Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dining in at Suvarnabhumi

Nowadays air travel is a common thing. Low cost carriers offering an unbelievable €1.00 fare is available on line. Newspapers are filled with ads of vacation packages with matching airline tickets. Constantly filled with captured costumers, airports are cashing in; as eager vacationers are ready to start off their holidays as soon as the bags are all checked in.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, closely compared to the size of the Pentagon, has gone wild on food choices for the new age of travelers. Fifty-four restaurants are servicing the hungry patrons 24/7. Thierry Danzas, a well-traveled chef of 25 years, now heads the Food & Beverage of the King Power Co. says, “…travelers are becoming more sophisticated and expect a decent meal from their starting point.” Long gone are the stale pastries and tuna sandwich bars of old airports.

Just opposite the check in counters are two outlets that cater to the diverse travelers. The Sky Lounge targets business people who want to conduct last minute meetings before departure; or families and friends sending off their loved ones. Located at Level 6 of the main terminal, it offers a view of the tarmac and has a classy and trendy style; accessible through an escalator or lift. They serve a la carte Thai and International food like: salad Nicoise (340B); selction of pastas (260B) and tom yung gung (210 B). A five-star breakfast buffet (420 B) is served from 4 am- 10 am.

The Sky Loft, also located level 6, is on the far right. It is a more casual setting and targets travelers who come in early and just want a small meal. It has the same concept as the downtown food courts that require guests to buy a prepaid card and refund unconsumed amounts. A lunch menu at a Thai corner consists of three dishes (120B); slices of pizzas and sandwiches are prepared fresh (99B up); and pastry, tarts and breads are freshly baked every 2 hours everyday (60B up). A noodle bar is set-up between 12mn to 4 am.

After immigration, the concourse turns into a mall-like alley of shops from designers’ wares to little shops of trinkets, to spend those leftover Baht or some last minute shopping. Travelers are now coming in earlier and would rather kill time at the airport than rush at security checks and long queues. Strategically placed “island bars” are serving a variety of delectable meals; especially for those who want to pass on the TV dinners inflight, or for those traveling on no-frills LCC (Low Cost Carriers) and have no meals on board.

Café Palomar (Concord D) has sandwiches, donuts, croissants, tarts and pastries (80B up), appetizingly displayed in a glass cupboard. The boat-shaped island bar is great place to have a quick meal, especially on those early morning flights where there is no time to have breakfast before leaving home or the hotel. Serving hungry on-the-go passengers day and night, the patisserie has a 52-seat capacity.

The Reef Antipasti Bar (Concord D) is for those who want real decent meal. A fine selection of Italian/Mediterranean delicacies is show-cased on a bay of crushed ice. Sixty varieties are available daily (120B/ serving); while five desserts choices (120B/serving) include: tiramisu, floating island, mousse, blanc-manger with roasted peach and fresh fruit mix.

The trendy traveler would definitely go for a “tapas plate” right after a shopping spree at Tods or Bally. The Glass Bar is right smack at middle of the action. Hot and cold tapas of: Serrano ham; marinated tuna; sardines rillettes; omelet; grilled prawns and saffron mussel ragout are among the 25 choices (choice of 1-135B, 2- 350B, 3-600B). A hefty portion of “Charcuterie Platter” of coppa ham, rosette slice, pork rilletes, salami slice, terrine and ham (420B), is great to share for two persons over a glass of chardonnay (290B); before heading on a midnight flight- just get on board and snooze off.

What is more hip and cool than to have a sushi bar? The sleek and stylish Sushi Koku (adjacent to Chanel shop) has sushi masters slicing and rolling sushis and sashimis all day long. The specialty is the “rainbow roll”, a collage of prawns, crab stick, flying fish roe, avocado, cucumber, salmon, prawn tempura, tuna rolled on a nori sheet laced with mayonnaise (300B). Hot and cold sake (290 up) are available along side a long list of cocktails, wines, liquors, juices, tea and coffee.

For the tired and weary passengers who just want to chill out and slouch on lounge seats, the Light Bar (Concord A & E) would be the best watering hole. Serving an array of cocktails and imported beers (190B up), it is one of the very few places with a comfortable smoking room. Light suppers, as well as small snacks of sandwiches and soups, are available throughout the day.

As air travel changes its face, airports are fashioning itself to the needs of the new generation of travelers. People often choose an airport as a hub to transit; even influence their travel needs. In the meantime, Blythe Kongrut (PR Director of Novotel) says that they are even targeting local residents to come to the Sky Lounge (Main Terminal, level 6) “…just to have a meal and a of view of the stunning runway lights at night and get the feel of the energy that surrounds the massive structure of Suvarnabhumi”. Amidst the surrounding controversy of the huge airport, it does have its appeal. Like the field of dreams, “… if you build it, they will come”!

June Sauer

1 comment:

mandy said...

i like this article.. next to my private oasis. Very informative.:)