We once asked a local restaurateur for Bangkok food tips, and among them was: Uno Mas’s monthly “Domingo Fabuloso” brunch is one of the best values in town. We promptly added it to our “must do” list.
When the beginning of the month rolled around, we got a reservation to see if she was right.
To find Uno Mas, make your way to the Centara Hotel behind CentralWorld mall in Chitlom and take two elevators to the 54th floor. As you exit, you realize you’ve stepped into a party at 11:30am on a Sunday morning, with live music punctuated by the sound of champagne constantly being popped open.
Guests can take a vertigo-inducing perch by the windows to check out central Bangkok or avoid the sun — and make food access faster — by taking a seat closer to the buffet in the bright, airy restaurant.
Waitstaff comes around quickly to fill glasses with G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne, no off-brand prosecco here. They also plunk down menus. This is one of those new-style brunches where there are several stations of raw seafood, a few prepared soups, and charcuterie, but the main dishes are ordered from a menu, though guests can have as many as they like.
This style both makes the food fresher for diners and cuts down on food waste, since they aren’t having to ditch warming trays full of uneaten food if certain dishes aren’t consumed.
As we sat, an amuse bouche was placed on the table, a signature item from the restaurant that they call a Deconstructed Olive. As you place the salty, briny, jelly sphere in your mouth, it explodes not unlike roe, spraying your mouth with olive-y goodness. Another amuse arrived a moment later, this one a bit of pate on a flax cracker. Next came a staff member with a basket of warm croissants and homemade apricot jam.
The drink menu on the table let us know that, in addition to champagne, cava, white wine, rose, red wine, and sherries — all from Spain — were available with the free flow package, as was Estrella draught beer, Gazpacho Bloody Mary, Daiquiri, Margarita, Bangkok Bellini, Cava Royal, Mimosa, Sangria, and Sparkling Sangria.
We visited the cold seafood stations, grabbing tiger prawns, langoustines, Manila clams, and oysters of Fine de Claire and Gilldou varieties. We made a stop at the lobster section where rock, Phuket, and Maine varieties sat side-by-side-by-side. There was also a caviar station and a cart where a chef was preparing garlic clams.
The charcuterie area featured Joselito Iberian cured meats including sobresada, chorizo, lomo, and an entire ham leg bone cured for 42 months. A friend in the food supply business whispered to us that the leg easily cost THB50,000 wholesale and half of it is unsellable bone.
On to ordering from the menu. We tried one of everything from the raw bar menu. The Live Maine Lobster Ceviche was prettily presented in its shell and got a kick from the aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper) it was served with.
The Cured Presa Iberica Tartare tasted fresh and rich, set off by orange gel, chipotle peppers, trendy black garlic, and topped with a raw ostrich egg.
Carabinero Red Prawn Carpaccio was one of the less traditional dishes we tried, and apparently, also one of the brunch’s most frequently ordered. A single large red Spanish prawn was pounded flat and topped with oscietra caviar and served sitting in a pool of marcona almond foamy emulsion with one full nut atop. The sea flavor was interesting against the sweet almond.
Finally, the Tuna Tiradito is simply slices of raw tuna on a bit of guacamole and dressed with a very spicy Spanish Japanese fusion dressing.
After these dishes, a short break was in order to sip bubbles and try Uno Mas’ creamy-tasting Gazpacho Bloody Mary, a small portion served in a stemmed glass. The addition of cilantro and green tomato make the drink more sophisticated than vodka and tomato juice mixtures. During our tipple, the guitarist broke out into a spirited rendition of “Despacito”. The champagne must have been doing its work. We enjoyed this more than expected, even making a video of it.
Next up were a few selections off the From The Sea and From The Butcher menus.
Hokkaido Scallop with Iberico Joselito Ham was served with a few spears of asparagus, sauteed summer mushrooms, and the velvet-iest cauliflower puree. Gone in just a few bites, the tender, sweet scallop played off the rangier, salted meat nicely.
Atlantic Octopus with Mashed Potato was served with smoked paprika and based on the traditional Pulpo a la Gallega (fair-style octopus) tapas recipe. The bits of octopus were large and tender.
The Charcoaled Iberico Presa Pork is another of the restaurant’s most famous dishes, served as a large portion at dinner designed to be shared by three or four people. The meat is completely charred on the outside while staying tender inside and served with an surprisingly tasty citric carrot puree and baby carrots.
We finished with a few small selections from the dessert section: some housemade chocolates, canele, and a selection from the menu: Basque Country Double Cheesecake, a dish we were warned is not like a cheesecake at all and another oft-mentioned dish when people talk about Uno Mas. It looks like a cheesecake but isn’t sugary. It comes with lemon gel and fig jam but it’s disconcerting, as a dessert lover, to try such a savory cheesecake.
As the 2pm mark rolled around, the staff came through the room with small takeaway cartons, explaining that we could take dessert home, if we liked. It was a great touch and a nice thought since many buffet goers end up too full for a sweets course after hours of eating.
So, was the brunch one of the best values in town? At over THB3,000 per person, it’s certainly not cheap. But — the variety and high quality of the food and drinks, from premium booze brands to top-level cured meats, make it good value for money.
We packed up our little box and went home for a very pleasant nap.
“Domingo Fabuloso” Brunch at Uno Mas
Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 54th floor
99 Rama 1 Rd.
1st Sunday of the month, 11:30am-2:30pm
THB3,555 including free-flow champagne, wines, and cocktails