If you want to experience an otherworldly taste of Thailand culture within beautifully restored traditionial Thai teak houses, the two restaurants, bar and spa of Face are definitely worth investigating
My friends from Manila Heath and Julie stopped over in Bangkok the other night, and I took them to the Face Bar and Restaurant before they got the red eye on Cebu Pacific back to the Philippines. They’d spent the weekend at the Anantara Golden Triangle hotel, up in the mountains on Thailand’s border with Burma and Laos, which I’d recommended to them as a great place to truly get away from everything and relax. (See my full review of the Anantara Golden Triangle for more info). It’s always a little nervewracking when you recommend a pricey hotel as it makes expectations higher, and it was over a year since I’d been at the Anantara myself. However, it turned out I had nothing to worry about – Heath and Julie raved about the place, saying they’d been looked after throughout their four day stay and enjoyed the excellent food, the pool, the mountain views and especially the custom made mohitos.
As they’d been having a posh weekend, Face seemed the perfect upmarket place to take them to finish off their trip to Thailand. Located on Sukhumvit Soi 38, Face is actually 2 restaurants, Hazara and Lan Na Thai, a bar and a spa, all housed within three beautiful Thai teak wood houses that are joined together. It’s a little like Jim Thompson’s house, but even more grand. The two restaurants serve Indian and Thai food respectively, while the bar provides some very pricey cocktails that are worth it if you want to come and have a nose around without buying a full dinner.
Face prides itself on creating an otherworldly ambience, and it really is like stepping through a time portal when you walk off the road and up the wooden stairs of Face’s reception area. The entire interior is decorated with a spectacular mix of Buddha statues and other traditional Thai antiquities, enhanced by low level lighting and several different levels to each restaurant, which allows couples to have space to themselves while larger groups can take up the centre of the restaurant while still feeling cosy.
The food in both restaurants is pretty typical Thai and Indian fare, but while there are no real surprises on the menu, the care with which dishes are prepared gives even familiar staples a new twist. I’m particularly fond of the massaman curry in Face’s Thai restaurant. Most dishes are fairly bland in Thai terms but still different enough for Western palettes to enjoy. I wouldn’t say that Face’s food is truly spectacular, but it’s certainly very good, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is usually the focus of attention. Service is also usually good on the four or five occasions I’ve been to Face, although this time the kitchen’s sense of timing was very poor, as some main dishes were arriving 10 minutes before the others making eating together difficult.
Mains are around 300 to 500 Baht while starters are 200 to 300, and desserts in a similar bracket, plus service and VAT which is another 17 per cent in all. That’s about 1000 Baht per diner not including booze, which is pretty expensive. The cheapest bottle of wine is around 1500 Baht. We’d cleverly stocked up on a few beers at The Dubliner beforehand and then walked up to Face – about a 15 minute stroll.
Face has its own website with some decent photos and you can also make online reservations. And, in the unlikely event you still feel hungry when you leave, you can fill your belly at the street vendor food stalls at the mouth of Soi 38, renown as one of the best places in Bangkok to try street food with all sorts of Thai delicacies available. It is, as you’d imagine, much, much cheaper, with foldaway tables and plastic stools on the roadside, providing a taste of the real Bangkok ambience if you want it.
You can also browse my other reviews of Bangkok Restaurants, Cafes and Bars