Hot new restaurants making waves in Bangkok
A guide to the hottest new restaurants and bars in Bangkok.
IF YOU’RE IN BANGKOK and have already made the pilgrimage to your favourite tom yum and pad Thai joints, you might wanna check out these bright new stars of the city’s food scene.
Gaa Fine dining from Gaggan’s former sous chef
An abandoned building that’s been sitting opposite Gaggan for years has been taken over by the restaurant’s former sous chef and transformed into Gaa, a fine dining destination that’s poised to take Bangkok’s food scene by storm.
Helming the kitchen is Garima Arora, a Mumbaihailing journalist-turned- chef who earned her cooking chops at Copenhagen’s Noma before landing a spot in Gaggan’s kitchen. In a homey dining room, Arora serves eight- ($73) and 12-course ($97) meals that alchemise local organic ingredients into an eclectic mix of international flavours.
A meal usually starts off with an enticing starter like grilled young corn husk brushed with chilli and paired with an addictive corn emulsion, before moving on to more substantial fare such as pork ribs brined in ‘piso’ (split-pea miso). This dish, which plays up intense flavours against mild textures, is topped with a colourful combo of shallots, spring onions and pomegranate. à 68/4 Soi Langsuan, Pathumwan (+66 91 419 2424). Daily 6-10pm.
Ba Hao Chinese-themed watering hole
While most of the Orient-inspired bars in Bangkok can boast amazing interiors, their kitchens don’t exactly issue out decent bar chow. And this is where Ba Hao, Soi Nana’s newest Chinese-themed joint, pleads a difference.
Co-owner Tikhamporn Chuenkittivoravat, equipped with culinary training from Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, has helped put together a wellcurated food menu featuring Chinese-style street eats meant to be paired with booze. Start out with the cold tofu ($6.40) that’s immersed in a soup of herbal soya sauce, hoisin, and spicy sesame oil. Then move on to the duck dumplings ($8.80), fulfilling little pockets filled with shredded duck and served with a gingery sweet and sour sauce.
The bar offers a selection of craft beer in bottles and on tap. Mixologists from other acclaimed spots in Bangkok have helped out with the drinks list, creating Chinese-inspired concoctions with names like Forbidden Gold (Tsingtao beer with peach liquor and lime juice, and a Negroni (both $11.60) that’s given an Oriental twist with ginseng and a Chinese energy drink. à 8 Soi Nana, Yaowarat (+66 81 454 4959). Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight.
Gaa is a fine dining destination that’s poised to take Bangkok’s food scene by storm
Sushi Zo Bangkok outpost of Michelinstarred LA sushi joint
After conquering the US and earning a Michelin star (for its Los Angeles outlet) in the process, Sushi Zo is set to raise the bar in Bangkok’s fine dining scene with its first Asian outpost.
Unlike the more popular edomae style, Sushi Zo focuses on different kinds of ponzu and soya sauce to marinate the fish. The outcome is an interplay of contrasting sweet and sour notes that doesn’t overpower the fish, which are flown in daily from Japan.
About 22 pieces of the freshest nigiri and sashimi are rolled out throughout the two-hour-long course. Our visit kicks off with an impressive sashimi platter of Hokkaido oysters drenched in tangy-sweet ponzu sauce, scattered pieces of cornetfish, bluefin tuna and sweet shrimp. The akami tuna is melt-in-yourmouth delicious, with a slight tanginess coming from the nikiri soya sauce. And the ankimo, or monk fish liver, served lukewarm, delivers a sumptuous creaminess.
Prices average around $283, depending on the catches of the day. And reservations, made at least a month in advance, are highly recommended.
à 63 Wireless Rd, Athenee Tower (facebook. com/sushizothailand, +66 2 168 8490). Tue-Sun 6.15-7.45pm, 8-9.30pm.
Sri Trat Cuisine from Thailand’s east coast
For most Thai folks, Trat, a small province on the eastern seaboard, is of little significance. But for foodies, the region is home to one of the most delightful cuisines in the country, thanks to its abundance of seafood, fresh fruits and rare herbs. Hoping to put some of the province’s signature dishes on the food map, Trat native Wongwich Sripinyoo, opened this restaurant that also pays tribute to the two of his loves: his hometown and his mother.
The menu carries items that follow old family recipes and combine an array of fresh ingredients (some of them grown on-site). It includes staple dishes from Trat, like pork curry with chamuang leaves ($9), and barracuda pieces tossed in vinegar and served ceviche style ($9). The fish is paired with a dipping sauce made of caramelised peanuts.
If you’d like to end the meal on a sweet note, don’t miss the dessert platter ($14.10), which features Sri Trat signatures like khao krieb pak mor dieng, a rare treat stuffed with coconut and green beans, and bua loy haeng, a sweet, mochi-like dumpling dipped in aromatic coconut sauce. à 90 Sukhumvit 33 (+66 2 088 0968). Mon & Wed-Sun noon-3pm, 6-11pm.
Pork ribs brined in ‘piso’ from Gaa