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Friday, February 22, 2013

River Cafe and Terrace Dinner Buffet Review at The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok

River Cafe and Terrace at The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok - Dinner Buffet Riverfront



Overall Score  8/10
Taste   4/5
Ambiance  5/5
Service  4/5
Value   4/5



The Sunset on the Chao Phraya River is a picturesque scene.  Many tourists in Thailand would find it very enticing, but for local Thais like me; it seemed to be an everyday occurrence and I tend to not value its beauty as much in the past.  To accentuate the Thai’s local beauty and historical gems along the Chao Phraya River, the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok is offering what they call, “A Journey to the Temple of Dawn.”  It is the cocktail cruise at sunset, taking a route pass the fascinating Wat Arun or we know as the Temple of Dawn.  On the river ride, unlimited cocktails and canapés are served.  The trips are happening every Friday to Sunday at 5.30pm (price is 1,250 baht per person).  I was planning to spend romantic sunset hours with a girl and I knew for sure that she would be really impressed.  We were very excited and looking forward to the cruise. 

At first I thought about driving there since I was out of my office for a meeting but it was a Friday and the traffic in Bangkok was horrible I sensed that there was no way I could get it to the Peninsula at 5.30pm by car, so I parked near the BTS line and headed for the Taksin station where my date was waiting.  From there, we had to catch to Peninsula boat at Sathorn pier to the Peninsula Hotel pier, where the cruise starts. Unfortunately we got to the BTS Taksin around the time that the cruise departs for the journey to the Temple of Dawn.  Yep, sadly we missed the cruise but we didn’t miss the gorgeous reflection of the red sky on the Chao Phraya River just right before sunset.  Skipping the cruise was upsetting but it didn’t ruin the night.  








The Peninsula Hotel on the Charoennakorn road has the River Café and Terrace located right at the edge of the Chao Phraya River.  There, the dinner buffet is served on Friday and Saturday.  The river terrace atmosphere saved our night.  We got the front row seats of the river view.  The atmosphere was absolutely amazing.  There happened to be an event on the glass courtyard between the terrace and the hotel.  A lot of people were at the party but it didn’t bother us because they had a live band playing soothing music.  The surroundings of our dinner all turned out to be just perfect.  








We were more than half-way content with our night just enjoying the river phenomenon.  For the rest of our contentment, our mouth was the judge.  Surely the stomach would be happy since it was a buffet – I could fill it up as much as I could.  Personally I am not a fan of typical buffets.  Luxurious hotel buffets are an exception, I guess.  At first glance of my walk through, the culinary pleasures at the River Café and Terrace @ the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok were orchestrated with the line buffets of international dishes, western specialties of steaks and seafood, authenticated Thai selections from Thiptara (Thai restaurant by Peninsula Hotel), Cold cuts and cheese, Salads and canapés, and plenty of dessert choices.  The dinner buffet at the river Café and Terrace offered a nice diversity but certainly not as grand as what we would find at Sunday brunches.  We were there just in time for the first batch served, looking appetizing and fresh.     






To get into details, I can list a few items.  Let’s begin with food from the line buffet set up indoor.  For Thai food, there were papaya salads, Larb (minced pork salad), Tom Yum soup, Chili paste with steamed veggies, and a couple of different Yum (Thai spicy salads).  The seafood cocktail section had steamed river prawn, crabmeat, scallop cocktails, oyster shooters.  There are a couple of small trays serving Japanese sushi and rolls.  On had basic choices of sashimi; Salmon, Akami, Squid, and Saba.  The other one was full of Maki rolls.  At the center table were the European starters; mix of green salads with all types of dressing; the cold cuts – Spicy salami, Salami Milano, 14 months Italian Ham ; variety of pre-mixed salads – Roasted beef with apple chutney, Duck with Beetroot chutney, Tuna with mango salsa, and Shrimp with avocado.  The rest of the indoor area was full of the sweet selection; fondue fountain, ice-cream, cakes, pastries, Thai desserts, fresh fruits, and more.  It was quite a dessert heaven.  I bet sweet tooth diners would go berserk.     








The two lines set up outdoor were comprised of hot food.  First area had the oriental choices such as stir-fried Broccoli, fried rice, Yakisoba noodles, and Thai Panang curry.  The other was the western choices, which had Wagyu rump, Lamb, Pork Sausages, Lamb Chorizo Sausages, Atlantic scallop, Tasmanian Salmon, Pork loin with peppercorn sauce, Roasted corned beef.  It all sounds like a great selection of food for an international buffet, doesn’t it? 














We didn’t try all of what were listed above.  Honestly, I wasn’t disappointed with the food at this buffet at all.  In fact, I there were a few choices I really enjoyed.  The Wagyu rump and the lamb were awesome.  Some of the seafood cocktails and the chutney were nice and delightful.  I really liked the Seabass with caper sauce.  The grilled shrimps and scallops were wonderful.  Pastas and pizza were not as great.  The roasted corned beef was too chewy.  Thai dishes looked quite authentic but I didn’t try at all.  My girlfriend was happy with the dessert choices.  The Tahitian vanilla crème brulee was a good choice.  The ice-creams had many toppings.  Other fabulous selections of sweet were overtly eye-catching but steaks and seafood were more attractive to me. 
















Overall, the dinner buffet at the Peninsula Hotel was an enjoyable one.  The food was prepared with quality ingredients.  Of course, the atmosphere and the company made the meal so much better.  In my opinion, I would prefer to stay at the table and have the a la carte buffet served to me.  I didn’t like walking back and forth to dish up the food myself.  This could be something that the hotel should consider for improvements.  Well – for missing out on “A Journey to the Temple of Dawn” at sunset, the make up at the River Café and Terrace of the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok was actually one of the most memorable and romantic dinner for me.  For 1,800++ Baht, it was all worth it if you were to look for a special place to spend quality time with your special someone.  On my next visit, I hope to catch the boat for river ride action on the Chao Phraya River at sunset in time.  Btw, this place is great for the Valentine’s Day coming up.    








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