Living up to its "Beyond Silk" tagline, Jim Thompson has evolved into a global lifestyle brand.
Besides fashion, home furnishings, an art centre and a mini-series plan based on Thomspon's eventful life and mysterious disappearance, Jim Thompson the brand unveiled its revamped food and beverage wing which shares the same precinct with Jim Thompson House Museum in Kasem San 2.
On top of Jim's Terrace and Silk Cafe, Jim Thompson House Museum is becoming a foodie playground with the addition of rebooted Jim Thompson, A Thai Restaurant and The OSS Bar.
Conceptualised by Next Hospitality Group and designed by HBA, this revitalised F&B concept pays homage to Thompson's legacy as a great host, who frequently welcomed writers, diplomats and celebrities to his residence. Seventy exclusive and unique Jim Thompson home furnishing fabrics class up the whole space while your eyes can't miss the Thai numerals that adorn the space, from the restaurant logo to the number five on the ceiling above your dining table. A stylish mingle between modern furnishings and subtle Thai clues if you will.
Through collaboration with local suppliers, the menu presents Thai food through the perspective of the namesake legend's love affair with Thai cuisine and the creative interpretation of executive chef Pepe Dasí Jiménez, formerly of Vilas. Prior to Thailand, he also worked at three- and two-star Michelin restaurants in Spain.
While I'm unsure of what purists may say of chef Jiméne's take on Thai dishes, I can confidently say that you would find surprising delights in his repertoire. Brioche toast with pickled pla tu perks up your palate with tomato nam prik and escalivada along with a hidden punch of pla ra from Udon Thani, while Mahachai pla tu is infused with olive oil for extra flavour.
Pad Thai, the touristy dish and rather overrated one in my opinion #unpopularopinion, has been transformed into Inky pad Thai, comprising deep-fried squid, tasty chorizo, zesty piparras and tender black squid ink noodles. Koh Lanta's crab is presented in the form of crepe-like cannelloni stuffed with lon relish of blue crab meat and roe, almost melting in your mouth.
Comfort food khai jeow is turned into Sabai sabai khai jeow, being dressed up with crispy potatoes, piparras, grilled spring onion, guanciale and crab meat. Not as laid-back as its name suggests, though.
Khorat grilled baby chicken.
Named A Tribute To Thai Muslim Weavers, the grilled sting ray with a southern Muslim curry is something more traditional and a nod to the Ban Krua community, the restaurant's neighbour on the opposite side of Saen Saep. The fish's very tender and fatty meat is complemented by the aromatic and intense flavour of the curry.
There's also a private room where a chef's table can be arranged, harkening back to Thompson hosting to many esteemed guests at his dining table. As you may be able to tell by now, chef Jiménez puts himself on the plates by way of influences from Spanish cuisine (he's from Valencia), as well as flairs from other Mediterranean countries. While I feel a few dishes get reinterpreted to a point that they should be referred to as "Thai-inspired" for the sake of authenticity, all the dishes of his that I've tried work well in my book.
The second part of the revamped F&B wing is The OSS Bar, located above the restaurant, inspired by the American World War II intelligence agency, Office Of Strategic Services. The hallway walls leading to the bar are adorned with memorabilia related to the legendary expat. Flip through the menu and you'll find that each drink is inspired by the life of Thompson.
This is where you can enjoy creative cocktails and mingle in stylish interiors or on a terrace overlooking the canal. Adjacent to the bar is the Moonlight Hall, which serves as an event space.
In short, both venues promise diverse experiences, from informal lunches by a koi pond for museum visitors, to a distinctive afternoon tea with views of the Jim Thompson house and garden to vibrant evenings of progressive Thai cuisine and wines.
The comeback of Jim Thompson's restaurant goes beyond a mere renovation as it reinforces the brand's aspiration to turn the Jim Thompson Heritage Quarter into a lifestyle destination. The renovation of its flagship store on Surawong Road is also in the pipeline.
Jim Thompson, A Thai Restaurant seats about 100 people and is only open for lunch for now. The OSS Bar is expected to open around the middle of this month. Visit jimthompsonrestaurant.com.