Old places, new menus

Old places, new menus

Seasons change and with it ingredients at these restaurants

Old places, new menus

Bored of eating the same thing twice? Fear no more, here's a list of restaurants that have shuffled things up to make sure you're never bored or short of choices while dining out.

Adhoc BKK

Under the helm of chef de cuisine Pitchakorn “Pop” Ramabut for the last two years, Adhoc BKK is this gem that’s tucked into a residential alley off Sukhumvit 39. 

Chef’s Pop’s latest menu focuses on local ingredients, which highlight the farmers, fishermen and butchers, while retaining an authentic Thai taste in her modern dishes. “Though I am born and brought up in Bangkok, my mother comes from the South, while my dad comes from the North. I, however, am more interested in Isan or Northeastern cuisine,” says the chef. 

And, this is apparent in the newest menu, which veers more towards the spicy side of Thai cuisine, as this is the food the chef prefers. Expect dishes like Tap river prawn with egg tofu and Hua Hin caviar in a Sam Kler soup. The “three companions” soup is made with coriander roots, garlic and black pepper and is insanely good, despite the spice quotient. 

“When you’re in a fine dining restaurant, the hardest thing for me is the thought process for each dish, especially when you’re trying to twist Thai dishes. It has to retain the same feeling of comfort for those who eat Thai food regularly. I cannot change the way, for example, yellow curry is made, but if I do so I have to make sure the same familiar flavours are retained. I do not push the dishes too far,” says chef Pop. 

This same thought process goes into sourcing thee ingredients for Adhoc. The coconut flower sugar for the menu is sourced from Samut Songkhram from Khun Kae and Uncle Lek, custodians of the tradition of processing the sugar. The goby is from fishermen in Chachoengsao. It is slow-cooked using fragrant longan wood and is served with house-made buns, Thai tabasco, pak Paew (a traditional Thai herb) and coconut vinegar achar or assorted pickles. 

Adhoc’s signature ice cream is drizzled with charcoal powder from burned coconut husk, giving it a unique taste, texture, and colour. Served with black leum pua sticky rice or the famous “forget husband” rice. Fun fact: The glutinous black rice was given its humorous name 33 years ago by researchers who found it being grown by Hmong hilltribes in Baan Ruam Thai Pattana village, Tak province.

“The one thing I will not do is if a dish is spicy I will not change it to not be something that isn’t spicy. It will loose its essence. At Adhoc, we are trying to find the right balance of sustainability while being relevant and giving the diner the correct knowledge of the dishes we serve. We want them to have a good meal at the end of the evening,” says chef Pop. 

Lahnyai Nusara

Lahnyai Nusara, under the umbrella of chef Thitid “Ton”Tassanakajohn, honours the traditions of the royal families, staying true to recipes found in cremation cookbooks of princesses from 1987 to 1992, while making them relevant to the present day. 

Head chef Dimitrios Moudios says that he chooses the recipes that he finds appealing, “since the focus of royal meals was samrub-style”. “We start the menu with two rounds of snacks, the first one inspired by two ‘curries’, more pungent in flavour for diners to get the idea of traditional Thai food. The second round of snacks consists of three dishes with the main taste being sour. Different sour components in each dish, green mango, lime and tamarind, showcase the different perceptions of sour in Thai food,” says chef Moudios. 

The menu then begins like a Western would. Begin with a cold appetiser of beef tartare, larb and caviar, which turns the wheel of time (pun intended). The next dish focuses on the spicy and zesty flavour of the kaffir lime in a relish, followed by a noodle dish with nuts and truffle. 

“Before the main course, I have chosen to serve my signature dish, which is also my favourite, massaman,” says the head chef. Though he says the dish never changes on the menu, it has a lot more flavour and is not as sweet as the previous version in the earlier menu. 

The main course is served in samrub-style, which is the traditional Thai way, and the dishes includes two types of rice, a spicy red curry, a stir-fried dish, a seafood salad and a  nam prik or relish. “For the nam prik, I have chosen to serve it on top of a specific piece of fish or vegetable, so it is apparent that a relish isn’t just served with random vegetables,” explains chef Moudios.

The desserts, though modern, are still very traditional with the use of fried shrimp and shallots. The petite four trolley is a new addition to Lahnyai Nusara and gives diners an option to choose, and choices, in my opinion, are always a good thing. 

Den Kushi Flori

My new favourite in Bangkok's ever expanding Japanese food scene, Den Kushi Flori has launched its Winter Menu, under the helm of chef Susumu Shimiz, who has a knack of mixing Thai and Japanese cuisines to create dishes that are worth going back for. 

A product of famous Japanese chefs, Zaiyu Hasegawa of Tokyo kaiseki restaurant, Den, and Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilège in Tokyo, Den Kushi Flori's cuisine has a distinct character, blending French cuisine with the essence of Japan and Thailand in innovative style. The restaurant, a combination of the names of both chefs’ restaurants, first opened in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Dishes for this season at the Bangkok branch includes Terrine de légumes topped with ikura, dashi and wasabi; Shrimp ball with tom kha gai soup; Duck meat ball and duck breast kushi with bok choy and foie gras sauce; Clay pot rice with mix vegetable and beef tongue; Soy milk pudding and charred scallop with daikon sauce and top with truffle; and Steamed abalone with apple vinegar cream sauce, pumpkin and potato tempura. Dessert being a choice of Caramel pudding or Daifuku mochi. Den Kushi Flori is open for lunch and dinner.

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