow the other tables had filed up quite unnoticed by us. The carefully designed setting – a mix of outdoor sofas, cocktail tables, bar stools along the starboard side and a bar – is spaced out enough to give everyone their private space to anchor the evening. A teenager in the company ensures there’s a steady flow of food and as we lingered over the drinks, spicy chicken popcorn tenders (addictive), green papaya fries (a revelation), smoked mackerel with ship biscuits and horseradish sauce (phenomenal), crunchy fish sliders, fish tacos… all layered on to the evening.
A comfortably elegant space the Sirimahannop builds on the timeless allure of the Chao Phraya River. Managed by Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, it is a replica of a Royal Thai navy ship which during the reign of King Chulalongkorn or Rama V (1868-1910) ran the trade route between Thailand and Europe. It was also one of six ships that protected the Thai capital during the Franco-Siamese War in 1893. The timeless styling of the boat underlines the romance of seafaring. Below decks is a large air-conditioned dining room that seats a hundred. Perfect even for private parties. Two private rooms cater for up to six people. Above decks and below, the menu is identical moving from bite-sized delicacies to decadent sharing baskets. For truly refined dining, The Bridge offers carefully crafted three-, four- or five-course menus that fuse the flavours of Thailand, Scandinavia and exotic ports in between. Advance reservations are required for this experience for six diners. Then there’s a secret rum bar to discover, behind a hatch, but that is only on the captain’s invitation.
The secret Rum Bar
Remember the teenager? We were now on to serious stuff: curry baskets – Beef cheek green curry served with roti and a smoked mackerel and salmon soup served with rice. And of course, fish and chips served with a Bengal curry. The menu devised by executive Chef Michael Hogan and senior executive sous chef Daniel Bucher is a voyage of discovery. That the two get the casual, sharing dining concept so perfectly right is no surprise. Easy though it may seem, this is a balancing act that can easily go wrong.
The drink list is fairly exhaustive featuring all the usuals along with an excellent collection of rums. Of the cocktails the Lychee stands out (vodka , Chardonnay, Aperol, lychee, citrus) and amongst the virgin ones Kickstarter (orange, pineapple, chili, honey, citrus, pink peppercorns)gets a nod from the teenager. Will we be going back? Yes.
What better way to let your imagination travel than onboard a boat!
(Open: 4pm-9pm Monday-Friday, 12 noon-9pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Permanently docked at Asiatique The Riverfront; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bangkokmarriottmarquisqueenspark.com)
The air-conditioned dining room on the lower deck