I’ve read recently that one of the healthiest diets is the “Mediterranean Diet“. This diet focuses on a tasty mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. Bangkok’s got some great restaurants specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, though often they offer a menu that is heavy towards specific regions of the Mediterranean like Greece, Italy, Spain, or France. But Bangkok’s recently opened XII Mediterranean Gastropub (official Facebook page) offers a menu with an incredible range of dishes from Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Portugal, and Croatia.
The region is representative of many cultures, religions, languages, and geographies, which has inspired XII Mediterranean to create a varied array of regional foods and drinks, some of which you’ll only find exclusively at their restaurant.
My gal and I had a chance to attend their grand opening celebration in July and then recently returned to explore their menu further. I’m happy to share our experience with you.
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, or just want to explore the region’s dishes, XII Mediterranean will give you a delicious introduction. Let’s eat!
Okay, I’ll admit that maybe my gal and I went a little overboard kickstarting our meal off with four different tapas dishes. But if you take a look at XII Mediterranean’s menu, how can you only pick one or two tapas dishes? There are just so many interesting things to choose from.
I regret nothing…
In-house marinated sardines
Our first tapas dish was a French-inspired slice of Crostini Bread, smeared with a blended fresh Tarragon and Parsley “Salsa Verde”, in-house marinated sardine filet, topped with crispy sliced fennel seasoned with dill and lemon zest. Talk about a flavor explosion!
Pro-Tip: Make sure you order a glass of house white wine with this In-house Marinated Sardine (320 baht) dish.
For our second tapas, we chose another French favorite, Beef Tartare (360 baht). If you’re a fan of beef tartare this is a real treat. XII Mediterranean serves the best I’ve had in Bangkok.
The dish comes with three small mounds of hand-cut beef tenderloin blended with capers, dijon mustard, and Italian parsley. Two of the mounds are topped with micro herbs, with the center mound topped with a quail egg yolk. It’s served with thin slices of toasted crostini bread to spread the tangy flavorful tartare on.
Pro-Tip: Enjoy this with a glass of red!
Some more tasty bites!
These little Spanish Ham Croquettes (240 baht) pack a lot of flavor in such a little bite. Each lightly fried croquette is filled with 24-month Aged “San Daniele” Ham which is cooked sous vide and a creamy bechamel sauce.
Each croquette rests on a pad of Catalan Romesco sauce and is topped with Micro Rocket greens. A lot of flavor in such a pretty little package!
A regional sampler…
To experience a variety of the region’s flavors, order the Mediterranean Dips with Homemade Pita Bread & Sardinian “Carasau” Bread (450 baht). It comes with four different dips, intensely flavorful Sun-Dried Tomato (Italy), a delicious paprika-spiced Romesco Dip (Spain), Hummus (Lebanon), creamy Tzatziki (Greece), and a smokey eggplant dish, Zaalouk (Morocco). My personal favorite was the Spanish Romesco Dip–I could eat my weight in THAT.
It’s served with a generous tray of pita bread and crispy thin Sardinian “Carasau” Bread. The previous three tapas dishes were just little bite-sized treats. But when this spread hit the table it was the moment we realized we may have just bit off more than we could chew. It is definitely meant for sharing!
Even though we might have gone a little overboard with the tapas ordering, I’ll say it again, I’ve no regrets.
After thoroughly researching the tapas menu we decided to limit ourselves to a single appetizer on the menu. There are many interesting choices on the menu but there was one dish, in particular, that jumped out at me when I saw it on the menu.
I used to live in Izmir, Turkey. One of the popular must-try dishes there is İzmir köfte, also known by İzmir’s ancient city name, Smyrna köfte. These delicious meatballs migrated from Asia Minor to neighboring Greece where they were adopted and renamed Soutzoukakia. Seeing Soutzoukakia (380 baht) on XII Mediterranean’s menu got me pretty excited…
This is a dish that’s worth getting excited about, too. It contains baked wagyu beef meatballs in a lightly cumin seasoned tomato sauce with a cheesy spelt grain pilaf topped with micro greens in the center. It’s just layers of flavors and textures to keep your tastebuds happy.
A creamy tzatziki sauce accompanies the dish and it’s a real game changer with this dish. I recommend trying the dish first without the tzatziki sauce and then trying it with a smear of sauce. It’s amazing just how much it adds to the dish!
With all the meaty dishes we’d ordered we decided to order a Lebanese Fattoush (340 baht) salad to round out the meal. It’s a simple salad of cos lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and spring onions that’s flavor boosted with sumac, mint, Italian parsley, and Fattoush dressing. Forget breadsticks, this salad is served with wedges of crispy homemade pita bread!
Our favorite dish!
Have you ever had a dish that as soon as you took that first bite you just knew that you’d have to return to eat it again someday? Discovered a dish so exceptional, that you just knew it’d be a favorite you’d crave again later? This Braised Iberian Pork Cheek (890 baht) dish has that big WOW! at first bite.
The Iberico pork cheek is first brined for 24 hours in a herb and salt water solution. It is then cooked for 36 hours sous vide with pork stock, celery, carrots, and onion. It doesn’t get any more tender than this. You could cut it with a spoon…
The pork cheek is served atop sautéed spinach with sherry vinegar, nestled on a bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes, with a port wine sauce made ” A La Minute” and a bit of Micro Rocket on top of it to give a light spicy-peppery taste. I highly recommend this dish if you want to experience WOW! flavor.
XII Mediterranean offers plenty of dessert options for diners wanting to cap their meal off with something sweet. For our visit we chose two desserts that seemed unique to Bangkok’s Mediterranean food scene…
The Moroccan Pudding (280 baht) reminds me a little of the traditional English Pudding dessert but it’s very different. The cake is delicately spiced with hints of cinnamon and clove and filled with dried fruits. It’s topped with a delicious salted caramel sauce and served with a scoop of homemade pistachio gelato.
I highly recommend this dessert, especially if you need a tasty sugar rush to help overcome a large meal!
For a less heavy treat, I recommend the Spanish Churros (240 baht). These fried dough sticks are dusted with sugar and ready to be dipped in the accompanying Chili Chocolate Sauce, Spiced Mango Coulis, or Red Berry & Star Anise Jam. I personally liked dipping them first in the berry jam and then the spiced chocolate sauce.
Pro-tip: If you’re on a romantic date here, it’s true love if you can both look past the need for double dipping.
A chat with the owner…
During both of our visits, I had the chance to chat with the proprietor, Craig McLean. Craig explained to me that the inspiration for XII Mediterranean was to bring together the myriad of dishes from all corners of the Mediterranean to one location in Bangkok. Using only the best of organic, chemical-free, hormone and antibiotic-free, wild catch seafood, free-range meats, fresh vegetables, grains, and cereals imported directly from the Mediterranean or sourced locally, everything is made in-house. From the bread we started with to the pistachio gelato we finished with, it’s all homemade.
A Mediterranean feeling…
The food may transport your tastebuds to the Mediterranean, but the restaurant decor is sure to also make you forget your Bangkok surroundings. The restaurant decor invites a feeling of a charming Meditteranean cafe with many places for friends and families to come together and share an enjoyable and memorable meal at a Mediterranean table. You almost expect to look outside and see the sea…
If you want a shortcut to that Mediterranean feeling, I recommend exploring the Drinks List for the many Mediterranean beverages they have on offer. Dining in the Mediterranean is a marathon, not a race. Good wine, cocktails, and other tasty drinks will help you get to the finish line!
Pro-Tip: Cap off your meal with a generous pour of grappa!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
XII Mediterranean is located on Sathorn Soi 12 Alley, an easy walk from the Saint Louis BTS station. There’s ample seating inside and outside to accommodate any sized party.
If you want to feel like you’ve escaped Bangkok for the Mediterranean scene with some amazing food and drinks, I highly recommend a visit to XII Mediterranean!
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience XII Mediterranean, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more about the foodie gems I find). However you choose to reach out, I’d love to hear from you!