By : KEN BARRETT
24 January 2020
About: Opened only a few days before Christmas 2019, Albricias, which is Spanish for “good news” is a new venture inside the enormous Chatrium Residence serviced apartments complex at Naradhiwas Soi 24. The restaurant serves Mediterranean food, and is located on the 4th floor podium deck, which forms a very attractive interior garden with an outdoor bar. Chef Joan Tana Dot, who is from Spain, is in charge. Previously at Centara’s Uno Mas, and with a distinguished Michelin-littered career that includes Gordon Ramsay’s three-star restaurant at Claridge’s, Chef Joan is an avuncular presence in the restaurant, describing the dishes and often cooking tableside on the trolley. This is the first Albricias in what Chatrium intends to become a Chatrium brand, with the second due to open in a new complex at Siam Square later this year.
Decor: The decor does not really say “Mediterranean”, it rather says “Modernist/Minimalist”, and is in keeping with the complex’s transient international, mostly Asian, and substantially Chinese, guests. There is nothing wrong with it, but it could be anywheresville. What does add an exotic touch is the gorgeous garden on the other side of the glass wall, and the low, intimate lighting. A buffet-style outlet formerly occupied this space, and one has the idea that Albricias is a brand in progress.
Menu: Chef Joan sources high quality ingredients from Europe and, where appropriate, fresh produce from Thai farms, and in fact there is a video on the Albricias Facebook page that shows him selecting crops on a local farm. The menu is not over-large. There is a list of tapas at the beginning, which is changed regularly. We had shime saba (180 baht), Japanese mackerel that has been marinated with salt and rice vinegar, Chef Joan giving it a quick blast with a blowtorch so that the inside remained raw, and serving with a citrus yuzu gel. We had little tub-shaped bravas potato servings (180 baht) with black garlic aioli. Our baby spinach salad (420 baht) was a circular heaping of spinach leaves interleaved with Iberico Coppa Joselito, a particularly intense Spanish ham, liberally sprinkled with a pungent balsamic and honey vinaigrette. We had Hokkaido scallops (890 baht) cooked with ears of roasted cauliflower and with sweet corn milk sauce, a creamy dish that was enlivened by strips of the powerful Iberico Joselito ham. Our Atlantic snow fish (720 baht) was served with a black-ink crunchy coat and sautéed broccoli-like bimi. It was a return to the Joselito pork (it has a reputation as being amongst the best in the world) for presa Iberica Joselito, in which the sliced pork is grilled medium-rare tataki-style over charcoal (680 baht for two, 1,270 for four). There is a very good selection of wines by the glass, and we had a Redentore Cabernet Sauvignon from Veneto (490 baht), which was so good we shall look for it again.
Evaluation: An outstanding menu from an outstanding chef, who has really stamped his own identity on the cuisine. The Mediterranean, of course, is a huge region, and Med restaurants are all too often vague in their cuisine. Not so Albricias: this is highly distinctive and of very fine quality. All of the dishes are large enough for two people, making excellent value. Interesting it will be to see how Albricias progresses as a brand.