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You know that first date feeling when you’re visibly a little jittery? That’s me in the latest episode of Bangkok Bites (powered by instant reservation making app Chope) in the heart of the city’s prime real estate populated by glass-paned offices, luxury hotels, and embassy compounds. The atmosphere and some infatuation makes the early nervous dialogue on one of these first dates really tricky. For instance, maybe the potential ‘tee-rak’ (an affectionate term in Thai) says something along the lines of “I’m not really much of a foodie,” and the air in the room suddenly deflates. You feel queasy, searching with your eyes for exits, “WTF am I doing here?”
That was my feeling exactly, after excitedly entering the oversized door to Osha Thai Restaurant, only to immediately be told I can’t wear shorts inside. Now, granted, Osha is nice. Fancy. Opulent even. It’s in an area with some of Bangkok’s most frequented dining hotspots. But it’s no Grand Palace. Still however, the restaurant staff insisted on forcing me into an ugly pair of those ‘temple pants’ on loan from some nearby tourist site. Needless to say we were off to a bad start.
Clearly this San Francisco institution has now returned to the motherland with a bold setup, a distance away from its humble roots as a modest noodle shop. With colossal stone walls, more akin to a swanky nightclub when lit up in magenta at night, it certainly stands out in this leafy and traffic-lined neighborhood. They don’t hold back on the interior design either, with a traditional-meets-modern aesthetic including painted wall murals, silk furnishings, and lots of gold accents.
The seating was comfy and with some cool drinks arriving with their apologetic manager, the WTF feeling began to subside. Osha seems to introduce familiar flavors with modern molecular techniques, with an emphasis on luxurious twists on Thai classics. The tom yum soup is presented in a vacuum coffee maker and blow torched at the table as one example of dining-meets-drama here for an all around sensory experience. Premium ingredients are used from giant river prawns to the wagyu beef used for their signature ‘Volcanic Beef’ dish which is like a pimped-up ‘pad krapao’ matched with a price tag to make your eyes water, if the chili hasn’t already.
One of the highlights of the menu is a deceptively delicate floral scallop salad with the various components artfully layered on a deep plate. The ‘Osha Ocean and Floral Salad’ (490 baht), features marinated Hokkaido scallops in a pool of spicy gac fruit sauce framed by assorted flower petals. Its pretty appearance hides an underlying fiery kick upon tasting where the nearly neon gac fruit has been blended with spicy Thai chilies for an impressive entree with a medley of flavors and textures. The combined flavor is reminiscent of the punchy seafood sauces found on street side tables. The whole concept may be over-the-top for some but its creative fare combined with a chic setting provides another option for those who want to eat their seafood in style or like their pad thai served with a side of style. Just uhhh, beware the first impression.
Osha Thai Restaurant and Bar Location and Hours
Genre: Thai Contemporary/ Fine Dining
Address: 99 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Directions: Osha is on the corner of where Soi Ruamruedi meets Wireless (Witthayu) Road: either take the BTS to Ploenchit or the MRT to Lumpini and then a 10-15 min walk or short motorbike/taxi ride along Wireless Road as it is about halfway between the two stations.
Phone Number: 02 256 6555
Hours: Daily 11.00-14.30 lunch, 18.00-24.00 dinner
Price: B200-1800 per dish, lunch set from B385++, dinner set from B1700++
Facebook page: Osha Bangkok
Note: This visit was sponsored as part of the Bangkok Bites series, a collaboration with Chope, an instant restaurant reservations booking app in Bangkok! Download the app here!