Rooted in tradition
German-inspired Keller offers contemporary European cuisine with a touch of Asian influence
When Keller first opened its door in January 2020, it was a phenomenal success. Just through word of mouth, especially by Bangkok's discerning gourmands, the 26-seater enjoyed bustling business and a long waiting list, until Covid-19 hit.
However, the pandemic -- which finally helped me get a reservation -- has not curtailed Keller's culinary dexterity, helping it secure its well-deserved reputation.
Mirco Keller, the man of the house, calls himself a cook, introvert and hardworking, rather than a "superstar chef" as many perceive him to be.
"For me, cooking is never a competition [nor a show]. I cook so that I can delight people and connect with them. At the end of the day, I just want to be thought of as a good cook," the German said.
Keller landed in Thailand in 2010 for a four-week holiday stopover from his hometown of Berlin and never left.
Following his gut instinct, he discarded his ticket to the next destination where he originally planned to settle. What he had with him at that time was nothing but audacious optimism, obsession with cooking and a great portfolio.
The kinmedai fish with lemon gel and brandade in vin jaune sauce.
Keller's culinary background includes years of highly-committed training and a decade under the mentorship of German Michelin-starred cooking wizard Tim Raue. He also worked at a number of 5-star restaurants in Germany, including Restaurant 44 at Swissotel Berlin and Restaurant Uma at the Adlon Kempinski Berlin.
In Thailand's capital city, where he did not know the culture or the language, he got himself an executive chef stint at Water Library Chamchuri where he stayed for eight years.
But it is only at Keller, his namesake fine dining restaurant, that diners can find all the years of his profound know-how and boundless creativity come freely together.
Keller labels his cuisine as contemporary European.
It's a meticulous representation of dishes rooted in European gastronomic traditions and built on a foundation of classic cooking techniques, yet presented with modern-day finesse and a pleasantly surprising touch.
German chef-patron Mirco Keller.
The fine dining experience here can be enjoyed in the form of a la carte and multi-course menus.
The latter, which I highly recommend especially if you are a first-timer, is a well-curated meal built on signature and best-selling dishes as well as the season's best ingredients.
There are two options for the tasting menu: the seven-course Keller Classic (3,700 baht) and the nine-course Keller Journey (4,900 baht).
I found the two were different not just by the length but also by flavour profiles.
While Classic leans towards the comforting taste of traditional German recipes, Journey encompasses more global elements and tastes, with Asian-styled piquancy. Both options are lovely and promise utmost satisfaction to those who choose them.
In fact, my dinner at Keller was one of the most impeccable meals I've had in years.
The silky fish mousse with Japanese hamachi, trout roe and lemon vinaigrette accompanied by prawn chips.
Reflecting the chef's passion and drive for perfection, every dish proved divine to the eyes and taste buds, so much so that one of my dining companions said: "The restaurant deserves a star."
The Classic menu starts off with the ultimate German comfort food of Berliner senfei, or Berlin mustard egg.
Inspired by a childhood favourite cooked by his mother, it's a very warm and soothing dish of egg, potatoes and frothy mustard sauce with soft thin slices of cured beetroot to lend a tangy-sweet balance and Oscietra caviar to give a luxurious briny finish.
It is followed by a set of piping hot mushroom cappuccino accompanied by a homemade bun, hijiki seaweed butter and delicious chicken liver pate.
The third course is a choice of fish mousse or beef tartare. Again, you will not regret either choice.
The obsiblue prawn with tomato, Oscietra caviar and buttermilk-wasabi dressing.
The fish mousse, featuring a silky custard-like mousse topped with diced Japanese hamachi, pop-in-the mouth trout roe, lemon vinaigrette pearls and dill florets, was addictive and deserves every reason not to be missed.
Meanwhile, beef tartare seasoned with charred eggplant, bell pepper Hollandaise and caper and accompanied by housemade sourdough offers beef connoisseurs second-to-none palate ecstasy.
Reistopf, which came next, is another dish I would visit again for.
This casserole dish of well-rounded flavours features top-grade Japanese rice with a generous portion of blue crab, veal sweetbread and shiitake mushroom duxelle in buttery mussel beurre blanc sauce.
For your fifth course, choose Japanese kinmedai -- trust me.
A perfectly pan-seared filet of golden eye snapper from Japan is served on a bed of scrumptious brandade with lemon gel in a buttery vin jaune yellow wine sauce.
The Margaret River Wagyu beef ribeye with potato, mustard seeds and rôti sauce.
Diners going for the nine-course Journey can expect to be delighted by a line-up of contemporary European creations with a multi-layered Asian influence.
They include Ora King salmon with dashi, honey-yuzu dressing; a duet of duck and pumpkin with Banyals vinegar and passion fruit; obsiblue prawn with tomato, Oscietra caviar and buttermilk-wasabi dressing; white pasta with Brittany scallop and cuttlefish in laksa broth; and Margaret River Wagyu beef ribeye with potato, mustard seeds and rôti sauce.
For a sweet ending, guests can choose from the restaurant's three-item dessert selection.
There is chocolate ganache with white chocolate soy ice cream, brownie and passion fruit; a guava ice cream with nougat, coconut, yoghurt and aloe vera; and soft meringue with saffron milk ice cream, apricot coulis, raspberries and chocolate crumbles. All were heavenly although my personal favourite was the chocolate ganache, accompanied by warm hazelnut milk.
To complement the meal, a four glass wine pairing costs 2,150 baht while a mocktail pairing costs 890 baht. Keller's mocktails, which I had, are as praiseworthy as its food and desserts.
The restaurant is located in a revamped residential manor turned exclusive dining complex called Baan Turtle. There's a private room available for up to 14 guests. Reservations are a must.
The beef tartare with charred eggplant and bell pepper Hollandaise accompanied by housemade sourdough.
The chocolate ganache with white chocolate soy ice cream, brownie and warm hazelnut milk.
- 31 Suan Phlu Soi 2
- Call 02-092-7196 or 064-839-5563
- Open for dinner, 5.30-9pm, Wednesday to Monday
- Park on the premises