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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ogu Ogu Japanese Sake Bar Review - Park Venture, Bangkok

Ogu Ogu - Japanese Izakaya Restaurant and Sake Bar at Park Venture Bldg., BTS Ploenchit, Bangkok




Overall Score  9.5/10
Taste   4.5/5
Ambiance  4.5/5
Service  4.5/5
Value   3/5

Ogu Ogu - Modern Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar on BUmRes.com (For more pictures and menu)


Speaking of the Japanese food culture being so popular in Bangkok, it is a surprise that the Japanese Sake is not as widespread as it should be.  In the U.S., when people go to Japanese restaurants, they always order sake or sake bomber, it is almost a custom.  Some other Asian restaurants even have sake available.  For sake fans in Bangkok to look for specific types and origins of sake, I believe Izakaya would have plenty of choices.  However, for some reasons I never really order the Sake at Izakaya.  I usually go for the beer.  Until this visit at the Ogu Ogu, where they present themselves strongly as The Sake Bar, which made me feel that I really have to get the Sake.

The Ogu Ogu is a Japanese restaurant with a Sake Bar.  The food selection is different than typical Izakaya, mainly serves their own original fusion style of traditional Japanese food in the form of Modern Japanese to follow the concept of the Ogu Ogu, which is actually means the harmony of combining traditional and modern cultures into unity.  The meaning of this name is quite brilliant.  The atmosphere of the restaurant was leaning toward minimalism with the black and the organized geometry but the particle wood features and the retro furnishing also balanced the traditional side.  The size is rather small.  The seats near the glass window were more attractive me, getting the view of the front courtyard area of the Park Venture, and not feeling as tight as the seats in front of the Bar.  





The Ogu Ogu concept is also embedded into the food and the cocktails.  The variety of the creations is unique, possibly mind blowing.  Besides the full range of sake selection, there are a few choices of the old trend meets new world cocktails.  We had two choices of the signature cocktail.  One was the Coco Chanel, made with white rum, coconut juice (250 baht).  Served in martini glass with the coconut jelly and the blackberry looking like a Chanel purse.  Coming in white color appeared deceiving but it was quite intense,  had absolutely wonderful taste.

The second cocktail was the Sakura (250 Baht), made with Tequila rose, white rum, lychee.  The pink color was so attractive, like the Sakura blossom.  Its flowery scent was pleasurable.  Taste was light and easy to drink, perfect for girls.






The Ogu Ogu is the Sake Bar, so there is the House Sake ready to go.  Order by Carafe or by bottle, that is up to you.  Here, you can have a taste of the Sake prior to deciding to get the whole bottle.  I got to try the House Oseki, served chill with the carafe sitting in a bucket of ice.  Enjoying in one shot at a time! The surely sake did give me a nice buzz after a couple of shots, perhaps also made the food and the experience better.  

About the food, the menu was created by a Japanese chef from Suntory, aiming to design the most original and extraordinary menu in accordance to the concept specially for the Ogu Ogu.  A fact, hard to believe, but I was stunned by each menu, one after another. Besides the originality shown through the presentation, the taste even expressed the mesmerizing flavors that somehow spoke both traditional and modern equally.  The menu is inclusive of all categories; salad, sashimi, donburi, or main course.  You will be amazed by how beautiful each dish was done.  Being in the center of the business district, the Ogu Ogu also offers lunch set, which is quite a bargain, about half the price of the main dishes at dinner time.  The price is about 400-500 Baht on average for the dinner, pretty expensive but for what you get, it is worth the experience.

For complimentary, the Lotus chip with rosemary infused salt is served as a kind welcome.  If you end up liking it, you can order a larger portion to take home for 140 Baht.

The start menu was the Sashimi Salad (350 Baht).  This kind of menu is available at almost every Japanese restaurant.  In terms of flavors and contexts, the Ogu Ogu didn't make it so different from the whole.  It was made with fresh vegetables, fresh fish, topped with mayonaise and tangy dressing.  Well presented in the long rectangular dish, simple start but did the job.





The second dish was the Ebi Wasabi Mayo - deep fried shrimp fritters coated with wasabi dressing (380 Baht).  This is the beginning of the new world Japanese cuisine.  The shrimp, the rocket, the mayo sauce, and the daikon, somehow came together perfectly in one bite.  Good complex flavors of the wasabi mayo and the sweetness of the shrimp.  Refreshing from the rocket and crispiness of the frites coated.  Wonderful snack dish, perfect for enjoying with a cocktail.

The third dish was the Fiery Prawn - grilled prawn sauteed with garlic and dried chilies (690 Baht).  Two tiger prawns were grilled and then crispy fried.  The chilies and the garlic made this dish very Thai, but since there are no other sauces, this one reminds me of the Salted chili garlic shrimp at Chinese restaurant but with a bigger shrimp.  The fiery chilies wasn't as bad as it looks, not that spicy, absolutely edible, really good with the shrimp.  The Japanese expression of this menu could be its simple flavors.  I really liked its spicy yet subtle taste of this dish.







The fourth dish was the Truffle Carbonara Udon - our favorite modern take on traditional carbonara using our udon nodle with truffle infused cream sauce (380 Baht).  Its taste is more advance than typical Carbonara.  Besides the Udon, I am not if it was the the truffle or else that made this dish feel very Japanese.  The texture of the Udon was perfect, not too soft.  The sauce was fantastic.  Having to use the chopstick surely made this menu very oriental.

The last dish was the Negi Tuna Roll - finely chopped tuna rolled with avocado & deep fried in tempura batter (390 Baht).  Interesting rolling technique, rolling the seaweed with the Tuna, which gives a good texture.  The outside is crispy while the tuna and the ikura were popping out sweet flavors, what a good feeling it was.  It also came with the sour soy sauce.  I loved it.






The dessert was super outstanding.  The Chocolate Mousse - served with chocolate gelato (240 Baht).  A dreamy cool presentation, it was served with dry ice fogging underneath the glowing green plate and on there was merely a fantasy with the Chocolate icing cover three parts; the mousse, the berries, and the ice-cream.  I have never seen such a display.  Simple chocolate flavor was elegant.

The last dessert was the Tofu Blanc Manger - soy milk mousse served with ogura red bean and our special green tea gelato (280 Baht).  Basic presentation but the idea of combining the three varieties was brilliant.  Not too sweet, delicious dessert.  Thumbs up, wonderful sweet endings!



The dinner experience at the Ogu Ogu was beyond my expectation.  Nearly every aspect of this restaurant was superior; the five star service, beautiful food, comfortable atmosphere, tasty cocktails, good sake.  If it wasn't as pricey, I would go there often.  It is a good spot for a chill out night with a girl or group of close friends, popping shots of fine sake.  Whether or not you like sake, the Ogu Ogu may appear deceiving from the entrance with the plain black wall but there is so much beauty of the harmony of old and new world to explore.  Check it out!


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