By : MICHAEL MOORE
18 February 2016
About: With several outlets in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand, Wine Connection has been enormously important in helping develop Thailand into a country enamored with wine. Initially a place to buy a reasonably priced bottle, it has added several outlets with dining facilities. The latest of these is a Wine Connection plus steakhouse called “The Grill” at CentralWorld's, The Groove. Wine Connection obviously has high expectation for this outlet and describes it as its “flagship” location on its website.
Setting: The Grill is located at The Groove, the CentralWorld shopping mall's upscale dining area. Although it is physically connected to the mall, The Groove and its numerous restaurants are isolated enough to avoid the stigma of being a location where shoppers go to refuel themselves during a shopping binge. The restaurants are upmarket and often visited by people who are interested primarily in dining rather than shopping. The Grill itself is situated in a ground floor corner location of The Groove and looks and feels the same as Wine Connection's other wine shop cum dining spots. This means there is a wine shop at the entrance, a modern atmosphere with numerous seating options and loads of chattering customers who are obviously enjoying themselves.
Menu: The Wine Connection has an uncanny ability to suss out the essence of what drinkers and diners are really interested in. Most places serving steak in Bangkok seem more interested in the status of their steaks rather than what they taste like. The menu here is short, to the point and the steaks are as good as any we have had in Bangkok. There is a minimum of trumpeting about where the steaks are from, what the animal has been fed and the amount of marbling the beef contains. The menu contains a total of nine different steaks from Australia, the USA and Japan. A rack of lamb from New Zealand is also available.
There were two people in our party and we had a 500 gm hunk of medium-cooked Chateaubriand (2390 baht). It arrived perfectly done and was accompanied by a choice of sauces – Béarnaise, BBQ, herbs and butter, green peppercorn, red wine and blue cheese. Side dishes, like those found in any steakhouse, plus unique items like portobello mushroom, are available at 90 baht per dish. We also had the 420 gm (790 baht) lamb rack. It was equally tasty and by Bangkok standards very reasonably priced.
For those not interested in a steak, the menu found at other Wine Connection outlets is also available.
Evaluation: Forget the hype about marbling and whether your beef was massaged by the farmer, the steaks at The Grill are excellent and they are cooked to perfection. Although the menu is short, a variety of cuts are available and the side dishes are especially well done. Our only quibble is with the atmosphere at The Grill. We would like to see more emphasis on “steakhouse.” At the present time, the restaurant feels like the other Wine Connection outlets. This place serves great steaks and this needs to be communicated more emphatically. Having a steak is more than simply eating a hunk of meat. It is a special kind of experience in a special kind of restaurant.