Block 26 Dempsey Hill
(+65) 6476 6742
Dust off your lederhosen. At Tawandang, it’s Oktoberfest every day of the year. Dining al fresco is quite romantic, with flaming torches and candlelit tables, but step inside and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a jovial beer festival, with gigantic beer tanks, long tables laid out under a high ceiling, and a live band to boot.
The logic behind the German microbrewery and Thai restaurant combo wasn’t immediately obvious (much like ketchup and cheese sandwiches) but I’m not one to knock it before I’ve tried it – and like ketchup and cheese sandwiches it works like a dream.
Despite my initial scepticism, it soon became apparent why this place is such a hit in Bangkok. The food is excellent, inexpensive, and what’s more, to quote my partner: “I know my beer, and this lager is the smoothest I’ve had in Singapore.” That’s a big call, but he stands by it even now that the alcohol has worn off. Beer is served in four different sizes, ranging from 300ml glasses to 2-litre towers.
Complementary beer snacks of deep-fried shrimp and garlic peanuts are served before you order, and are an unusual but inspired entrée. For the main event, we mixed things up a bit; James ordered the deep-fried pork knuckle (a delicious heart-attack on a plate for $25) and I chose the beautiful, whole grilled seabass ($20), cooked in a pandan leaf (innards and all) and accompanied by a garlic and chilli sauce. We also tried shrimps with mixed vegetables and rice noodles with sweet peanut sauce ($15), spicy seafood salad ($12) and sautéed morning glory, a green bean-like vegetable ($12).
Tawandang only opened its doors in June but word has spread fast, and this joint was packed out during our midweek visit. I’m guessing that reservations are essential on weekends.