A hidden gem
Nestled inside a Bangkok suburb, Sooooo Goood Gourmet is serving up premium Western food
This week’s subject of review, Sooooo Goood Gourmet, has been flourishing since it humbly opened a little over a year ago.
This is the result of its quality cuisine, which was well worth the drive out of town for my first visit there last week.
The restaurant is set in a nondescript two-storey commercial building in a soi off Bang Na-Trat Km7 in the suburban Bang Kaew district.
Unless you are regular or live in the area, you wouldn’t know this neighbourhood is frequented by people with spending power. The soi is home to two big schools, one of which is an A-list international school, a golf course and a number of upscale housing projects. What it was lacking, according to Sooooo Goood, was an eatery serving Western-style fine food.
Risotto with Hokkaido scallop and Alba black truffle.
However, filling this gap at the right time is not the main reason for its success.
The restaurant, which does not have any interior theme or fancy decor, is an open-kitchen concept and a new venture of Gourmet One, one of Thailand’s leading fine food suppliers.
It was set up as a hang-out place offering good meals to parents of school children who can also sample gourmet products — mostly seasonings and ready-to-cook items.
Because of the decade-long camaraderie that the company has had with 5-star hotel chefs, the kitchen here is an atelier of international cooking masters who take turns to entertain diners.
Black-ink paella with tiger prawn, octopus and Hokkaido scallops.
The culinary team is led by head chef Jose Martin Ruiz Borja, who is a former executive chef of Renaissance Hotel Bangkok.
The menu features favourite European dishes prepared with prime seasonal ingredients imported from Europe, USA and Japan.
My lunch started with a complimentary amuse-bouche of Spanish potato salad crostini. Despite its rather bland appearance, it was deliciously subtle and addictive.
The day I visited, Gillardeau French oyster no.2 (185 baht) was one of the highlight seasonal offerings.
The large, voluptuous and succulent oysters together with condiments of green apple mignonette and Thai spicy seafood sauce proved first-rate.
Chef Jose’s special tapas board of the day (950 baht) was the next item to impress.
Australian Wagyu beef Wellington.
It features the finest grade of Iberico de bellota ham; Iberico chorizo sausage; black truffle salami; foie gras terrine made in house with Rougie duck liver, caramelised green apples and Sauternes dessert wine; Iberico ham croquettes; deep-fried Padrón peppers; and rustic black olive bread.
It’s a sublime exhibition of various colours, textures and tastes, each of which contrasts.
Winter black truffle from Alba, Italy, is another celebrated ingredient of the season.
A super ambrosial dish of risotto with Hokkaido scallop and Alba black truffle (1,090 baht), which came next, showcased al dente Italian rice slowly-cooked in mushroom stock which was dotted with large, supple and sweet whole Japanese scallops.
The fresh truffle was generously shaved before us as if to blanket the whole dish. This is not done just for fragrance but your taste buds also know it’s premium fresh truffle because it had a sweet hazelnut taste and soft chew.
Chef Jose, whom I’ve known since 2011, is treasured by Bangkok’s gastronomes for his paella.
In Sooooo Goood’s menu, there’s a section specially dedicated to this Spanish pan-cooked rice dish.
You can have your paella with Hokkaido scallops, Rougie foie gras, Spanish octopus, or mixed seafood. It can be ordered individually (600-950 baht per dish) or in a large paella pan for sharing (3,500 baht). The dish requires 25 minutes to cook.
My order of black squid-ink paella with tiger prawns, octopus and scallops (750 baht) lived up to chef Jose’s long-established glory.
Every element in the glossy black and reddish-gold dish, from a springily soft tentacle of giant octopus and crunchy whole tiger prawn to paella rice lusciously coated with briny squid-ink, was evidence of superior cooking.
Should you be a connoisseur of steak, you can bank on the restaurant’s grill menu which is represented by some of the best cuts in the market.
The current selection features Angus rib-eye from Australia’s leading beef producers, Beef City Black and Stockyard; Wagyu striploin MB 4/5 and Wagyu tenderloin from Westholme, a top Wagyu cattle breeder in Queensland; as well as young Australian Ambassador lamb chops and Surf & Turf platter of Wagyu tenderloin and Canadian lobster. Prices range from 975 baht to 2,450 baht per dish.
Because most customers here are regulars, they usually trust the chef to offer them the best available items of the day.
The specials may range from pan-seared scallops with artichoke puree and Granny Smith apple; red Alaskan king crab with spaghetti and lobster sauce; braised lamb shank with saffron risotto; Boston lobster thermidor; to Australian Wagyu tenderloin beef Wellington.
The latter (1,850 baht), featured MB4/5 Wagyu, cooked medium to exhibit a nice pink hue and perfect succulence, in buttery golden puff pastry dressed with beef jus-red wine sauce.
Dessert options are limited to imported French macarons (55 baht each); poached pear in red wine served with Guanaja chocolate mousse (220 baht); and tiramisu of the day (200 baht).
Chef Jose’s rendition of tiramisu with Tahitian vanilla sauce and raspberry coulis was delicious.
Although the cuisine here is top-tier quality, I didn’t expect the service to be anything more than an average neighbourhood eatery.
Hence I was surprised by the 5-star hotel service of the staff. They were, to some degree, knowledgeable, attentive and kept our glasses full at all times.
For customers who visit Sooooo Goood Gourmet, dining there is a win-win deal.
- Sooooo Goood Gourmet
- 29/31-32 Soi Rat Winit Bang Kaew
- Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan
- Call 02-130-5100
- Open daily 11am-9pm
- Park on the premises
- Most credit cards accepted