After sleeping off the massive meat coma from Meatlicious the night before, we slept in a little bit before heading down to breakfast. I used to think the W Bangkok had the best hotel breakfast in the world, and while it’s still very good it’s just not up there any more.
A lot of the problem seems to be that the hotel now caters to large tour groups especially on the weekends, so the breakfast is usually crawling with people and often quite picked over and not at all relaxing. Reminder to self, it may finally be time to stop staying at the W and choose one of the other excellent hotels in Bangkok.
That said, the breakfast was still excellent, with plenty of fresh fruit, great vienoiseries, and dim sum.
After grabbing some Starbucks for proper caffeination, we headed out to do a little bit of exploring since Ian had never been to Bangkok before. It was a shockingly pleasant morning out, not too humid, and on the walk to the SkyTrain we encountered a worker cleaning the koi pond next to the W. There was something “creature from the lagoon” about it…
We road the SkyTrain to the Siam stop, where the celebration of Pocky Day (apparently that’s what 11/11 is now in Asia?) was well underway:
We wandered a bit in the CentralWorld Mall, and I really wanted the “Stranger Trump” t-shirt, but decided to be good and resist:
The “Bloody Bunny & Friends” store just left me confused.
Hey, I’m not high, Jer high! (Well, at a minimum the cat in the ad is definitely high!)
Whatever I was battling had me feeling pretty sick again, and after some sitting around and a fresh orange juice I was feeling better so it was back to the hotel to rest up a bit.
We’d decided that since Bangkok is the home of affordable massage we would book for the afternoon, and based on great reviews we decided to try Perception Blind Massage. Bangkok has hundreds and hundreds of massage places, so it’s a bit hit and miss, but the reviews for Perception were quite good so we decided to give it a go.
I was feeling just better enough that a massage sounded like a nice idea, so we headed out. It turned out to be barely a five minute walk from the W, so that was definitely nice. We booked the two hour thai massage plus head/neck/back, and were in for an adventure.
You know it’s gonna be fun when Ray Charles greets you in the entrance:
Other than the massage school at Wat Po the only massages I’ve done in Bangkok before have been high-end hotel massages, so I was a bit surprised we were led to what were essentially mattresses on the floor with curtains separating the massage areas. That said, it was dark (not like anyone could see anyways?) and once I relaxed it was an excellent experience.
It was definitely one of the better massages I’ve ever had, and I really enjoyed the whole experience…and at less than $40 including tip for two hours it was a bargain.
They even take a picture with you at the end to post on their social media if you’re ok with it. Very cool experience, and it’s great to see a company creating jobs for the difabled (my new word from Indonesia) and assuming they do pay people fairly you not only get a massage but get to do some good.
Nice and relaxed, it was late afternoon and time to shower up and head out to our early 6:30p dinner at Sorn. We were still a bit bummed out that Gaggan had closed, but were really looking forward to the 20 course menu at Sorn in its stead. Things started off with the classy menu:
First two courses: (1) young mangosteen with crispy krill, shallot, and coconut plum sugar and (2) cashew nut relish with cashew nut butter and cucumber. Both were delicious bite-sized starters, and the hidden chili paste at the bottom of the cashew packed a huge punch!
Next up was course (3) called “The Beach” – sand mole crabs with seaweed powder. This also had some Thai chilis and while a little spicy, was an awesome combination of flavours and textures.
Course (4) was a bonus course, and was charcoal-grilled abalone. Delicious! The presentation of every course was amazing – nothing was just served, every course was a production.
Next up as course (5) was the “2 degree lobster” which was phuket lobster with mixed thai herbs and lime zest. Served super cold, it was absolutely delicious, and you could really taste the sea in the lobster. Not at all fishy, but a briny taste that was really awesome with the texture.
Number (6) is one of their traditional dishes which never changes, the “Gems on crab stick version 2) – crab, crab roe, yellow chili paste, ginger, and lemongrass. Absolutely delicious, with a really fierce chili burn on the back end from the yellow chili paste. One of the highlights for me – especially the crab roe in the mother of pearl spoon.
Up for number (7) to cool some of the heat from the previous course was “coco on coconut” – “all good things from coconut” – southern plants, dried quid and shrimp – the coconut milk broth was wonderful for killing the heat and was served quickly enough after the previous course to help. I loved the serving bowl and spoon!
The eighth (8) course was called “Fresh off the Boat” (version 2) – and was black squid, squid ink, and squid roe. Absolutely delicious.
For course (9) we had what was definitely one of the highlights for me, roti crab curry (version 3) with roti pastry, crab curry, and pepper tree leaf. Just enough spice from the curry, but you could really taste the crab. I loved this course.
For course (10) we had a dish called “vegetables” which was prepared table-side. The tray of vegetables came out, and then the chef prepared it. It was called “the forest meets the sea” and was described as southern herbs, tumeric rice, morinda rice, and fish innards dressing. It was an absolutely fantastic salad – very fragrant, but also super combination of tastes.
Courses (11) through (16) were all served family style at the same time and included (11) fresh yellow curry with mangosteen and fish roe, (12) pumpkin and egg with lobster and pork, (13) grilled smoked duck breast with southern chili paste, (14) steamed egg and winter melon soup, (15) stinky beans, and (16) oxtail curry.
The condiment tray for the family style course:
Pumpkin and egg – Nakon Si Thammarat pumpkin, free range organic egg, lobster, and pork. Absolutely my favourite disk, but rather rich. On the top you can see the stinky beans with homemade abalone, mantis shrimp and hoof fermented sauce with sea conch. These two dishes together stole the show.
Oxtail curry with fresh coconut milk – a little too fatty for my preference, but very tasty.
Next was a palate cleanser of torch ginger sorbet.
Dessert was natural tapioca boiled in coconut water with longan ice, longan jam, frozen coconut milk, and grilled coconut. Very unusual and not textures I was used to having combined, but really good.
Finally, a signature desert to end things off.
…and because that wasn’t enough, Thai tea with coconut cakes. An amazing way to finish an amazing meal.
We may not have been able to eat at Gaggan, but still had an amazing dinner, and would recommend Sorn very highly to anyone who’s up for some rather spicy southern Thai food!
It was still early, so we decided to stop by Mikkeller to have a couple beers to end the night. They were having a tip fundraiser to support Justin Bieber’s retirement, so I was definitely a big supporter!
Back to the W, and it was still early, so I stopped by the bar for a nightcap. They no longer had the purple cocktail I’d had on previous visits, but the bartender remembered it and agreed to make it. The staff really make the W for me, and are one of the biggest reasons I keep coming back.
Fat and happy full of delicious Thai food it was off to bed. The short tour around Southeast Asia was coming to an end and we had to head off to the airport in the morning. Ian was headed home after what was mostly a short mileage run, and I would head on to Vietnam for the next segment of my trip!