Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology is an Indian kebab restaurant under Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, a property of Soho Hospitality. Opened late 2014, the 74 seater restaurant won the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2015 for the Interior Thailand category.
Located on the 5th floor, the restaurant provides the guest with an all-round sensory approach. At the entrance, you will not only be welcomed by skewers of kebabs “grilling” on a hot furnace, you will also see items you might see along the streets of India. To complete the feeling, you will even hear audio from the streets of Mumbai!
Besides the sensory experiences, you will get to see a library of spices at the end of the restaurant. With tables and seats designed for intimate sharing, this fine dining restaurant is family friendly and suitable for large gatherings. While it seems like fine dining, the fun elements thrown in by the Managing Director, Rohit Sachdev, is definitely not something you can get elsewhere in Bangkok.
Charcoal Mixology offers extensive selection of wine and whiskies. There are 20 over unique cocktail creations and signature drinks to complement the food you are having. We were welcomed with the Mystic Tea Pot [300฿] – House infused gin with Assam black tea, fresh lemon juice, passionfruit and honey and presented in a Mumbai tea pot with tea biscuits. The sweet concoction is pretty acceptable for people don’t usually take alcohol!
We were first introduced to Papad Roasted, a crispy thin snack made from Roast Chana Lentil’s, Papper Corn, Turmeric, Salt and Yellow Chilly Root; served with 3 fun sauce – Mint Sauce, Mango Chili and Kolkata Mustard Sauce!
Next, we have the Paneer Tikka [350฿/4 pieces] which is tandoor grilled cottage cheese cubes, marinated with fresh cream, gram flour and sprinkled with mild spices and green chillies. Fans of cheese will like the chewy and firm cubes, as they are surprisingly light and not too cheesy. :P
Tandoori Malai Broccoli [350฿ / 5 pieces] is my personal favourite. Although I’m not a fan of broccoli, the grilled broccoli was marinated with hung yogurt, cream cheese, malt vinegar and green chillies, which made the boring vegetable into something soft inside and slightly crisp on the outside.
Pudina Parantha [100฿] is an addictive dish. Singaporeans will be familiar with “roti prata”, but here, the parantha is grilled, and drizzled with mint! I was tearing them into pieces with my bare hands before eating the whole night, everyone got so affected by my non-stop chewing that they wanted to have some too!
Turrah Naan [100฿] is a simple white flour naan shaped like an elephant’s trunk. While elephant is associated with Queen MÄyÄ of Sakya, the mother of Gautama Buddha in Buddhism, the white elephant is considered sacred and good luck in Thailand. The taste might seem plain if you eat it on its own, but wait till you try it with the Dahl!
The Dal Charcoal [200฿] is the closest thing to curry in this restaurant. If you don’t know, Charcoal is famous for its “no curry” menu, a bold move by both the head chef and the managing director when curry is widely associated with Indian food. The thick and creamy dal which consist of whole urad lentils, tomatoes, ginger and garlic is cooked slowly overnight over the dying embers in the tandoor. A perfect match with the naan!
Without the superstar “Curry” in the limelight, the used-to-be supporting dish “Tandoori Kebabs” now has a chance to shine. Here in Charcoal, the kebabs are influenced by kebabs from the North-West Frontier of India and Persia during the rule by Moghul emperors. The Murgh Malai Kebab [420฿ / 5 pieces] is an example where the tender white chicken is marinated with cream cheese, yogurt, malt vinegar, green chili, coriander, then tandoor grilled in the old Mughal way. The skinless and boneless chicken makes the dish an easy eat!
Angaar Ki Pasliyaan [700฿ / 3 pieces] is the dish with the most significant “Indian” influence. It is pretty heavy on spices. Softened overnight in Indian kebab marinade of red chili, cumin, malt vinegar and ginger garlic, the gamey smell of the New Zealand lamb chops are treated well, leaving slightly burnt outer edges, and the flesh remains moist and tender.
You might think that the dishes are just food with different spices, but these library of spices are actually sourced from both India and Thailand to ensure the authentic taste and quality. Moreover, the kebabs are grilled using traditional charcoal in copper-clad ovens (not electrical ones!), thus heavily dependent on the Chef’s skills to judge and adjust the heat level accordingly. The person who made that possible is Allahabad-born Executive Chef Deepanker Khosla, who was also chosen as the chef to cook for His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the present King and Ruler of Qatar in his personal airline, Amiri. Deepanker has also cooked for the High Commissioners and Ambassadors of India of Sweden and Norway.
Besides the Tandoori Kebabs, the other signature dish is their Biryani. Cooked using slow-oven cooking techniques passed down from the Awadh region of India where the ingredients are cooked in clay pots with the lid sealed with dough, Murgh Yakhni Biryani [500฿ for five chicken pieces | 900฿ for ten chicken pieces] produces numerous layers of taste. The chicken chunks, spices and vegetables covered by the premium basmati rice resembles Singapore’s local claypot rice, but with the addition of the garlic flavoured spicy yogurt, the pot of rice becomes even more delectable and fragrant.
Tandoori Jhinga Prawns [850฿ /3 pieces] were fresh and mildly spiced – suitable even for those who can’t take spicy food. The jumbo fresh river prawns were marinated with yogurt, Indian spices, chili, turmeric and garam masala, then tandoor grilled with shell on.
Shedh E Jaam [150฿] is a common dessert amongst the Indian families, but definitely not something I will recommend as it’s simply too sweet! It’s a reduced milk dumpling (ball) stuffed with pistachio and cardamom, then fried and drizzled with honey syrup. People with a sweet tooth might like it though!
In comparison, the Phirni [200฿] is a much lighter dessert. Made from ground basmatic rice and milk, the curd-like dessert is sprinkled with some pistachios and almonds, as well as cardamon spice. Try it if you like bean curd!