About 4 years ago I discover this unique home-style restaurant down a little hidden alley, Soi 14, off Sukhumvit Road, in the heart of Bangkok. Since then it has been through a few changes from Suk 1 House Restaurant, a Mexican restaurant to what is now Hemingway’s, named after Earnest Hemingway, the American author and journalist.
Now that I'm finally settled back in Bangkok, I decided to drop in once again and met Damian, the GM, and thought this would be a great spot for visitors to Bangkok to know about, enjoy the property and excellent cuisine, so we had a nice chat.
Splash – Hemingway’s Restaurant has an interesting history. Can you tell us a little about the property, its great location, and where the concept of calling it Hemingway’s came from?
The original house here at Hemingway's was built in 1926. So we took the history of the venue and thought about who summed up the 20's - and Hemingway was pretty high on the list. We used the myth of the man, being an explorer, writer, adventurist and themed the venue around his life, where he lived and the food and drinks he loved so much.
That's how each of the 6 zones of the house have been styled. Downstairs we have the Spanish Garden, because he lived in Spain and fought for democracy in the Spanish civil war, from Cuba where he lived for many years we themed the main bar and outdoor portico called the Habana Bar. And the main dining we called Key West Cafe, is named after his famous Key West home in Florida Keys, only 90 miles from Cuba.
Up stairs on the second floor we styled one of the indoor rooms after a French style apartment called The Hideaway, which sits between a beautiful balcony wrapping around the house offering a second dining space both under the stars or under cover named the Marlin Boulevard after a very famous fishing shelf off the coast of Peru where Hemingway loved to fish. And finally the upstairs bar call the Safari Sports Bar is themed after an African Hunting Lodge because of Hemingway's love of adventure throughout the African continent.
The music at Hemingway’s is programmed to reflect the times and styles of the house.
The Key West Café being styled around the 1950’s plays a range of music from the 20’s and 40’s including Swing, Big Bang and Dixie Land Jazz. The Habana Bar, Spanish Garden and Marlin Boulevard echo the sounds of sexy Latino Cuban Music among the wooden bar and lush tropical gardens, while the Safari Sport Bar is place fitting more up-tempo pop classic from the 70’s to the naughties (00’s).
Splash – Have you done anything to flavor the interior with that period and is there anything that gives visitors the feeling that “Papa” hangs out here? (e.g. his chair in the bar)?
In the Habana Bar downstairs, we have a chair, called Papa's Chair just like the famed El Floridita of Old Havana where Hemingway spent many an evening.
Splash - Can you tell us about your chef, the style of fare and your special entrees.
Our chef is Irish born Wayne Morris. He came to us towards the end of last year (2012) after moving to Thailand with his wife and baby daughter. He spent the last 10 years working in Sydney Australia. A true professional and culinary genius he sourced and selected the best quality and freshest ingredients to ensure everything that Hemingway's kitchen produces is of the best quality and taste.
Splash - Do you have a “papas” special?
The menu has been styled around the foods Hemingway loved to eat and write about as well as from the many countries he spent many years travelling through. To name a few signature dishes we have the Sea Bass with Hemingway's Oyster and Pernod Broth, Steamed Mussels rested on braised lettuce, Pan seared Duck Breast with Duck Rillette and Micro Herb Orange and Mango Salad, and Hanger Steak, ofter called the butcher cut because of it being one the most tasty cuts of beef with only 2 pieces per cow - the butcher would never sell it and keep it for himself.
Splash - You have a great bar, I’m sure you have a nice selection of beers, wine and spirits.
A great selection of beers from around the world, both in bottle and on tap, plus a cider and beer of the week on tap. An amazing Happy Hours deal from 3pm - 7pm with beers and spirits from as little at THB 80.00.
Splash – how about Hemingway’s hosting special events? How many you can accommodate?
The top floor of Hemingway's with the Safari Bar, The Hideaway, and the fabulous Marlin Boulevard offer a perfect location for private and corporate events, parties, weddings anything. We've hosted a number of social gatherings from product launched and networking from 20 to over 600 people. We're not restricted to hotel policy or like other venue that have regulated function guidelines. If you have an idea just ask us to tailor something to suit what you're looking for.
Splash – I've enjoyed the Sea Bass with Hemingway’s Oyster & Absinthe Broth, Steamed Mussels and Braised Lettuce. The entrée was very well prepared and a nice presentation. The Thai staff is extremely pleasant and makes you feel right at home in Papa's place!
Agneta Bekassy – A Swedish Expat living in Bangkok enjoy lunch at Hemingway’s and had this to say…..
“I had a very pleasant experience, discovered the Cuban Restaurant Hemmingway's at Sukhumvit, Soi 14. A beautiful old building with a very cozy restaurant and charming bar. You just expected to see Mr. Hemingway himself in the corner....I enjoyed the La Scala salad, similar to Caesar’s Salad, but with some other ingredients, very tasteful. Also tried the house wine Chardonnay, which was served very chilled in nice glasses and tasted "summer". An overall nice lunch. Will, for sure, be back.”
For more information on Hemingway's visit there website. Hemingwaysbangkok
Photography by Daniel Herron
Entree images courtesy of Hemingway's Restaurant