Sydney Times

Asia ESCAPE Food and Drink Restaurant reviews

Resuming Life in Thailand at the Wine Connection in Pattaya

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Resuming Life in Thailand at the Wine Connection in Pattaya

 

Review by Axel Ritenis

 

I can’t believe that I was in Detox in the Villa for a full month after my arrival in Bangkok from Frankfurt.  After a pretty arduous and hectic summer in sunny Germany and France,…where it was a very hot summer with temperatures in the low 30’s every day -it seemed hotter than Australia for a whole two months. In the circumstances and getting caught up in the summer mood,..I overindulged in the amazing German and Bavarian beers on offer in Munich.My favourite is Augustiner Brau Munchener  Helles or the Franziskaner WeissBeer  and many of these beers are available in Thailand and Singapore .The crazy thing about beer in Germany is that it is ridiculously cheap,..OK,.. you may pay 4 Euros in a Beerhouse or Restaurant ,..but you can literally purchase a large 500 ml can of quality beer for one 1Euro! Of course the incredible Riesling and other wines from the Mosel and Rheine Vallies and also Saarland,..,.

Anyway,..I finally resumed my vinous career and connection with the Wine World just recently,..by visiting one of my favourite wine stores and Restaurants the Wine Connection in Pattaya which happens to be right opposite the famous Beach of the same name ! Because I had nothing but spicy Thai Food with some pretty hot Chillie dishes ,..and water,  lime juice and Tea for a whole month ,. I was really pleased to breakout and start enjoying Beer and Wine at the Wine Connection and some dishes from the  Cucina Italiana.

Wine Connection Group owns and operates the largest chain of wine retail shops and full-service wine-themed restaurants in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia and if you are visiting  Singapore or Thailand ,.you would be hard pressed to miss them.They  are the exclusive importers of over 300 labels of wines from around the world, and they also retail  craft beers, glassware and related wine accessories, as well as selected delicatessen gourmet  products.

Now because I am basically a walking wine trade encyclopedia,.. (after 30 years in the business as a retailer importer,educator and journalist),..I recognized at least half of  the labels on their shelves. They have a good selection of wines from France Spain and Italy ,..but also some well selected wines from the New World with a focus on Chile,Argentina and Australia. Now  whilst  they not are purveyors of Fine Wine in the sense of Prestige iconic wine labels selling for hundreds of dollars,.. wine for great connoisseurs accustomed to drinking Champagne Dom Perignon or Chateau Petrus,..the wines they have on offer are decent enough every day drinking mainstream wines.

This is not the prestige end of the market ,..if you want some really prestige iconic wines in Bangkok then you need to go to ,Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar in Gaysorn Village in Bangkok.

Since their  inception in 1998, Wine Connection has steadily grown the number of wine retail shops, and diversified into the full-service restaurant business by introducing the integrated retail wine shop – restaurant concept, becoming the leader in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia with 81 outlets to date, and still counting.

Vineyard to Table Approach

As the exclusive importers of over 300 wine labels from renowned brands and small artisan wineries, from old and new world countries, they do offer customers excellent wines at affordable prices.,..and their  dedicated team of experts source globally and taste more than two thousand wines yearly to select the best-valued gems, award-winning classics and exciting new tastes and flavours for their loyal customers,..many of whom are expats.

 

“Their stated mission is to be the leading chain of wine shops and wine-themed restaurants in South East Asia and I would say they are doing a pretty good job of achieving their goal.”

What is the  Mission of this chain?

“Put simply Wine Connection seeks to Provide customers with quality wine and European style food, at a reasonable price, in a clean, hygienic, friendly and service-orientated setting.”

ironically enough many people walk by the Wine Connection stores without paying much attention and not realizing that in fact it is a Restaurant s=as well as a wine store in one.

I  recently visited the Pattaya branch of Wine Connection having visited the Bangkok Sukhumvit operation before Covid times,..and discovered a very pleasant  contemporary ambience ,. with nice Decor and Air Conditioning which really is a must if you are in a tropical climate drinking wine! So I relaxed in a tastefully decorated restaurant section  with pleasing views over the beach at Pattaya as it is on the end of Royal Garden Mall. There is outdoor Patio seating as well.

I found this a pretty relaxing scene .There is a good wine selection with reasonable prices in the store but the main thing was to sample some food and wine together in situ. 

The Thai staff are very pleasant and whilst they aren’t up to Sommelier level, they can give you basic advice about the wines on the shelves or n the Wine List ,..and the best wine and food combinations.

 

In terms of Pricing,..They add 7% Vat and a 10% service charge to the bill. Whilst I do not appreciate forced tipping (as I like to base my tips on the service)  fortunately the service was good so  our waitress deserved a Tip and in addition she took some photos for us as well.

 

The menu is really extensive and caters for all tastes ,…

 

 Wine Connection  Restaurants offer decent European fare presented in an extensive A La Carte Menu 

The restaurant in Pattaya, offers pretty much the same menu as in Bangkok.

From what I could discern,..there are some new items, as the Menu is constantly evolving as they add new dishes which get developed in their Test Kitchen and which are a good addition to already existing solid choices. Whilst the prices have risen  about 10 % since before COVID,..this is typical of restaurant pricing policy around the world and the fact we have high inflation on a global basis. Even the price of a Steak is not excessive considering that this is quality Beef imported from Australia. They  offer also decent cheese and cold cut platters.

We opted for the Set Lunch time Menu where you can choose a Pasta or Pizza  with a great Garden salad and a drink thrown in for Free.

On arrival after some swimming and beach activities,..We felt like a Beer so who can go past a local Singah Beer on a sunny day,..I had some  some German wheat beer and a couple of glasses of the House red wine. Considering that it was a complete and filling lunch the Bill for two was reasonable being around the  and it was a bit over a Thousand  baht ,..which is quite reasonable for lunch for two people! So we tried the Salmon Papardelle with an excellent creamy Spinach sauce and the Pizza with Serran and Rocket,..it could have been made in Italy!

As mentioned with the set Lunch you can choose the Papardelle Salmon  or Papardelle Bolognaise Mozarella  and Spinach Ravioli or or a good size authentic Italian style pizza such as the Pizza with Serrano Ham and Rocket or Pizza Pepperoni or Pizza ham and Mushroom.

If you want to take advantage of the budget priced Set Menu,.be early to avail yourself of the top value Daily Set Menu Deal as this is only available before 2.30 pm every day!

The A La Carte Menu is actually huge and very extensive and caters for all Tastes.

So from the main  A La carte Menu you can select  an amazingly diverse selection of Foods,…starting with Seafood ,..Pork Cutlets and we saw evidence of a good range of Prime Australian Beef steak on the menu.In addition if you are on a Palleo diet or a bit of a carnivore they do have an extensive range of Meat based dishes including the Grilled Tenderloin steak,..,..Grilled Kurabota Pork,,Oven baked Duck and even the ubiquitous Chicken served with some interesting sauces…There is no doubt they have some good Chefs in their team and they keep curating and developing their  Menu ,which even if it is a tad commercial,..at least  everyone can find something that appeals to them, ..

Then of course you can also can indulge in some reasonably good wines  glass or bottle of wine that won’t break the bank.

The salad was neat with perfect oil / vinegar based dressing using various ingredients. They bring a good quality Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the table on request and the quality of the salad is excellents.

Wine prices for Dining in are  reasonable,.. like B120 for a glass of House White or red and the  bottle price starting at around B600.

Here are some of the popular selections from the Menu :

Entrees 

-Smoked salmon platter B290

Platter of patta Negra B360

-French Charcuteri eplatter  B420

Spanish Style gambas B260 b

Eggplant parmagiana B230

Salad:

-Really good healthy Bowl B 230

-Tuna Tataki Salad 290

Pastas 

-Canadian lobster Spaghetti for B590

– Truffle Fettuccini and Mushrooms  B260

– Pardelle salmon for B260

_Lasagnes with Bolognaise sauce B260

-Papardelle Carbonara B 260

-Vongole Spaghetti B290

 

Italian style Home Made Pizza

-Smoked Salmon 280 B

-Burrata 350

-Truffle and Chorizo 380

-Serrano Ham and Rocker=t 280

-Pepperoni 250

-Mediterranean 260

Steak

-250 gm Australian Sirloin ,Grain fed 120 Days B549

-300 Gm Australian RibEye Grain Fed B790

-250 gm Australian tenderloin Grain fed 120 days  B820

Other Meats Dishes 

-8 hours smoked BBQ pork Ribs  B460

-Duck confit B390

-Roasted half Baby Chicken B340

-300 gm Kurobuta Pork chop 440

-8 hours smoked BBQ pork Ribs  B460

 

Fish 

-Pan seared Salmon Fillet 490

Desserts 

-Raspberry cheesecake 170

-Apple tart 160

-Berry Crumble 170

-Chocolate Mousse 160

-Lava cake 170

WINE LIST SELECTIONS:

WHITE

-DEAKIN ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC (Aus)B650

-DOMAINE DE ROTISSON (Fr)B600

-AOC BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY FRANCE  B999

-MARGARET RIVER DEEP WOODS CHARDONNAY B820

 

REDS

-LES SOLSTICES CUVEE TRADITION ROUGE DE FRANCE B530

-PASO DEL SOL CENTRAL VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON,..CHILE B550

-SANTA LUCIA TOSCANA B590

-UMANI RONCHI MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO B690

 

 

If you are on a budget I would always recommend the  set menu!

Nice lunch offer in Wine collection at the Royal garden… Salad + any pasta / pizza from the menu + a soft drink : 249 baht + 10 % service fee.

 

Sample of Web reviews 

“Nice lunch offer in Wine collection at the Royal garden… Salad + any pasta / pizza from the menu + a soft drink : 249 baht + 10 % service fee.”

 

As for the Pizza The toppings were generous and the pizza sauce was delicious with the aromas of the oregano. Not a world class pizza lunch, but still OK in very nice environment and really good value .Simply delicious meal overlooking the Pattaya Beach on the other side of the road ,..but it is a relaxing good spot with comfortable furnishings.”

“Simply delicious meal overlooking the Beach front Pattaya bay. The wine promotion was excellent pick and reasonable price. I have ordered the beef pasta; it was tender and tasty. Their service was prompt and polite.”

“Central Pattaya has in the last grown a few very good steak restaurants. Wine connection in Royal Garden Plaza on Beach Road is one of the best : a big shop with the towns biggest wine collection !”

In addition if you are on a Palleo diet or a bit of a carnivore they dio have an extensive range of Meat based dishes including Australian Steak,..Kurabotta Pork,,Duck and even  the ubiquitous Chicken served with some interesting sauces and vegetables..

Conclusion:

There is no doubt they have some good Chefs in their  team as they keep curating and developing their menu and repertoire.  Whilst the style and ambience is slightly commercial,..it must be said that there is something for everyone here.Everyone can find something that appeals to them and wash it down with a pleasant glass of wine ,. ..

And ,.. of course you can also choose a good glass or bottle of wine that won’t break the bank!

 

Wine Selection in the Restaurant

In the restaurant you can choose  to walk around in the shop and collect your wine to consume in the restaurant. as mentioned with very reasonable prices, 690,- baht and up for very good bottled wines .

 

218 Beach Rd, Muang Pattaya, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri, Thailand

Pattaya 20150

It is on the Beach Road west end of the Royal Garden Plaza

Tel: 038-410-087

TEL FOR BOOKINGS:038-410-087

218 Beach Rd Royal Garden Plaza, Pattaya 20150 Thailand

0.4 miles from Walking Street Pattaya

Website

+66 38 410 087

ASIA Locations :

Thailand

27 wine shops, 41 restaurants, 55% of stores are in Bangkok. Online Delivery Platform

Kuala Lumpur

2 wine shops in residential areas. Online Delivery Platform.

Singapore

16 wine shops, 14 restaurants, Half of stores are in CBD, Half in residential areas. Online Delivery Platform.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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