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Flow | A Bangkok Cheese Buffet Story

Imagine, KohSpot’ers, if you will…

You’re invited by your mate to try a cheese-buffet at Flow, a restaurant in the Millennium Hilton Hotel. Its known for its over the top indulgence and since you recently read an adage that said going overboard is requisite for a growing mind, you go. Plus, how could a restaurant with a cheese vault of 50 artisan cheeses go wrong? Its gotta be worth it.

You arrive at Flow and are seated.

You learn about than decide against Flow’s a la carte cheese option, and opt for the cheese buffet (950 baht++).

You get up from your table and step into the dedicated cheese room to be welcomed by a long counter at a constant 14-degrees that is displaying Spanish manchego, stilton and cheddar, brie, camembert and bleu, parmiano reggiano and percorino and too many Swiss cheeses to mention.

Your eye is then caught by the crayola spectrum of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, dried apricots, nuts, black bread and rolls, honey and chutney and an Italian salted butter creatively placed around the room.

Is this place a dream?

A beautiful young staff member comes over to help calm you from sensationally overwhelming yourself. She speaks to you with pitch-perfect, soft-toned English and recommends the hard Italian cheese which, “the cheesemaker decided to make the rind from grapes.” You didn’t know what that meant. She smiles. You smile. She delicately carves you a slice. How does her arm have the strength to slice? She’s porcelain. You’re in heaven. She hands you a clean plate with the kindly cut cheese. The cheese smells like an old man’s sock, but you are in love.  You instinctually give her an awkward ‘wai.’ She blushes.

You feel like an idiot now.

Arriving back at your table, still shocked you actually busted out a ‘wai’, you notice the pretty girl briskly heading to your table. She  recommends you order a flight of five wines to compliment your cheeses. You comply. She’s trying to get you drunk, you conclude. You could care less about the price, you think she said it was 1,800 baht++ for the cheese buffet and wine-flight. There is no way of knowing for sure.

You indulge in some cheese, get tipsy.

After the first wine flight, you head to the restroom only to learn that Flow is much more than a cheese vault, its actually an airy buffet that serves breakfast and lunch and has outdoor seating that overlooks an infinity pond with tiki-torches. You convince yourself that this will be the spot you ask the Flow waitress to marry you. Preferably within the next half-hour.

You find a bar near the cheese room and sushi station on the opposite end. This place is huge. You turn around to find yourself back at the cheese buffet with a clean plate in hand, completely forgetting to go to the restroom. The puppet master is in control.

What are you doing?  Why are you here? Trying to get the attention of the cute girl by eating more cheese? Yea, that’s going to win some points with the girl. “Sit down fatso, you’re pathetic” you tell yourself moments before the cute girl actually sprints over and offers you more Italian hard cheese from the grape-vine-rind-thing.

You’re shocked your non-moves are actually working on this dame! A warming laugh and giggly smile while she cuts another slice of cheese. That’s all you needed. Heart successfully melted, like cheddar. She can have your chedda’. What’s yours is hers.

You walk back to the table, proud. Maybe even glowing. You’re convinced this is what love feels like.

Five or fifty minutes may have passed, you look up and the girl is coming over. Is she really coming to your table again? Yes, indeed she is.

“Are you going to stay and enjoy the international buffet lunch?” she almost whispers.

Is she flirting with you? No. No. She’s just doing her job.

“We have nine different versions of carpaccio and really good oysters and foie gras,” she adds.

Oh my god! She is the first Thai girl you ever heard say ‘carpaccio’ or ‘foie gras’ properly. Its decided.

“Lunch sounds great,” you respond, half-interrupting her. She walks away. You wonder if she can pronounce ‘rural squirrel.’

A flood of rational thought starts to emerge as a moment of sobriety takes charge: you are extraordinarily full, why did you just agree to a buffet lunch?

You jump up and quickly walk to the staff-only kitchen area to tell your future wife that, in fact, you will not be having lunch after all, donning a creepy smile. You were loud and a bit obtrusive. You startle her. Deer in headlights. Petrified. Her voice shakes out an “ooook,” zero eye contact, no smile.  You walk back to the table, tail between your legs. You blew it.

A busboy drops off the check a few minutes later, girl nowhere in sight. You never see her again.

Your dinner at Flow was out of this world, insanely delicious, decadent and indulgent. You walk out disappointed that you blew it with the girl, yet remain resolved in the fact that you’ll probably encounter another similar situation with the opposite sex, probably by the time an equally impressive dinner will be served that day.

You pinch yourself to make sure you’re alive. Yup, still there, just another weekend in Bangkok.

Flow
Location: 123 Charoen Nakorn Road. The Hilton is on the Thonburi side of the river. If you are driving it is just north of the Peninsula.
Mass transit: The hotel offers a ferry from the Saphan Taksin BTS station to the Hilton, but only a few times an hour. Best to call ahead.
Hours: The cheese room and international buffet are open for dinner from 6-10:30 pm daily.
Phone: 02-442-2000
Web: http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/BKKHITW-Millennium-Hilton-Bangkok-hotel/index.do

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