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Nautical and nice

Enjoy a seafood adventure at the new restaurant Whale's Belly on Sukhumvit



With a curvy white ceiling and dark blue walls, eating at Whale's Belly Restaurant & Bar is a little like swimming through the ocean with Pinocchio and his pals, just as they did in the Disney animated favourite "The Adventure of Pinocchio"

With a relaxing ambience, a panoramic view and a background of modern bossa melodies, this downtown eatery offers a full selection of European-style seafood dishes and desserts with traditional flavours but modern presentations.

It's the brainchild of Somying "Ning" Treeneramitchai and Apichote "Nong" Apichanangkul, graduates of the Oriental Hotel Apprenticeship Programme and Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School.

The pair spent two years studying cooking, marketing and management in five-star hotel outlets before opening Whale's Belly back in April.

Located on the second floor of 39 Boulevard Tower, the interior design is inspired by Disney's 1940 cartoon, which has been re-released in different formats several times since.

The ceiling is equipped with white lathes to mimic the ribs of Monsto the whale while the blue walls are adorned with such sea-related props as a drawing of Rose from "Titanic" film and Captain Hook's magnifying glass.

"While studying communication arts at Chulalongkorn University, I was taught everything had to have a story so, as we wanted to focus on European seafood menus, we designed our restaurant to resemble the belly of a whale. Anyone who's seen 'Pinocchio' will remember the scenes of the boy and his friends swimming around inside Monstro's belly," Somying says.

Furnished with wooden tables covered with blue and white tablecloths and brown chairs, the restaurant seats 72. There's also a private room, named Pinocchio's secret chamber.

"Everything is symbolic. The white curvy wall at the entrance is meant to be an ice mountain, the blue walls and tablecloths represent the sea and brown of the chairs refers to sand." Somying says.

The kitchen is under the control of veteran chef Apirawit "Mai" Chaopo-en, who used to work at the Mandarin Oriental's Le Normandie and has learned his techniques from top chefs from Italy, France and Germany.

Most of the ingredients are imported, with the salmon coming from Norway, the lobster from Canada, the sea bass from Chile and the lamb from Australia.

Mai cooks traditional dishes with innovative techniques. His duck leg confit is prepared in consomme soup to make duck skin crispy and not oily.

We start the meal timbale of avocado and crab (Bt550), a combination of blue crab rillette and chunky guacamole, topped with lumpfish and served in honeydew gazpacho.

We follow with aromatic Mc'n cheese duo of ravioli (also Bt550) that is stuffed with herbed chicken, ricotta and espagnole, served in parmesan cream sauce. Another must-try is roasted salmon with crabmeat in crushed potato and black caviar in white wine cream sauce (Bt750).

Although full, we also ourselves to be tempted by almond & cream, a mixed plate of vanilla panna cotta and financier with assorted fresh fruits (Bt240).

Those arriving early for dinner can relax at the bar with a "Sayonara Halu", a non-alcoholic blend of Japanese honeydew melon, mango and apple juices or a "Hooty Hoo" made from fresh cucumber, lychee, cranberry and pineapple juices, both priced at Bt180.

For more of a kick, there are 11 signature cocktails created by an award-winning mixologist along with a selection of wines from France, Australia, Chile and New Zealand.

Today and tomorrow, the restaurant is offering a special three-course set menu to celebrate mother's day. Mum, who gets to eat for free, will enjoy a choices of herbed chicken liver terrine or garden fresh tomato soup, crispy silver white-sea bass with spaghetti and dessert of vanilla panna cotta with berries.

TREATS AHOY!

Whale's Belly is situated on the second floor of 39 Boulevard Tower A, Sukhumvit Soi 39. It's open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 6.30 to 10.30pm. Call (02) 160 0333 or visit www.Facebook.com/Whalesbelly.


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