Tabasco Wine Bar and Bistro is situated on the little river that flows through main city of Rayong. There’s not much happening on the river, besides being lined with restaurants and bars in downtown Rayong. There’s no small boats passing by like in the city’s past, and worse, at Tabasco the green water was eerily lit with bright white spotlights from the restaurant. It seemed as if the restaurant was on the lookout for a creature who might have had enough sewer water to flail out of the river, grab your steak, wine, and eventually you for dinner. I checked, but there didn’t seem to be any local tales of river monsters or the Thai canal version of Lochness.
In other words, this riverside restaurant seems to be a safe place to be inebriated. The scariest parts of my visit to Tabasco Wine Bar turned out to be the music being played (a compilation of 2007’s Top 40 slow songs and boy band hits) and trouble bringing me the wine I ordered (which, in turn, made me a little scary).
“The wine and music gaffes at Tabasco worked to reinforce my need for a drink…”
The wine list isn’t enormous, but impressive for Rayong. There’s more than a few pages of wines to flip through and the staff encouraged me to have a look on my own by visiting the restaurant’s wine gallery. In a rush, I settled on a bottle Echeverria’s Chilean Carmenere which had a friendly price of 890 THB. When they told me the wine wasn’t available, I opted for the same winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, also 890 THB.
At first sip, the chilled wine was strongly astringent, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. The initial note, however, was of fragrant, dark fruit, so I decided to stick with the wine to see what it became. While the wine warmed, I ordered pork collar, grilled beef, and had the staff bring out their aerator for the wine. The strategy of pairing the Thai grilled meats with a full bodied red wine worked. Although, the pork collar didn’t have enough going for it to contribute, the steak helped to reveal the wines depth of flavors. Around the same time, the live music began and a band began belting familiar Thai and foreign tunes which matched the atmosphere well. When they took a break and the other music came back, I knew it was time to run for the hills.
The bill came and I realized I had been drinking the 2010 Reserve version (Reserva, 1450 THB) instead of the cheaper cabernet I’d ordered. I should have caught this mistake, but they were good about not leaving the bottle on the table. The management cleared this up and besides their choice of music, Tabasco turned out to be a solid post dinner stop.