The sapient KohSpot reader will know that just as the Sukhumvit Soi 11 renaissance has taken over, for every failed venue there will be two new ones that mushroom in its place. But Above Eleven is attempting to be more than just another rooftop lounge with inventive cocktails. That is not enough to inspire loyalty in the Bangkok party set. Above Eleven is trying to wow you with Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian foods.
Dating back 120 years, some consider Nikkei the world’s first fusion cuisine. KohSpot thinks it’s a meaningless distinction, as cultures have been mixing different influences in their cuisines for thousands of years—even what we consider Thai food is an amalgam from several locales. Either way, the cuisine is delicious, so at least something other than Fujimori has come from the pairing of the two countries.
The Above Eleven ceviche (450 baht), dubbed the national dish of Peru, is a mix of seabass and prawns in a red chilli sauce topped by calamari. It was light and zesty, priming the appetite for more. How useful then that most of the food here could be classified as tapas. The tiradito seabass aji amarillo (310 baht) comes with a sauce made from imported yellow peppers from Peru, as well as orange-glazed sweet potatoes. The sauce really is outstanding, though it may disappoint Thai diners as it has no spicy kick, but it envelops the mouth like a good single-malt scotch.
The anticucho beef heart (210 baht) was KohSpot’s first time with the dish, and similar to many meats, it took on the flavor of its marinade of dried red chillies, oregano, cumin, garlic, red vinegar and soy sauce. The charcoal grilling added a nice earthy taste.
The lamb shank with white bean sauce over rice (810 baht) was fall-off-the-bone tender, while the torta tres leches (vanilla cake soaked in three different kinds of milk) was the first time we’ve admitted in public we’ve liked a dish that had sweetened condensed milk in it. KohSpot figures all the cinnamon had something to do with that.
If there’s a quibble, it’s that a restaurant that makes such a fuss about having this type of cuisine, with Peru lauded for having 1,000 different types of corn and 80 types of potatoes, and Peruvian restaurants listed by the Wall Street Journal as “food’s next big thing,” the only imported Peruvian ingredient is the aji amarillo peppers. Corn is nowhere to be found on the menu and potatoes are used sparingly. The food is still mouthwatering, and the chef is reputedly of Peruvian and Japanese descent, but perhaps Above Eleven should temper the taste of Peru marketing. We heard BedBuzz is doing the promotions and PR for Above Eleven.
Cocktails top the agenda for most visiting Above Eleven, and we’re happy to report the bartenders have been trained well. Most of its 13 signature cocktails (all 300 baht) offer fruity refreshment without being sickly sweet, with the Pisco Sour recommended for those who’ve never tried it. Called the national drink of Peru, it combines key lime juice, egg white, gum syrup and pisco brandy. Also of note is the Park View, something of a forest inside your glass with 42 Feijoa, rose apple, elderflower syrup, fresh mint, lime, apple juice and ginger ale.
The entry, from the private elevator behind the garage for Above Eleven, at the top of the Fraser Suites serviced apartments on Sukhumvit Soi 11, to the entryway featuring a small leafy maze, attempts to recall Central Park (?). And the venue earns pride of place for best male bathroom in Bangkok, as the urinals are affixed to large plexiglass windows on a corner looking out over the city, making it feel as though you are pissing on the City of Angels, something KohSpot has literally and figuratively accomplished several times over.
While some of KohSpot’s posse feel like Above Eleven is more of a place to hang out and drink a few before moving on to the next one, in the right company you might be surprised how long you spend here. Definitely a fun view.
Location: 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11, right behind Q-Bar
Mass transit: BTS Nana, then about 15 minute walk
Hours: 6 pm to 2 am daily
*images courtesy of Above Eleven*