Disclaimer: In exchange for a review of UNO MAS, my associate and I received a comped dinner. Photos are courtesy of both Mr. Mark Reardon and UNO MAS.
“Spanish food in Bangkok, Thailand?”, you reluctantly utter…why not, I say. After repeatedly telling Thai restaurants pet pet (very spicy) and consequently, repeatedly not being able to speak for ten minutes at a time due to pet pet – by the way, do you know which peninsula introduced chilies to Thailand and much of the rest of the world? – I figured it was time for a change.
Located on the 54th floor of the Centara Grand hotel right behind the CentralWorld shopping center, close to the Siam and Ploenchit BTS (elevated rapid transit system) stations along the ever busy thoroughfare known as Sukhumvit, UNO MAS offers patrons not only a quality blend of Spanish and Catalan fare but also excellent views of the sprawling Bangkok cityscape. The head chef, Joan Tanya Dot, is an affable fellow and comes with more than fifteen years experience cooking in restaurants in England, the Cayman Islands and Spain.
Open daily from 16:00-01:00, UNO MAS (uno más= “one more”), which just opened early in December 2015, is separated into three parts: the 42-seat Wine Cellar right by the entrance, the casual 60-seat Tapas & Raw Bar and the somewhat more upscale 78-seat Open Air Dining Deck.
It’s a bit gimmicky – on top of an already inefficient, though kinda cool display – but whenever someone orders a wine, someone has to hop in a harness and reach for it.
Time to move on to the Food & Drink…
My associate and I were seated in the raw bar & tapas area, right by the window. There was a rather loud party seated not too far from us, but so as to not embarrass our host, I didn’t want to rock the boat.
Clockwise from the center: wild porcini mushroom croquettes, chicharrones, Catalan-style roasted vegetables “escalivada” with anchovies, Marcona almonds – one of my many weaknesses, “Joselito” charcuterie board, sardines with piquillo pepper sauce, sangria-drowned watermelon cubes, also known as “mock tuna on ice,” and potatoes with aioli. Everything was a hit…which proved to be an issue with trying to
finish savor the rest of the meal!
(The PR person introduced herself and said that everything would be ready in half an hour…in other words, they already had a set menu to introduce to us. Phew, that makes it easy, because everything on the menu sounded delicious.)
Cochinillo asado, or roast suckling pig, is one of the signature dishes of the restaurant. Amusingly, it is served with standard issue gravy, Canary Islands green mojo sauce (made of cilantro, oil and vinegar) and as a bow to the local population, nam jim jeaw, or dried chili sauce. Chef Joan, in the style of the Segovia region of Spain, cut the beautifully cooked pork with a plate, and then proceeded to break the plate, as if to say to the animal, “we’re even.” Maybe.
Moving southeast towards the coastal city of Valencia, we were also served seafood paella, replete with saffron-cooked rice, lobster, prawns, mussels, clams, and scallops (vieira). I know we’re both from the US but, even our stomachs have their limits. Still, both the paella and the cochinillo were quite nice, particularly considering the breadth of different flavors and textures available.
My only two complaints about UNO MAS are that the bread was very underwhelming – though that night, it’s not as if we needed bread – and lobster forks/claw openers were given to us only after we finished the lobster. It is likely that the bread will improve over time, and I reckon the latter issue was simply because the restaurant was still working out a few opening month kinks.
In all, with that caliber of cooking, good overall service and alfresco dining available year-round, I have high hopes for UNO MAS.