Sweet Pista. Who knows what that name means? Who even cares?
If you take only one thing away from this review, know that you can secure a world class burger, right here in Bangkok, for about 200 baht. For us Brits, that’s a under fiver.
If you take two things away, know also that I am an incredibly poor photographer and that I also get nervous – not to mention hungry and irritable – when taking pictures of food, so you’re not going to get a visual feast here. But you will get an actual feast at Sweet Pista.
I used to be an avid burger fan back in London circa 2014. London is a hub for wonderful hamburgers. Lucky Chip. Patty and Bun. Honest Burger (although less delicious than it used to be, sadly). We had fervent debates about meat density and bun composition; titanic arguments over the appropriate cheeses. If it sounds faintly ridiculous in hindsight, it was. The annual London Burger Day was an absolute festival of greasy delights. Burgers dipped in gravy. Burgers made of cronuts. Wonderful for the soul, horrible for the waistline.
Moving to Bangkok, I was prepared to let burgers go. It wasn’t exactly a wrench, because I was trading for Thai food, which is amazing. And then we found Sweet Pista.
It came from a moment of weakness. After the fifteen billionth bowl of noodle soup that week, not being able to bear the sight of a grain of rice, I googled burgers in Bangkok, desperate. As expected, the majority of well-rated places came with the usual backhanded praise – primarily “very nice for the price”, but I wasn’t exactly filled with hope.
I would describe Sweet Pista as unassuming, friendly and with a sprinkling of hipster. It’s tucked into a tiny space at the back of Warehouse 30 on Charoen Krung Road, up by the Sheraton hotel. It was formerly in Thonglor but has a permanent space by the river now.
Warehouse 30 is where you go if you want to see people carrying poodles with actual haircuts, wearing actual jumpers, in actual Bangkok. I’m not even sure they let you onto the site unless you’re wearing at least one item of clothing that could be described as ‘jaunty’.
Sweet Pista is unpretentious among all this – filled with as many extended families as Instafluencers (could be a word), but beware it’s normally busy so do call ahead to book!
Somewhat sweetly describing themselves as a restaurant and home bakery, diners are tightly packed in a room with doors which have rolling pins for handles. The purpose is unclear but pleasing.
The menu is stuffed full of delights and everything I’ve ever seen leave the kitchen looks amazing. Pastas served in frying pans, deep fried bbq, ribs, a range of salads with appropriate levels of fancy greenery. Even, although we’ve not been brave enough to try it, battered and deep fried bacon. There are also more classic roasts and cuts of meat.
Needless to say, we’ve ignored all that glorious stuff in favour of the main event – burgers. We weren’t expecting much – Thai cows aren’t exactly meaty creatures – but what arrives is a perfect piece of Americana. Again, caveat, rubbish at photos and too busy eating.
This is the bacon cheeseburger, my weapon of choice. A hefty slab of presumably Australian beef sits at the centre, all medium rare (or to your liking) and juicy. A simple lettuce and tomato combo, plus American cheese, some kind of burger sauce and two frankly obscene rashers of crispy yet thick bacon sit on top like a magnificent porky crown. The bun is just perfect, somewhere between brioche and, well, not. Lightly toasted and yet fluffy. Made with equal parts love and skill.
Basically, one bite and angels sing. Sweet Pista is up there with the best burgers we’ve eaten anywhere.
Beyond the classics they do a range of other burgers, dialling up to a seven deadly sins burger if your arteries can handle it. One of the sins is crushed up crisps, which treads the line between genius and insanity.
Sides are also on point with chips that have danced in hot oil on numerous occasions to the point of peak crispiness. Onion rings are more than enough for two, big crispy fluffy specimens too. Buffalo wings are also not to be missed, even if the staff feared for our lives when we ordered them. Service is swift and smiling.
If you have any room left after the burger gluttony, Sweet Pista do a strong line in dessert goods with cheesecake and an orange creme brulee pretty popular. Normally for us dessert is a bridge too far as we pay up and stagger into the night.
Expect to pay about 300-400 THB per person at Sweet Pista, burgers are in the 200-300 range. By Bangkok standards it’s not a cheap dinner, but oh boy is it worthwhile.