As Bangkok’s diverse dining scene gradually comes back to life, many restaurants have reopened with dramatically reworked menu offerings and other surprises.
Like hibernating bears awakening after a winter’s sleep, fine dining restaurants in Bangkok are coming back to life slowly but surely. And while many have taken the cautious route, returning to the fray exactly as they were when they left it, a brave few have jumped back into the game with bold new menu concepts and other surprises, in an effort to lure in hungry locals looking for intriguing new dining experiences.
After enduring a three-month hiatus due to the citywide lockdown, the one Michelin-starred Saawaan restaurant reopened their doors earlier this month with a brand-new, multi-course tasting menu. Chef de Cuisine Sujira “Aom” Pongmorn and Chef Pâtissière Arisara “Paper” Chongphanitkul still take inspiration from Thailand’s rich street food culture and varied regional cuisine, and this new menu shines the spotlight on premium local produce such as barracuda from Ranong province and quail from Nakhon Pathom. The session starts off raw, with prawn and cucumber in a coconut dressing, followed by a stir-fried dish made with frog leg, ginger and holy basil. The savoury portion of the menu includes a rich Massaman curry with local beef tongue, grapes and roti, while the meal’s sweet finale makes use of Thai chocolate, incorporating varieties from Chantaburi, Chumpon and Chiang Mai in a choux, a crémeux, and an ice cream. The new menu is accompanied by a specially curated wine pairing featuring a selection of grape varietals from both Old and New World wine regions, or diners can opt for a unique tea pairing, showcasing premium wild teas from northern Thailand.
Address: 39/19 Soi Suanplu, S Sathon Rd.
Phone: 0 2679 3775
The newly unveiled ‘Pizza Romana’ menu at the Pizza Massilia branch on Soi Ruamrudee is something the team has been working on since late last year, but only launched recently because of the intervening coronavirus lockdown. Pizza Romana is a style of pizza preparation that originated in Rome, obviously, in which the dough is left to rise for 36-40 hours. When cooked in an oven at high heat (about 330°) the micro-holes in the crust result in a pizza that’s light and crispy, while the use of sunflower gives them a subtly unique flavour. The menu “officially” has four Romana pizzas to choose from, starting with the Pizza Mortazza, which uses Mortadella Pistachio from Bologna. Here the meat is sandwiched between two crispy crusts, which taste even better when dipped in a bit of olive oil between each bite. The Scarola & Alici features mozzarella, escarole (endive), anchovies, and black olives, making it strong and salty, while the Pancetta Porchettata & Friarielli, featuring tasty turnip tops amidst a profusion of pork, is the choice for meat lovers. Finally, the Carbonara pizza, with crispy pancetta and egg yolk, tastes exactly like what its name suggests (and it’s amazing!) while the off-the-menu Cacio e Pepe pizza, made with pecorino romano cheese and garnished with fresh cracked pepper, is thoroughly addictive and well worth asking for.
Address: 15/1 Soi Ruamrudee Community, Pathum Wan District
Phone: 09 4552 2025
Indian celebrity chef Hari Nayak is the face behind JHOL restaurant, which opened its doors shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic and was forced to temporarily shut them not long after. But as of July 15th the restaurant is open once again, which is great news for anyone intent on exploring the myriad of flavours true gourmet Indian food can deliver. Now serving lunch and dinner, with an updated menu designed to showcase coastal Indian cuisine and Indian comfort food, look for favourites old and new such as the jackfruit mini appam, meen kulambo, mysore chicken biryani, passion fruit pani puri, stuffed chicken wings kundapur sukka, and sol kadi ceviche (local sea bass with kokum local fruit and crispy ginger), plus mango kulfi for dessert. In addition, a slew of signature bar concoctions have been carefully crafted to complement the diverse food menu. Also, keep in mind that JHOL has an excellent delivery food menu available as well.
Address: 7/2 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey
Phone: 0 2004 7174
Bangkok’s neo-Indian urban farm and restaurant Haoma spent the majority of the lockdown period cooking approximately 27,000 meals for people in need – it was even covered in the New York Times – but since June they’ve been getting back to regular operations. Recent additions to the à la carte menu include Malai broccoli and chicken Nilgiri korma, but most diners are still being lured by the seasonal 10-course tasting menus, which are offered in plant-based (entirely vegan), and meat/seafood varieties. The new tasting menus are 100 percent local produce, as per usual, but this time chef DK and his team take diners on a journey from southern India, where the chef found his life’s true calling, to the North and the area around his own hometown. All the herbs and edible flowers used are grown in the restaurant’s own urban farm, and to accompany meals sommelier Vishvas Sedana has a long list of biodynamic wines to choose from for pairing.
Address: 231/3 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana
Phone: 0 2258 4744
When chef Jutamas “Som” Theantae dramatically opened Karmakamet Conveyance towards the end of 2019, her creatively far-reaching tasting menu turned a lot of heads with its sheer inventiveness. At this intimate 24-seat, 2nd floor dining space the savouring of her dishes is meant to be like a form of experiencing art, which is why the parade of courses are given only enigmatic explanations on the menu, and why they are best appreciated without preconceived notions. And while all the items that make up the 10-course meal are bite-size masterstrokes of culinary creativity – many of them artistically reimagined variations on Thai traditional fare – it is perhaps the Indian-inspired dishes, which reflect the chef’s years spent studying in India, that stand out as the most memorable (in particular the lamb chop grilled with Sienna spice and served with biryani and green chutney, which is like a condensed taste of India on a plate). At the moment Chef Som is actively preparing a bold new menu, but in the meantime diners can – until July 31st – experienced the refined version of her 10-course tasting experience for just THB 1,900.
Address: 1, 1/1 Soi Sukhumvit 49, Klongton-Nua, Wattana
Phone: 0 2004 3997
The House on Sathorn, a 130-year-old national heritage landmark, recently announced the reopening of its signature restaurant Paii, where Executive Chef Joe Weeraket and his team specialize in modern Thai seafood dishes prepared with freshest local and imported ingredients. The menu still features the tastes loyal customers have come to crave, such as giant river prawn, char-grilled and served with choo chee curry sauce, French razor clams flambéed table-side with house-made XO sauce, French turbot stuffed with lemongrass, shallots and kaffir lime leaves, giant crab fried rice and, of course, fresh lobster. What’s new, however, is that Paii has unveiled its new two-level dining room for the first time, inviting you to come and discover the hidden 2nd floor of The House on Sathorn at the W Bangkok hotel.
Address: W Bangkok Hotel, 106 N Sathon Rd, Silom, Bang Rak
Phone: 0 2344 4025