I'd read about Whale's Belly on a list of "great new Bangkok restaurants", so asked our lovely concierge to make us a dinner booking. The restaurant is located on a bit of a rat run between sois, not that close to Sukhumvit Road, so it's best to get a taxi and a map or an address (preferably in Thai, so the taxi driver can read it - your concierge can help with this).
We lobbed in slightly early for our 8pm reservation and were greeted by two enthusiastic staff in the lobby area (you have to catch a lift up to the restaurant). We were shown through a totally empty restaurant to our table. Totally empty, we were the only table. Being the only table in a restaurant makes me feel very nervous, but as the fabulous food started to come out I definitely stopped worrying.
The restaurant is large, with full glass views out to the street (though not much to see there), and you're supposed to feel that you're inside a whale's belly as the ceiling is covered with "ribs". Cute idea I guess, but the ceiling is very high and you don't really notice the ribbing at all. It's a well put together restaurant, but strangely devoid of any personality. Maybe it would be better with more tables of guests?
A gratis plate of tiny warmed croissants came out first, with pots of butter and pate, and there were lovely little snacks to enjoy between each course. I had two duck courses and hubby had two seafood courses - all of which were very good indeed. After all the lovely little amuse bouches from the kitchen, we didn't have any room for desserts, though they looked great.
We really enjoyed our meal there, but for an empty restaurant there are far too many staff - and they're VERY attentive. We had two staff watching us from only metres away for most of the meal - it's very unsettling. My main course plate was whipped away whilst I was still chewing the last mouthful. The staff are good and they want to work, but they stand too close and they're too helpful. Maybe if they stood back behind the bar and weren't so eager, it would be a more relaxing experience.
So - great food, restaurant lacking a real personality (though fabulous whale inspired cushions on each seat that I wanted to take), and eager staff. I don't know why this place isn't full - the prices are reasonable and the food is yum. Maybe it's too far from Sukhumvit? They definitely need to set up a web page, not just a Facebook page, people need to be able to look at a menu before they book. I think we'd go back to try it again.
Whale's Belly Restaurant & Bar
No 41, 39 Boulevard Tower A
Sukhumvit Soi 33 (Dang-Udom)
Sukhumvit Road, Khlongtan-Nua
Watthana, Bangkok, 10110
Phone:- +662 1600 333