If you don’t feel like venturing into the wilds of the Bangkok night and you’re looking for somewhere special, Uno Mas is where people from all over the city come for romance, for excellent food and for views to die for.
Thailand is made for food lovers. There’s just so much to choose from here. When we arrived in Bangkok, we couldn’t wait to get amongst all those delicious Thai dishes we love.
So we were surprised when the best dinner we had while we were here was in fact Spanish! The endearingly (and encouragingly) named Uno Mas – or ‘one more’ – restaurant in the heart of Bangkok forced a pause in our hunt for Thai delicacies.
Ordinarily, we wouldn’t see the point in eating western food while we were in a country with an iconic cuisine that’s so much a part of its culture. But Catalan-born Head Chef Joan Tanya Dot’s skills and the atmosphere at Uno Mas are not to be missed.
Chef Joan and his team create truly impressive tapas dishes beautifully crafted with painstakingly sourced ingredients and all served with some of the best views of Bangkok’s skyline.
From the heady heights of the 54th floor of one of Bangkok’s key hotels the Centara Grand, it’s quite surreal to be transported all the way to Spain by the food and wine, then to look out at Bangkok’s cityscape below you.
We’ve been big fans of the Centara Grand for years thanks to its awesome rooftop bar Red Sky. Now we’re even bigger fans, as you’ll probably see from our full review of the hotel here. So Uno Mas fits in beautifully with our romance of this part of town.
And once you’re seated, it’s worth just taking a walk around the restaurant to look at the amazing displays of food.
Uno Mas is like your dream grocery store; from the seafood on ice (different to Disney on Ice), the intricate edible art installation of a breadbasket, the premium tinned produce like the bonito and cod liver fois gras, the amazing charcoal brazier for barbecuing and of course the ham clamp holding the 3-year aged leg of Spanish jamon.
The concept of this restaurant is based on sharing tapas dishes. I’m not usually all that keen on sharing food but the food here is so good, it’s only fair that everyone gets a taste.
There’s also so much on the menu, to limit yourself to just one dish each would be stupid. The only problem with tapas and small shared dishes is it makes it quite hard to write about!
So here’s what we ate with appropriately bite-sized explanations about each dish:
To start things off is the generous amuse bouche platter on arrival. We help ourselves to little arancini balls, squares of tortilla Española omelette, gazpacho, ceviche… and that’s just the beginning!
Next, from the special ham clamp at the service bar, hand-cut slivers of incredible jamon – the pride of Spain – arrive. It’s the house’s Joselito jamon Iberico ‘bellota’ gran reserva 36-month cured ham… which means it’s the best of the best. It’s so tender the fat is rendering on our plate in the Bangkok heat. It’s perfect.
The selection of breads made in-house is a thing of beauty. And the bruschetta that comes next is tender, juicy and delicious in its simplicity.
Chef Joan prides himself on the products he’s managed to source all the way from Spain and the Mediterranean. Almost blushing, he tells us about the cod fois gras in front of us. It comes from a tin, but as he explains, this doesn’t mean it’s inferior. In fact, this way is better.
We can’t help but agree; the cod livers are incredible. Rich, delicate, moreish and packed with flavour. It spreads easily onto the rustic grilled bread. It’s not something I’d have necessarily ordered – but it is now!
The next dish, the potatoes bravas, is right up my street. Crispy potatoes, zingy tomato relish and a creamy bravas aoli mayonnaise. I could’ve just eaten a load of this and been happy… but then there’s more food arriving.
The basket of classic deep fried padrones peppers with a sprinkle of sea salt lands in front of us. They’re not spicy, but full of the chilli flavour, which is confusing and delicious.
Then the 1st team comes off the bench
They bring the whole seafood paella overflowing with mussles, scallops, prawns, carabineros and lobster! This is extreme and by that I mean delicious. The opulence of this dish is plain to see, but it’s not until we start digging down, we find the tender, baked saffron rice that completes this quintessentially Spanish dish.
Finally, a trolley is drawn up and a cloche removed. It’s the restaurant’s signature dish: the suckling pig – or half of one anyway. They sous vide the piglet for a whole day before putting it under Uno Mas’ specially built broiler that gets up to 300°C. This crisps the skin until it’s shiny and fragile. It’s almost like the crackling has been painted on.
The result is the most tender meat you’ll ever eat with a crisp shell that defies understanding. To show how soft the meat is, the waiter quarters the pig with the edge of a plate then gives it to you to smash. It’s quite grizzly actually but seemingly very traditionally Spanish.
This dish is popular, but somewhat polarising. Before dinner, Chef Joan tested the water with us to see if we’d object to it. I was intrigued by it, but after so much food before it, the richness and – to be honest – the graphic nature of this dish meant we couldn’t finish it. We were careful not to touch the belly or shoulder, so I hope it went to a good home amongst the staff.
Not to be put off by our obviously distended bellies and unfinished plates, the kitchen served us churros. If you haven’t had these before, you’ve got to go find some right now. They’re amazing.
Billed as Spanish doughnuts, these crispy strokes of culinary genius come hot, gooey in the middle and accompanied by rich, liquid chocolate to dip.
Our dessert stomachs found their stride here and polished the churros off no problems, but the offer of cheese had us reeling. Still, the promise of the best manchego, tetilla and Treviso (and others I’d never heard of) almost had me, but the wise words of Mrs Romance halted my greed.
But before we could wobble and roll our way out of the restaurant and back to our room, Chef Joan insisted on a digestivo: grappa. How could I say no. I’m a complete mug for grappa and this stuff was sweet, smooth and electrifying.
The perfect end to a sumptuous, elegant, indulgent meal.
A wine caveat
While you’re here, make sure you check out the vertical wine cellar. It’s incredible. This glass capsule holding over 2000 bottles, is 2 storeys high and travels through the floor. To get at the wine, the restaurant employs ‘wine angels’ to abseil down through the cellar to find the bottle required. It’s quite a spectacle.
It’s stocked with some beautiful Spanish and European wines – many of which we didn’t know much about. The restaurant’s sommelier Allina was very helpful and served us some perfect matches.
However, Thailand taxes wine extremely heavily, so be warned. It’s one of the reasons beer is popular here.
Open: Mon-Sun 4pm-1am.
Good for: romance, incredible food, superb views, faultless service
Level 54 Centara Grand at CentralWorld
999/99 Rama I Road
Where’s your favourite place to eat in Bangkok? What’s your favourite Spanish dish? When was the last time you found an unexpected foodie delight while you were travelling? Tell us in the comments!