Seek urban refuge in a greenhouse at ‘Bitterman’

Photo: Bitterman Restaurant / FB
Photo: Bitterman Restaurant / FB

COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Finding a getaway from the hustle and hype in the Silom financial district is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Apart from Starbucks, where a bunch of business-y people and hi-so-y students sit and work, there seems to be little in the way of peaceful places.

At least until Christmas when Bitterman, a new air-con greenhouse restaurant has arrived on Soi Sala Daeng 1. Adorned with glass and embellished with garden plants, Bitterman has taken over the now-defunct Jim Thompson’s Sala Daeng café and turned it into the industrial-style eatery. The founders, third-year architecture students, have brought a quirky design to the place.

Its rustic décor features factory lampshades hanging from the ceiling, long wooden tables matched with old-school chairs, few cactus pots set on each table and tropical plants hanging from the glass ceiling and growing from the ground. This creates ample green space to attract nearby office workers to come in and enjoy a slower pace before heading back to their office realities.

By the time I visited, the second floor was not yet open, but if you’d like to hold a big party or gathering, the staff said that can be arranged. There is also a smoking area on the second floor.

Bitterman serves a combination of Western and Thai dishes, ranging from a number of pastas to Kaw Niaw Khai Yang Som Tum (sticky rice served with Thai salad and Thai-style-grilled chicken, THB180). Despite the lack of photos on the lengthy menu (you might be unsure what to go for), the Bitterman waiters were there to save the day. He recommended “4.1” (THB760) – slow-cooked beef short ribs in red wine and beer served with mash potato and seared veggies, Mr. Rapee (THB280) – a large fresh river prawn topped up with melting cheese on the spicy Arrabbiata pasta and Wagyu steak, (THB240) which seemed overcooked and was far too salty and chewy, but was cut through by caramelized onion.

Beside these main course dishes, starters like Salmon Chae Hlao (THB180), 24-hour, Thai-whiskey cured salmon on a pancake, was a great kick off with the perfect zesty lime cream with bacon flakes on top.

A selection of white, red and sparkling wines (starting THB750) are available while only four cocktails are offered. The recommended apple Mojito (THB220) was a great disappointment – the glass was filled with some mint leafs and nicely decorated with apple slices, but regrettably, all I could taste was an apple syrup with an artificial apple aroma. I believe you won’t love it, unless you are fond of synthetic apples. Refreshment such as a nice-looking glass of Thai tea (THB80) didn’t taste as nice as its look – too much evaporated milk on top resulted in a bland flavor.

Bitterman is not only a place for a get together, perky couples, and office workers, but it’s also a place that you can ditch your friends to drink or dine on your own. I saw a number of young adults sitting alone with their laptops and caffeinated drinks.

If you are in town and looking to visiting Bitterman, the best and probably quickest way to get there is via BTS Sala Daeng. Walk to Sala Daeng Soi 1, then keep walking straight till you see the Tisco building, turn left and keep going until you find Bitterman’s glass house on the left.




Soi Sala Daeng 1/1, Silom, Bangkok




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