Modern Thai seafood in a historic mansion

Modern Thai seafood in a historic mansion

Paii Bangkok unveils 'Paii The Experience'

Modern Thai seafood in a historic mansion

There a few heritage buildings in Bangkok that evoke the grandeur and splendour of yesteryear.

Thai restaurant Paii is housed in a 130-year-old mansion that is known as The House On Sathorn. An ode to Thai seafood. Paii, which means "to paddle”, is a casual dining space showcasing the best of local and imported seafood. 

To make it easier for diners to navigate the rather extensive menu, executive chef Weeraket "Joe" Nilayon, a Bangkok native, has introduced “Paii The Experience”. The tasting menu brings together dishes from all over the country, with modern twists. “Our focus is not local but on homemade. Our curries, chilli jams and sauces are all made in-house, fresh daily. Even the seafood is the freshest with the river and tiger prawns, and crab being locally sourced and our oysters and clams being imported,” explains chef Joe. 

While you wait for your meal to be served, prawn and rice crackers are placed on the table for you to whet your appetite. Though the star of this simple dish is the freshly-made nam phrik or chilli relish. It is so fresh that it comes from the nam phrik station five feet away. Nothing to awaken the palate like a good hit of spice. If they sold this in bottle, I would be taking away a few, it is that good!

There is nothing like starting a meal with oysters and if they are Monsieur Jean-Paul, even better! These come in fresh from Utah Beach in France where Jean Paul Guernier is an oyster farmer in the Bay of Veys, a wide estuary where four rivers flow to irrigate the Marais du Cotentin national park and the Bessin river, and where the oysters grow naturally in the deep sea. At Paii, chef Joe pairs the Hoy nang rom sod with  Paii’s chilli jam and nam jim.

The Hoy lord pad sauce XO is a restaurant signature and uses French razor clams doused in homemade XO sauce. The clams are flambéed table-side with Mekhong blended spirit. Putting on as much a show as the flambé is the XO sauce, which is spicy and gets a good lashing of the spirit, and, perhaps to some, is the only time Mekhong will taste this good. "Our homemade XO sauce uses dried scallop, squid and shrimp and Yunnan ham. The scallop is cooked in Chinese wine before other ingredients are added. Mekhong is very Thai and when people think of Thai whisky, they think of Mekhong. So I decided to use it," says chef Joe.

The last of the starters is the Yum hua plee nuea pu, which is banana blossom spicy salad. Mud crab is tossed with banana blossom and Paii's chilli jam and lemongrass. Delish!

The main course is served in classic samrub-style but for a single diner. So each diner gets their own set of dishes. Expect Choo-chew goong lobster, which uses Maine lobster. There is the Hoy shell pad phong kari, which as Hokkaido scallops stir-friend in yellow curry powder. A favourite of mine!

The Pad kraprao moo grob comes with pieces of crispy pork atop the krapow and its so satisfying to bit into it and hear the crunch. The Kaalamplee ob nam pla or Clay pot-baked cabbage with fish sauce is a delightful blend of textures and aromatic flavours. I love a good burnt cabbage and this dish comes with crispy shallots on top for that something more. 

The star of the main course is another Pair signature — Khao pad pu. Organic Thai jasmine rice is tossed in a hot wok with organic egg. It is served with mud crab to bring you the deliciousness that is crab fried rice. What is most striking about this dish is that the crab comes piled high on the rice, instead of being fried with it. While rice experts may argue that the rice won't taste the same as when crab is thrown into the mix, I dare to differ.

Desserts are the restaurant’s signature of Thai tea-ramisu and the refreshing Lemongrass panna cotta — the perfect conclusion to this exceptional culinary journey.  Paii has indoor and outdoor dining options, as well as private dining spaces on the first floor, and is open daily for lunch and dinner.

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