Bangkok is a common venue for a Singaporean weekend getaway trip to get away from the busy working environment. The common MBK and Chatuchak market is now so passé and a new wave of café hopping and new concept restaurants have popped up in Bangkok. A weekend getaway of 2 days 1 night is no longer enough to try all these new gourmet outlets. I am glad I discovered this place by coincidence and have since visited them twice. This restaurant is located in Sukhumvit so you do not need to travel too far out.
For those of you who likes seafood, this will be your playground. You will no longer need to travel to Japan or Korea for their fresh seafood. In fact, we have something similar in Singapore at Marina Square which I have not tried. At Shinsen fish market, you can get the same quality at a much more affordable price tag. The restaurant has a modern industrial chic decor with lots of wood and black metal furnishings. It gives off a hipster but yet classy look and is highly instagramable.
The restaurant has 2 levels and is spilt into 4 main areas for customers. On the first level, there is a general area with a minimalistic design for customers to have their meals. There are also counter seats right in front of the cooking stations for customers to have closer interactions with the chefs and service staff. The counter seats are located near the fresh food area where you can pick your ingredients for cooking. Other than fresh live seafood, they also have fresh imported meats like wagyu beef and iberico pork and ham for selection. On the 2nd level, there is an area which is for teppanyaki cuisine and another area for shabu shabu steamboat. There is also a small sake appreciation corner and dessert counter. You can sit anywhere in the restaurant and order from the menu, however if you wish to eat the shabu shabu, only the designated area has the cooker function.
The moment you enter the restaurant you will be greeted with a live seafood station with huge water tanks. There are various varieties of crabs like King Alaskan crab, snow crab, Hokkaido king crabs etc. You will also see many different kinds of lobsters, oysters and even live sea urchin. There is a board which indicates the available seafood and the price by their weight. You can choose your own seafood and the server will weigh them and inform you the price. If you prefer not to, you can advise the servers your budget and they will pick the seafood of the right size for you. The servers will also ask you your preferred method of cooking your seafood. You can choose to grill/bake/steam them or even eat them as sashimi.
This is served only in very authentic Japanese restaurants and I found that Shinsen has them as well. They are called Caulerpa lentillifera which is also known as sea grapes or green caviar. The texture of the sea grapes is like Ikura (salmon roe) but the taste is quite different. When the sea grapes burst in your mouth, it exudes a smooth salty taste without the fishy taste of the Ikura. This is a great starter to get your mouth ready for the following seafood galore. You can find this as Umi Budo on the menu for THB 80.
The next must have item is the freshly shucked oysters. The price of these babies are dependant on market price the day you visit. We had a japan and Canadian species and they were just so fresh and plump. They have a strong taste of the sea but with absolutely no stale seafood stench. Each oyster was huge and juicy and they are actually very filling if you have more than 2 each.
The salmon sashimi is priced at THB 140 while the otoro sashimi is at THB 660. The salmon has evenly spread out fats and every bite is so enjoyable. The star of sashimi has got to be the otoro which is the best part of the tuna belly nearer to the head. I had these in Singapore at a Japanese restaurant at $40 plus for 4 pieces only. At THB 660, this is totally a steal. At such a low price, you would not expect the otoro to be good but boy the marbling in the fish is so beautiful and the taste is simply so buttery it melts in your mouth. This is worth the flying to Bangkok just to eat it.
We had the fresh sea urchin sashimi next. It is interesting to see flower patterned roe forming around the inside of the urchin. We picked this ourselves so I am not sure if we picked a bad one as I felt that the ones I had in Japan was much fresher and smoother. That being said, Uni is not high on my list of Japanese food so I might not have the most accurate taste buds for it. My friend who loves Uni says that it is not too bad.
We also had the pork teppanyaki which is priced at THB 290. This dish is quite basic but quite well seasoned and the meat was very juicy.
We decided to splurge on the smallest snow crab at approximately THB 2,000 for a crab close to 1 KG. This is considered quite close to Singapore rates but maybe only slightly cheaper. We asked the server for recommendation on how to cook the crab and they recommended to steam it to taste the natural flavours of the crab. The steamed crab came in a huge wooden bowl with every leg displayed nicely. The meat was fresh and sweet and had a great bite to them. I hate crabs that are not so fresh and the meat goes all mushy but the ones here are totally fresh since we caught it from the tanks. I have tasted snow crabs which are cooked in overly salty broth and the meat turns salty but the ones here are so sweet and natural you feel that you are almost having them raw.
To finish off the meal, you can add THB 450 for them to take the crab roe and fry it with rice. Other than using the crab roe, the chef also adds other ingredients like fresh uni, ikura, ebiko, scallops, salmon and spring onions before serving you the fried rice. This is an extravagant dish on its own. The roe adds strong flavour to the rice and every spoonful of it is very addictive. It is indeed the perfect end to a fantastic meal. Do note that you can only order this crab roe fried rice if you have ordered a crab from them. However, you can try the garlic fried rice as well as it is pretty good. Before you leave, remember to visit the area where you can purchase fresh fruits, snacks, beverages imported from Japan.
Address: 163/6 Soi Sukhumvit 39, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Operating hours: 11.00 am to 11.00 pm
Getting there: I would recommend getting a grab as the nearest BTS is Phrom Phong and it is a far walk from the BTS station.