I have fond memories of an offbeat restaurant on the street I first lived on in Bangkok.
The place was called Pickle Factory and served snacks like pizza and cocktails until late — sometimes very late depending on how much they liked you.
Now granted, there was a ton of things wrong with that place. And before someone who’s been around Bangkok long enough to do so, bursts my overly fond memory, I’d just like to point out as Bangkok experiences a restaurant explosion, places offering character, creativity, and community pocket extra WIN with people who love this city.
So whilst a faction of the foodie community in Bangkok is falling over itself to find the next ‘wow‘ place to overspend on, there always need to be places to gather and throw down on great food without the usual pomp (otherwise, we’d gladly stick to Thai street food).
Opposite (frequent host to art shows, screenings and pop up dinners) has a new restaurant concept called Mess Hall with the potential to become as much of a favorite watering hole as has the eclectic, cross-soi sister bar WTF.
So widely anticipated has Mess Hall’s arrival been, it’s preemptively been made one of CNN Travel’s top 9 picks for Bangkok’s best bars.
Got your attention, yet? Mine too!
I jumped on the bandwagon early and booked a private dinner with a small group of other food loving friends.
We basically signed up to come to a blind tasting which included a cocktail, 5-6 courses, and most importantly gave everyone an idea of what to expect from Mess Hall when it opens officially.
This month’s private dinners leading up to their full opening, along with catering and a few pre-order items have only fed into the hype surrounding Mess Hall, much of it word of mouth.
So you can bet I was in the house early to see which items from their experimental menu were selected for us to preview.
Traffic, natural disasters — the natural Bangkok traffic disaster –whatever may come– I knew I just couldn’t be late for dinner.
Especially not with strong cocktails and a slew of Mess Hall’s dishes meant to emphasize comfort through locally sourced and in-house specialty ingredients waiting to be devoured.
One thing you’re sure to notice as you make your way through the small, minimalist restaurant over to the diner-style long bar separating you from the open kitchen, is the ingredients jarred and stacked on the back wall.
The small kitchen team is involved in preparing many of their own ingredients and even many of the cocktails are mixed using blends of fruit and herbal concoctions made in-house.
Impressive for a small space which got noisy pretty quickly after friends piled in.
We had a party of about 14, but the space is said to be able to seat about 50 or so.
I’m scratching my head wondering where they’ll put everyone, but it will surely be a place where some hovering and rubbing of elbows takes place.
So you’d be right to add Mess Hall on to your list of places to try out once the doors open in a few days. I’m already putting it on the favorites list and I don’t doubt I’ll have to crowbar my way to through a crowd to get to the bar on my next visit.
But for the preview dinner I enjoyed making quiet, messy memories here!
The Bottom Line
Mess Hall’s motto is ‘Ordinary Pleasures Offered with Uncommon Pleasure‘ and this is definitely embodied by the food I tasted. Whip your weary palate into shape because unlike what you expect when eating Thai food, the dishes here are subtle and you may miss enjoying tender nuances of flavor if you don’t adjust.
Expect a small line of nibbling food with few heavy dishes and mainly items meant to be shared in small groups.
The true test of the restaurant will be how they respond to crowds and the initial influx of fans. If they can handle the crowds in true mess hall style with little fanfare and big delivery, they’ll be making a mess of Bangkok’s food scene before you know it.
Soft opening is rumored to begin as early as the weekend, but expect things to be fully roaring the first week of June.
Opposite Mess Hall
Prices: Not a place to break the budget, unless you really go crazy with the drinks. Expect a quick meal with a few dishes and alcohol to fall around 800-1200 baht per person.
Address: 27/2 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 2nd floor opposite WTF Gallery & Bar
Open Hours: 7pm to Midnight for food and for drinks 6pm til late.
Reservations: +66(0)2 662 6330
How to get there:
Easiest way to arrive is by sky train to BTS Thonglor and exit towards Sukhumvit soi 51. Follow the elevated skywalk until it ends and exit between Sukhumvit Sois 51 and 53. You can follow the small back alley path right to WTF and Opposite or go around and enter soi 51 and take the first small sub street to the left.
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