Barrio Bonito at The Commons
Barrio Bonito at The Commons - Thonglor 17
Bangkok Foodies Review – Barrio Bonito
Barrio Bonito, meaning “Nice Little Neighborhood”, I kinda get it. The edgiest corner of The Commons Mall, first captivates you with a striking wall mural of Catrina, a morbid beauty who signifies the Day Of The Dead in Mexico. Settling in is a little challenging as you attempt to wedge butt cheeks between the narrow space of the high booth seating. Looking around I do respect that (although it had its day, yet still not dead), they’ve fully committed to a proper “Industrial” look, unlike some establishments who create a painfully obvious pretension to one.
Concreted table sink, rustic wood tops, corrugated iron walls and unfinished surfaces, even the stone “plates” are rescued from construction sites which means each pieces is unique but it also means meaty juice run onto the table in all directions. But no one seems to care here. It’s got that great casual vibe one could be sitting with a best friend or two, smashing a few spicy Cocktails. And that Cocktail would have to be one of the Micheladas; a bizarre amalgamation of Bloody Mary, Beer and Margarita. I think I just fell in love, not just with this incredible drink but with the woman who co-created this cool, little institution.
Mariana Villalobos Torres, a true Latin beauty, is naturally breathtaking to look at but with all the sass and brains to boot. You’d be hard pressed not to gawp at her big brown eyes and luscious lips spouting passion for food in that charming sing-song Mexican accent.
Pascal (the right hand at Barrio Bonito), recommends us the Ceviche de cenizas (330THB), Nacho chips and 3 homemade salsas to start. The ceviche was outstanding, with chunky bites of marinated fish which melts in your mouth, a touch of burnt chili and a creamy guacamole which melds it all together. For the trio of salsas; firstly was the ubiquitous Pico de Gallo (the diced vegetable salsa we all know and love), the second, Salsa Borracha (spicy roasted tomato sauce) which was rich, smoky and deeply addictive and then the green Guacachile (long chile roasted and mashed) which was just simply – too f*&#g hot!
The Cocktail de camarones (320THB) was highly refreshing, and the prawns were exceptionally succulent, but I couldn’t help suspecting I was eating a bowl of Pico de gallo dip with some prawns thrown in. Hence, the dripper of habenero sauce is an absolute must for bite and acidity. Additionally, more tamarind or adding another seafood could have made it really pop.
The Quesadilla sin tortillas (mushroom wrapped in cheese) by theory is a brilliant idea, an inside-out quesadilla, whereby the cheese takes place of the tortilla. By execution it works but by flavour, the end result is mediocre. Fun to eat, like scraping solidified cheese crusts from the lasagna tray, is rubbery and bland. A lot more mushroom might have cut the fattiness, and the ever-present Pico de gallo was beginning to breed resentment. I wondered why they didn’t variate the salsas and exploit the amazing Salsa Borracha?’
The Tacos de Barbacoa wrap (3pc 400THB) spiel by Pascal sounded sexy as hell, given it’s lamb wrapped in banana leaf, cooked for 7 hours and lovingly adorned with a paste of chickpea reduction, was tasty but quite frankly, a little dry and salty. But nothing to fear, the salsa is here!
Lastly, Mariana’s pride and joy, the Chalupita de Chorizo (240THB): with homemade chorizo, corn tortilla with beans, avocado mousse and NO Pico de gallo, was simply divine. It’s all that you would come to expect from excellent traditional Mexican cum casual-contemporary.
OK so I might be nitpicking. That’s only because I like it there so much (strange as that sounds). The food and drink here is more than satisfactory and the people behind it are the chilled out and worldly, foodies we all want as our friends. I look forward to discovering the rest of the menu and motivated to visit the original flagship restaurant in Koh Chang.’
Barrio Bonito at The Commons is clearly not the full-on, sit-in restaurant experience. It’s a, come with your mates, and eat hearty dishes that pair perfectly with cold booze. The service is prompt, the menu is uncomplicated, the portions are quaint but for the quality and price, it’s justifiable. It’s a place you’ll be dead lucky to have in your Barrio Bonito.(Oh, yes I did)
Barrio Bonito at The Commons – Thonglor 17
355 Thonglor Soi 17 at The Commons
02 712 7832
Opening Hours 11:00 AM – 10:30 PM