By : KEN BARRETT
22 January 2019
About: Tenshino is a Pullman King Power brand restaurant that opened last June and pushes the boundaries of Japanese cooking into new and interesting directions, adding French techniques and ingredients along with a bohemian setting that evokes a Left Bank bistro. Chef in charge is Yohei Okita, who is from Tokyo, and who insists that the F-word (fusion) is not appropriate: the food remains essentially Japanese.
Decor: Danish designer Hans Bogetoft Christensen has created one of the most exotic hotel restaurant settings in Bangkok. Tenshino occupies the spot that was formerly the Wine Pub, but the space is unrecognisable. A splurge of colour washes over you, with bottle green panelling, floral glass screens, a twilight-blue wall studded with countless framed paintings, chairs in aquamarine and tangerine, and horseshoe-shaped banquette seats in a red so delicious they look edible. Vintage lampshades add a Victoriana glow, and the waitresses wear kimonos that have wild, swirling patterns (although the chaps are dressed in dun-coloured bellboy uniforms). The overall effect is rather as if Vincent Van Gogh had been hitting the absinth a little too hard.
Menu: We were presented with a choice of chopstick colours, and our Dassai Junmai Daiginjo sake (560 baht) was served in 12cl tulip-shaped wine glasses, which made it dangerously easy to drink. Along with a handsome list of sakes there is a good choice of wines from a selection of producer countries. The menu is not overlarge. Wagyu beef tartar (980 baht) was moist and served with leek and white sturgeon caviar, with a dip of citrus flavoured ponzu sauce. Most of the fish is fresh in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market, which opened late last year and has taken on much of the work of the aging Tsukiji Market. Our sashimi (1,170 baht) was a good-sized selection in a deep bowl. Perigord foie gras (550 baht) came in large slices poached with pumpkin and served in a ginger dashi broth. We had wild turbot from Brittany (1,700 baht) served on a large leaf with yuzu mustard. We ended with suki (1,870 baht), the rich sake broth simmering on a stone, the slices of Kagoshima beef big and creamy. We did manage a nibble of the chestnut flan with raspberry sauce (290 baht) from the dessert listing, but the call of the main menu had been difficult to resist, leaving little capacity for sweet dishes.
Evaluation: This is a bold venture for Pullman King Power, because the hotel despite its proximity to the BTS Skytrain Phaya Thai station is away from the usual foodie groove districts. Nonetheless, there is the enormous King Power duty-free centre here, and a huge residential hinterland. The restaurant was doing extremely good business: there is a communal table large enough for at least twenty guests, tucked in near the door, and there was a party going on there; plus most of the standard tables were taken. Manager Nancy is a lovely, jolly hostess: she is a Thai who studied in France, has clocked up several years working at Michelin-rated restaurants, and she is a big personality fronting this most intriguing of restaurants.