|The gorgeous set of baked salmon rice comes with assorted sushi, tempura, steamed egg, soup and salad|
There are some places I always reserve for special days, and AOI at the Emporium is one of them. We have been eating here since..may be… forever, and always love the food, the freshness, the service and especially the ambiance that always transports us to a place so very much like an old-time traditional, albeit a bit posh, Japanese ryokan. AOI has quite a few branches in Bangkok, but the one at the Emporium has always been our favorite. If I was there by myself, I liked to sit at the sushi bar, munching away lunch at the sight of sushi chefs getting the sushi bites ready with their nimble hands.
|The baked salmon rice|
Most Japanese people take their food seriously. My Tokyo-born ex-roommate once indirectly taught me how she put her food first. Even with the meager student stipends and lots of fashion plus cosmetics to catch up on, she invested in good sets of china and owned a cabinet-full of top brands to ensure herself to good and beautiful meal, even when it consisted of just steamed rice, sprinkles of pickles and a small bowl of miso soup. I think that delicate taste must have rubbed off of me because now I very much pay attention to the looks of the containers as much as the tastes of the contained.
AOI is one of Bangkok’s best Japanese restaurants in my idea. Definitely not a cheap place to eat, but you can choose to go there during lunch hours where they serve not-so-expensive-but-still-so-gorgeous lunch sets. Well, some indulgence never kills anyone, does it? Since we last went there when I first got my Hipstamatic-ready iPhone, I took snapshots of our favorite order of baked salmon rice set which is the beautiful set you see in the first two pictures here.
|The smoothly steamed egg as part of the baked salmon rice set|
The baked salmon rice is enough for two to share. Since it takes about 20 minutes to prepare, it is not a good plate to order at the steaming point of starving. I would recommend it when you and your eating mates have good conversations to share on the table, or if sadly and purely alone, you can always play with your iPhone because checking in at AOI will definitely make you appear, well, well-seasoned among your virtual friends. Talking about the baked salmon rice set, good thing is that it comes with so many delicious side dishes such as the yummy sashimi, tempura, salad and a soup. Also included is my all-time favorite of smoothly steamed egg (pictured above) with a small bite of chicken thigh (always the thigh and never the breast), two types of Japanese fish balls which are so colourful but you ought to eat them anyway, one gingko seed and one shrimp with its tail bit on. I like this steamed egg so much I am sure I can eat every single day of my life. :))
|Salt-grilled yellowtail cheek|
See how fresh ingredients play a super crucial role in Japanese kitchen? Another favorite item I order when I am sure it is time to indulge and that it is not my cue to pick up the bill is this yellowtail cheek, simply grilled with a brush (or two) of salt. The cheek is simply served with homemade and crunchy pickles of lotus root, cauliflower knobs, slices of ginger and of course a wedge of lemon. What makes it so good is simply the freshness of the fish that comes out juicy flake by juicy flake at the touch of chopsticks. Well, sold by weight, this one was about Bt900 and I loved it to the last tiny bit left on my fingers. ^^
|At the bar, salivating at other people’s sushi|
AOI, 4F, The Emporium, Sukhumvit 24
Mon-Fri: Lunch: 11.30-14.30, Dinner: 17.30-22.30
Sat, Sun and holidays: Lunch: 11.30-15.30, 17.00-22.30