In case you haven’t realised, the culinary scene in Bangkok ain’t just about Phad Thai and Tom Yum Gong… although local Thai food are so delicious and irresistible. The fine dining scene in Bangkok is thriving and there are more and more world recognised restaurants and Michelin chefs setting shop at the Thai capital.
Here are my 5 recommended restaurants in Bangkok for a special meal:
#1: Issaya Siamese Club
Set in a 100-year old colonial house with lush garden, Issaya Siamese Club is a sanctuary away from the crazy traffic of Bangkok town. You will be most tempted to wander around the restaurant grounds to explore every nook and cranny before you settle down at your table to browse through the menu of one of Asia’s top 50 restaurants.
Every area of the restaurant is Instagram-worthy, and each corner of the house are decorated with different themes.
Helm by celebrity chef Ian Kittichai, the restaurant has an extensive menu of re-interpreted fusion Thai food. This restaurant is a good place for larger groups because many dishes are great for sharing and you could try out so much more items in the menu with a group. Remember to leave some room for dessert, which is also highly recommended.
I ordered the Green Curry Soup (Kaew Warn “Like A Soup” Goong), which was the Chef’s interpretation of the traditional Thai Green Curry, but in a lighter soup version. The server brought the ingredients right in front of me and started adding them into the soup bowl, before pouring the green curry broth. Awesome presentation and theatrics, but the dish was tasty and interesting too!
Another dish like no other that I really enjoyed was the Asian multigrain (Wok sauteed short grain rice with “Hed Por”), which was a simple, but very tasty rice dish comprising of kidney beans, barley, brown rice and other grains, and stir-fried with mushrooms and garlic sprinkled with mushroom-scented oil.
This is definitely a place that I have to revisit, with more companions, so that I could savour more dishes from one of the most prominent local chefs in Thailand.
Issaya Siamese Club
4 ซอย ศรีอักษร Chuea Phloeng Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
#2: Paste Bangkok
You don’t see this name a lot in most recommended lists and I personally think Paste is truly under-rated in the City’s dining scene. The chefs – Bongkoch Satongun and Jason Bailey – put a lot of focus on the ingredients to put forth a modern twist to traditional Thai recipe.
Our dinner set menu, for instance, comprised of some dishes that paid homage to old recipes, including one that was served to King Rama I.
Every dish was not only artfully presented, but also made from produce of outstanding quality. You could taste the tenderness of the chicken in one of the dishes (Oven-roasted chemical free chicken served with Kanchanaburi red curry), with authentic Thai flavours that are pleasant on the palates. Even my Thai friends who were at dinner with me that evening were very impressed. Apparently, all the ingredients are sourced locally in Thailand.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss the desserts, which are not part of the dinner set menu. We ordered desserts separately and were equally impressed by the presentation and taste.
3rd Floor, Gaysorn, 999 Ploenchit Rd., Lumpini Bangkok, Thailand
#3: Le Du
Started by a young chef, Chef Ton – who worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and institutions Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges before returning to Bangkok – Le Du is a casual restaurant with an open kitchen. The menu is equally young and vibrant – where Chef Ton serves up bold and creative Thai inspired dishes.
Le Du also has an affordable tasting menu – with 4 courses at THB1290 ++.
Contrary to other restaurants that would moderate the flavours to adjust to foreigners’ palates, Le Du’s dishes are often bursting with flavours. For instance, the Pandan dessert that I had was served up with Shallot ice-cream. Honestly, I am not sure whether I enjoyed sweet dessert with savoury shallot flavour, but kudos to the young Chef who is willing to push the boundaries!
399/3 Silom soi7 Silom Bangrak Bangkok
#4: Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
A sister restaurant of Kiin Kiin from Copenhagen by Henrik Yde Andersen, Sra Bua By Kiin Kiin is renown for their Thai molecular gastronomy cuisine. Set in the swanky, Siam Kempinsky Hotel, I was impressed by the set up of this hotel restaurant which resembled an exquisite Thai house complete with a lotus pond.
I was at the restaurant for an early lunch and partly because there was not much a crowd at the restaurant, the waiting staff were very attentive and patient.
If you were to look at what I had from the lunch menu, you may be wondering why these dishes are considered “molecular”. I believe the dinner menu from the restaurant is more extensive. As for lunch, my braised pork dish was an exquisite version of the local braised meat rice served on the streets!
The Banana Cake desert is their signature and I really like the symphony of sweet flavours from the caramel, coconut and cake, together with the slightly salted ice-cream. You can’t help but be in awe of the presentation too – it must have been a challenge to plate the dessert on a log!
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
Siam Kempinski Hotel – Rama 1 Road 991/1, Pathumwan, 10330, Bangkok
#5: Eat Me
If you are looking for a casual Western meal in a trendy restaurant, Eat Me would probably hit the right notes. One of Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants, Eat Me is set in a white house tucked in a little street named Soi Pipat 2 near Silom. The interior is very industrial chic and this establishment is also an art gallery, showcasing different contemporary art pieces regularly.
The restaurant has an extensive menu – you could go for a traditional Western fare, or a Asian-inspired dish (like “Indian Kedgeree rice with smoked cod, smoked ocean trout, tiger prawn and quails egg””).
If you are in Bangkok, and decided that go beyond Thai or Thai-fusion meals, do consider Eat Me for its delicious offerings and chill-out ambiance.
Soi Piphat 2 (just down Convent road) Silom, Bangkok