Bang Bang Brings Delicious Curry and Cocktails to Beaumont
Bang Bang, the new project from Aalto Lounge owners Kate and Alex Wood and Chef Adam Kaplan, has opened its doors to eager crowds, who have packed the restaurant since its opening night, February 5. Since then, they’ve worked out some kinks that had been slowing service and have been providing some of the best Thai food in town.
The menu isn’t the standard “pick-your-protein” style that dominates the Portland Thai restaurant and food-cart scene, and neither is it derivative of Pok Pok; it’s a minimalistic menu focused on well-crafted small plates and curries. While there are a few vegetarian options, meat rules here: the beef tartare with curried lemon, cured egg yolk, Thai chili and served with house-made rice crackers is the perfect way to start your meal, as are the skewers, with the pork belly possibly being the best choice.
The four curry bowls, pumpkin, jungle, green and the vegan Paenang, are the staples at Bang Bang. The jungle curry, with shrimp cakes and quail egg, might be a little intense for some diners, but the green curry is fantastic. A tea-cured egg, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) sausage, pork belly, yams and long beans top coconut rice, and the rich and delicious sauce is served in a pitcher to be poured over at the patron’s preference. It’s some of the best curry in town.
For dessert, there’s an option between the roasted banana parfait and the excellent Thai tea cake with galangal ice cream. The tea cake is one of the only items that contains gluten on the menu.
Bang Bang is more than just a restaurant. It’s open until midnight, and after ten it provides a smaller menu with exclusive dishes, including banh mi and curry fries. Of course, cocktails are served at all hours. Kate Wood, having already established herself as an amazing bar manager at Aalto Lounge, has developed an entirely new cocktail menu here. Wood has strayed away from the typical Asian inspired cocktail, eschewing lemongrass infusions and tamarind vodkas for a more classic approach. While everything is great, standouts include the White Negroni, with Suze, a French apertif, Cocci Americano and Aria, a Portland gin, and the Well Respected Man, a Rittenhouse and Punt E Mes Manhattan with the addition of Nocino, a walnut liqueur. Also eschewed is the recent tendency to price cocktails in the $12 range. Most of the drinks on the menu are around $8.
The space itself, formerly Hoda’s, has been entirely designed and renovated by Alex Wood. It resembles Aalto Lounge’s Modern Mid Century aesthetic, with its sleek wood and cozy lighting that make for a stylish but unpretentious atmosphere. Also like Aalto Lounge, it can get loud, but that makes for a good excuse to lean in closer to your date.
Bang Bang has opened with a promising beginning, and we’re excited to see where the restaurant goes. Bang Bang is open Wednesday through Monday from 5 PM–12 AM each day.
Bang Bang; 4727 NE Fremont Ave.; 503-287-3846
Photos by Alex Frane
Tags: Cocktails, Food, Spirits