While its luxury hotel home in Bangkok’s Mahanakhon skyscraper remains delayed, Mexican restaurant Ojo Bangkok opened last week for diners to eat fine fare and drink in a bird’s-eye view of the city.
Located on MahaNakhon’s 76th floor, Ojo is named named after Mexican spiritual craft Ojo de Dios (Eye of God). Its interior vies for attention with sheer glamor – a shimmering, liquid-gold backdrop, visually arresting quartz crystal, and gigantic chandeliers.
The food comes from the brawny tattooed arms and infectious smile of Francisco “Paco” Ruano, who finds himself in Bangkok by way of Guadalajara. Get in the mood for crab meat guac and chicharon with tartare because even though there is definitely a medley of influences, the fare is distinctly Mexican in flavor.
For appetizers, Paco serves a refreshing Coconut Ceviche (THB420) with white natto leche de tigre and yellow chili alongside a Wagyu Carne Apache (THB780) with dried shrimp and chicharon.
Paco’s signature Ojo Guacamole (THB480) comes with crab meat topped with red caviar and goes well slathered on the house made corn tostadas. The baby corn Esquites (THB390) seem quite simple, but their jalapeno mayo has a fantastic, faint macadamia flavor.
The big, memorable main dish was the melt-in-your-mouth Birria Beef Short Rib (THB2,500): slow-cooked and bathed in a jalisco adobo sauce. It’s the kind of dish diners moan at when it comes to the table. Similarly, the Pescado Zarandeado (THB1,100), grilled fish dish that relies on coriander and chili adobo for a spicier kick. Carnitas (THB1,400), confit pork ribs with pickled vegetables and “lazy salsa”, is definitely another recipe that’s perfect for sharing.
Mains are served with beans, tortillas, and sticky rice.
Opt for the arroz con leche (THB350) for a smooth, refreshing dessert mixing vanilla creamy rice, white chocolate, and the star of the dish, cinnamon ice cream. For riskier flavors, try the dark chocolate tamal (THB350) for crystalized mint in pandan ice cream.
The drinks, too, follow the Mexican and Caribbean theme, with the Batanga (THB340) a solid favorite, a simple mix of tequila, house-made cola, lemon, and black and pink salt on the rim.
All of this is couched, of course, in what is likely one of the best views in the city and touts designer Ou Baholyodhin’s jewel, marble, and gold aesthetics inspired by Central America. It’s also got a retro playhouse vibe. The 50-second elevator ride to the top is a tourist attraction in and of itself.
With Ojo now open, it’s only a matter of time before The Standard hotel is ready for guests; a representative recently said the hotel will open next month.
Ojo is located on the 76th floor of The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. More information is available online.