When twins Thomas and Mathias set off to create Sühring in Bangkok some three years ago, their vision was clear. Seated in the sun-flushed dining room of their charming restaurant, the soft-spoken and amiable brothers decided they were going to serve contemporary German food – a concept never heard of before in the city. “We wanted to present our culinary heritage in a contemporary way. We wanted to elevate German food to where other cuisines such as Nordic, French and Japanese are in the
world”, says Thomas.
Mathias continues, “We want to show people that German food is more than pork knuckle, sauerkraut, sausages, etc. Whether it’s Japan or the US, we’ve noticed that whenever you ask for a German restaurant, you always find yourself in an Oktober Fest-style beer house. Bavarian food is, of course, part of our heritage, but we believe we have much more to offer than just that little part of the country… we want to show the whole spectrum of German food, and that is what we are trying to do here at Sühring.”
Within the confines of the remodelled, tree-hugged 1970s villa in Yennakart, is a place where the brothers are doing just that – creating modern German fare inspired by their childhood memories, family recipes and their extensive travel experiences in Europe and Asia. Thomas elaborates, “Everything we serve here is based on what we know… our grandparents, our parents, growing up in Germany, our travel experiences and our knowledge and training in how to treat the products – all of this is reflected in the menu we serve every day.”
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For Thomas and Mathias, storytelling is an important aspect of what they do at the restaurant. It is evident with every dish served from their set menu; three “chapters” which include starters, mains and desserts.
Chapter One begins with an assortment of bites; bits and pieces inspired from offerings served at traditional beer gardens and also dishes the boys grew up with. We start with warm pretzel and Obatzda, a traditional Bavarian cheese dip made from aged camembert, seasoned with sweet paprika and accompanied by a shot of Radler beer. Potato’s nest with char caviar comes next and takes us by surprise as it is not on the menu. The light and crispy potato basket is filled with generous amounts of char caviar; a delicate and balanced dish with a smoky nuance.
A chicken salad promptly follows in the form of a tartlet filled with chicken marinated with sour cream, mushroom and onions, and topped with butterhead lettuce, and Italian white truffle. It is strongly recommended that you consume it all in one bite, so the juicy explosion takes place on your palate and not your attire. After a quick palate cleanser of cucumber juice and parsley oil, we’re served Aal grün – smoked eel dumplings wrapped in grilled eel on a slice of whole grain bread. It’s a simple yet beautiful presentation where we see a kind of culinary finesse never experienced before with German cuisine.
Creativity continues with beef and shrimp, where a crispy roll is filled with beef tartare, resting on shrimp mayonnaise topped with tiny deep-fried shrimps. The juxtaposition of flavours of both the meat and seafood is appeasing on all fronts. For the last starter, we are served a vinegar drink comprised of grape, apricot and honey enjoyed with Enleta, a classic German waffle; only here, filled with duck pâté and arriving in packaging that makes you think its store-bought. The sweet and savoury flavours, coupled with the tartness of the drink are so unexpected, and easily one of my favourites from this course.
Through “Chapter Two”, the twins showcase their artistry through dishes that combine the essence of traditional German fare with influences from other European countries. With Brathering and tomato, we sample pickled herring with heirloom tomato salad and a spiced tomato paste. The Brotzeit with cured salmon and Crayfish with Pumpkin rye sourdough bread pairs fantastically with horseradish dip and butter, and pickled cucumbers.
Further into this course we get to try some truly imaginative dishes, such as locally-sourced crayfish with pumpkin and chestnut topped with a sauce made from one part crayfish butter and one part pumpkin seed oil; cedar-smoked Sturgeon resting above egg white, caviar, Riesling foam and chive cream; and finally, Wagyu sirloin with asparagus and ramsons, a type of wild garlic. My first reaction to this stellar dish was at the fact how easily my Nesmuk knife cuts through the beautiful meat. In the mouth, it disintegrates in just a few seconds, leaving the only the juices running rampant on the palate.
The stories that the brothers have shared with me of growing up in Berlin now culminate in “Chapter Three”. The maître d’ hands me a diary with handwritten recipes, a book given to the boys by their grandparents before they left Germany many years ago. Even though it’s all in a foreign language I cannot understand, I can see how deeply connected they are to their culture and their roots, and how this has shaped their culinary trajectory.
In this four-part course, we are introduced to one such recipe, Omas Eierlikör. An egg yolk liquor served with vanilla cream tart and blueberries – I suppose if I would have to describe it, it would taste slightly similar to Irish Chicken Salad cream liquor but with a homemade feel to it. One sip and you can almost taste the emotion that goes into making it.
Mathias explains: “The journey that led us here is also an emotional experience. We grew up with this food, but when we decided to become professional chefs, French haute cuisine was always the basis of cooking at most Michelin-star restaurants. In all of our career, we never had the chance to cook the food we had grown up with – it was always food from another country or influence. When we decided to open our own restaurant, we wanted to represent Germany in our way of cooking. At first, we were thinking it won’t work because people won’t like German food. And today all those fears are gone. Now, we are happy. I remember when we started cooking and trying those dishes before we opened the restaurant, we felt a very emotional connection with the food, the taste… it wasn’t easy, but we were comfortable with it. After three years, people appreciate what we are trying to do here – the taste, the atmosphere, and that is the motivation for us to continue what we are doing.”
Sühring is open seven days of the week, offering an a la carte menu from Monday to Thursday; set menu from Friday to Sunday and open for lunch only on weekends. The set menu is priced at 4,400 Baht ++ with an additional 3,000 Baht ++ for wine pairing. restaurantsuhring.com