Bangkok has three renowned restaurants — Sirocco, Breeze, and Vertigo — that provide al fresco dining high above the city. Last September we visited Sirocco when a former high school classmate and his wife visited Bangkok. Sirocco is located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at lebua at State Tower and some scenes in the movie The Hangover Part II were filmed there.

Despite the overcast sky and chance of a downpour, on Saturday night we ventured out to Vertigo. Vertigo is on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, which is a very short walk (less than 0.5 km) from our apartment. Vertigo was built on a former helicopter landing pad and it has an impressive view of the skyline in the Silom/Sathorn section of Bangkok. Unlike at Sirocco, the Chao Phraya river is a bit too far away from Vertigo to see with any clarity. However, we could clearly see the distinctive bridges that span the waterway.

Banyan Tree Hotel from Sathorn Road

This way to Vertigo

During the past week, we had torrential rain almost every day between 5 and 6 p.m. (and the evening commute home was awful.) While the rain is heavy, the showers tend not to last very long. We made a 7:30 p.m. reservation with the hope that if it were to rain we would be able to avoid the worst of it; although there were some clouds in the night sky, they did not open up on us.

The views at Vertigo were spectacular, the service impeccable, and the food quite memorable. The name is highly suitable since only a short railing or glass wall enclosed the perimeter of the restaurant. I found it fascinating how different the city looks from so high up compared with the view from ground level. For perspective, our apartment building has 32 floors and looks quite tall from street-level. But from the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree, it doesn’t appear anywhere near as large. From this high vantage point, the buildings that stand out are only the tallest towers in Bangkok — Baiyoke Tower with the ever-changing colors on its electronic billboard, State Tower (home of Sirocco), Abdulrahim Place, the nearby Met condominiums, etc.; everything else seems to fade into the background.

Our apartment building from Vertigo

The distinctive top of Abdulrahim Place

Al fresco dining 61 stories above Sathorn

Bangkok from Vertigo

More Bangkok from Vertigo

Vertigo is smaller than Sirocco, so it has a more intimate feel to it. It is also not lit as well, so the waiters bring small flashlights to the patrons so that they can read the menus. The restaurant and bar were full, primarily with tourists and expats.

For starters, we enjoyed Caesar salad (Theresa) and warm salmon salad with fava beans, lentils, and vegetables (me). The appetizers were followed by an incredibly creamy strawberry sorbet to cleanse the palate. Our main courses were roasted snowfish with capers, olive vinaigrette, and roasted butternut squash (Theresa) and  short ribs braised in red wine and served with root vegetables and polenta (me). We finished the meal with a crispy vacherin of mixed berries and mango with a passion fruit cream sauce served in a meringue shell for dessert. Arroi mak mak!

Caesar salad (and look at that bacon!)

Warm salmon salad with fava beans and lentils

Creamy strawberry sorbet

Roasted snowfish with butternut squash

Braised short ribs with root vegies and polenta

Mixed berry and mango vacherin

Kop Khun Krab.

© 2012 Kurt Brown. All rights reserved.

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One Response to Vertigo

  1. John B says:

    Kurt – Enjoyed your adventure at the barber shop. I had similar realizations and experience in 1970 outside of the airbase in NKP. Amazing how some things truly never do change. – John

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