On our way to another restaurant we spotted the Poster of Whale’s Belly. All you can eat weekend brunch chosen from their Brunch menu. The pictures looked very well presented and in dainty portions. We detoured and set for the restaurant. The warm welcome that we received from the staff already signaled the level of service for this restaurant. Warm. Inviting. Sincere. Unpretentious. This was a 10/10 for me already.
The drinks menu ranged from cocktails, imported mineral waters, juices, beers, virgin cocktails and coffee all ranging from 150 onward. Let me say that the honey lime soda was exceptional and worth it’s price. It was fresh, and well balanced drink – To make it perfect i think is very hard which they executed perfectly.
They have a nice variety of choices that should satisfy everyone – Maybe some more non fish options would be nice but considering it’s called Whale’s Belly maybe the lean was on seafood. We ordered the Tuna, Salmon Tartare and Onsen Egg to Start with a Lobster Bisque and the Truffle Soup to start and nibbled on warm I think Charcoal and Sunflower seed bread with salted butter in a nice swirl pat. I appreciate the spreadable butter still cold but not rock hard. I believe that in fine dining restaurant this should be something that is cared about. 10/10 again.
Our first three starters arrived in succession. The salmon tartare was a pretty sight, i appreciate the generous topping of ikura. Sometimes chefs think garnishes are really a garnish but i think if it’s on something it contribute to the taste at least. If you are going to add an ingredient make sure you can taste it. And yes the saltiness of the eggs counterbalanced the creamy wasabi dressing and the yuzu cut through your tongue plus the firmness of the salmon was very good. I liked the fluffy chip on top for some texture. It was a bit different from most Parmesan chips i had this one was definitely fluffy. It was a great start definitely.
Now on to our Iron Chef winning dish. It really peaked our interest that this dish won – It came in a very pretty looking noodle spiral and the chunks of tuna on top.
I like how the layers work together – The Blue crab was not watery and tasted like fresh gulp of the sea. I admit i think there was a bit too much capellini but it was al dente and felt like those HK abalone noodles in texture. The lumpfish caviar helped with the saltiness and the tuna was fresh and dense with flavor. This time the yuzu is cut with a more intense peppery taste. I like the spice factor with this dish. But less noodles. Let’s say this portion is 2 bites – Perfect for sharing.
Our third course was the warm onsen egg with beurre blanc and crispy bacon pieces. Even though i prefer a more sharper beurre blanc but this dish had a dimension of creaminess although not overpowering until it was too creamy. The crispy bacon bits gave that nice crunch with every bite. Only problem is it wasn’t a 62 degree egg. I think the yolk over cooked somehow. I think the problem with Bangkok is fresh eggs are a bit hard to find. To find a new egg to make that perfectly poached egg with complete whites will holding together if a bit difficult.
I think maybe it waited a bit too long in the sou vide and the yolk set. All in all it’s still a beautiful dish and tasted how eggs should. Creamy, buttery and bacony. 9/10
I’m not a truffle oil fan. Usually it’s artificially flavored you can feel the fakeness of the oil. Mushrooms on the other hand i love. I think it’s the combination of mushrooms used to make a soup sometimes it feels grainy. This was a thick watery puree of well made mushroom pillowy goodness. The milk foam on top lent that pillowy feel. Then you crunch on an almond sliver. This is the best mushroom soup i ever had. Truffle oil… Not so much. But they should rename this the Best Mushroom Soup ever… Period. It didn’t even need the truffle oil.
Lobster bisque is a tricky thing. That delicate creaminess and lobster taste with the booze. There must be a balance. I’m not a fan of those heavy roux based soups. Sometimes the flour is too much and you can taste the uncooked roux or it’s just too thick and not in a good way. This bisque was made well – Balanced Boozy , creamy mouth feel with a sweetness i figure from the carrots. Slightly too sweet for my liking but as mentioned i like boozy bisques. Everyone mopped the bowl clean with the bread. Every foodie has a mean streak. Either they like to complicate menus just to see how the chef will perform or ask for crazy food combos. I do the opposite.
I like to order the most basic thing on the menu and see how well they performed. Thus this is what i ordered to test the chef…. Can you guess?
Spaghetti Aglio – I never understood why it was so appealing until i went to Italy. Before it was an oil bland tasting dish. But Italy was another story. I must say Whale’s Belly impressed me. I would prefer a bit more garlic and a more firmer pasta but they had that nice balance of dried chillies, basil and the dried tomatoes for a bit of a kick. Although i wouldn’t call this traditional it was done well. I dare to say better than 90 percent of the ones i tasted in Bangkok. Good Job. Maybe a smaller portion with the same ingredients would have made this a 10. Let’s throw another curve ball to the chef with another annoying dish made so badly in many restaurants it’s a pity.
I doubt that alot of people know that it’s created in Mexico – Although the owner was Italian American but it’s not a traditional dish per se. A Caesar salad done well is a nother rarity. Usually it’s over dressed, or too little dressing – too sharp tasting – too watery. I think the perfect Caesar salad is right here. Salads need to be done right. Each leaf cleaned dried and coated with just the amount of dressing and served right away. Balance of saltiness – sharpness – creaminess i like a heavier hand of anchovies but this is a perfect salad.
Lovely – Totally Ethereal feel. The crab was light and tasted of the sea and not waterlogged which seems to be a big problem many times we had a crab salad. Very well done. The rocket was fresh – dressed and gave that not overpowering bitterness to compliment the crab. The dressing was a fruity lightness that really went well and made this dish a 10.
The raviolis came under a puffy cloud of milk foam. Well i presume it’s milk foam. The buttery taste felt like creamy savory warm milk shake. Fluffy and not dense and heavy. I like that there was a lot of stuffing and the spinach was well seasoned. Sometimes you get a spinach ravioli which is a watery yucky mess.
Finally on to the main course…..
Sea Bass is so plentiful in Thailand it became a boring fish. It’s everywhere. So again, let’s see how the chefs here made it amazing. Firstly Sea Bass is quite a delicate fish – You over cook it and it’s tough. At Whale’s Belly they made the skin so crispy like you can hear it popping between you teeth. Like you were eating a very thin pork belly in HK. Fluffy Ethereal crunch of dry crispiness deliciousness. The meat was not overcooked at all. The thin fillet was a yin yang of crispy and soft flakiness. I see the base creamy sauce here in alot of the dishes with a few tweaks to make the taste not boring so I think it’s not a crime that isn’t unforgiving. This is the best Sea Bass i had in a not Asian Way. it’s a 20/10 dish. I think the next time we come we’d have 10 of this.
Lamb Chops are everybody’s favorite dish. My mom in particular. She wont eat lamb any other way. It’s because stewed lamb has a tendency to become stringy and dry. I stopped making lamb stew at home cause she wont eat it. Period. To my surprise. This lamb shoulder was dense and moist enough not to be dry and stringy. IT was tender and delicate. Then the peppery, sweet rich sauce kicks in to flavour the dish. The black pepper has that bitter spiciness which can stand up to the strong flavour of the lamb. I’m not sure if the Chef learned the insane Potato Puree from Joel Robouchon – It was such a smooth light buttery heaven that just mixes with everything and takes it to another level. Maybe a danger to your heart but it would sure mend a broken one.
The Wagyu Cheek was alright – I think it was the superbness of all the dishes that made this poor Wagyu last. We actually ate in order – Fish, Beef and Lamb as to not overpower our palate. Poor Wagyu – The delicate pickled roll up daikon which cut so sweetly with a balanced sourness through the red wine sauce and the pull apart cheek shed a poor tear when he heard us discussing we like the other two dishes more. It wasn’t his fault poor thing – sometimes getting a 9.5/10 just isn’t enough.
With barely enough room for dessert the 3 of us managed 1 Brownie and 1 Affrogato. I like crusty brownies. I’m not a fan of oily rich brownie mixes that half of what you are eating is vegetable oil. I like dark rich crusty brownies which puts up a fight with the cold ice cream.
With sucha heavy meal i was hoping the espresso will wake me up.
It came in a cute little up with chocolately crumbs on top. The espresso was so rich rich rich. The ice cream did it’s best to soften the blow and you chomp your way through delicious balls of crunchy cookie / chocolately bits. It’s a dessert. Not a drink.
I would say for this price range it was one of the best tasting menus made to order meals i’d ever had. You can spend the same somewhere else and get a crappy pizza and half hearted pasta with rushed service. Are we coming again? Definitely. Will i spread the word around? I promise. Thank You Whale’s Belly for reminding me and Bangkok what 5 star service and a fine dining experience for a reasonable price looks like.
*** Review is entirely from my point of view and we paid for our own food.