Old places, new menus
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Old places, new menus

Seasons change and with it ingredients at these restaurants

SOCIAL & LIFESTYLE
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.

Le Du

When Le Du was placed at the No.1 spot at the Asia’s 50 Best Awards 2023, it was the start of a whirlwind of a year for executive chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajoh. Not only was it the 10th anniversary of Le Du, chef Ton was also doing collabs all over the world. 

Le Du underwent a renovation, which was inspired by the name, which translates as “season” in Thai. The new design takes inspiration from the colours of the different seasons of rice fields. The ceiling is adorned with test tubes that contain the different colours of rice in each season, which are also a nod to chef Ton’s style of cooking — experimental. 

The new decor makes it seem like you’re entering a new restaurant. No trace of the former, and not even on the menu (save for the add-on of the signature Thai river prawn). The new menu is inspired by “Thai relish” and is a completely different take on the former Asia’s No.1. This menu reflects the travels of chef Ton in sophisticated ways, where he has seen, learnt and transformed the experiences into food.

“This is a new approach. I don’t want to reinvent Thai dishes, but to create new dishes based on Thai ingredients and have been inspired by the many Thai dishes. This is different to what I was doing before where it was my interpretation of Thai dishes,” says chef Ton.  

The Khao chae course is a dish that chef Ton created 10 years ago, when Le Du first opened. “This one is a summer dish since khao chae is a seasonal dish served only during the summer. We get the salted fish from Yala province in the South and shrimp is turned into a powder ball. The wild ginger, puree of pickled radish, peeled roasted chillies, shrimp paste and this is all served with an organic jasmine ice cream. This is how I have recreated the dish because rice is a big turnoff for the newer generation, who are not fans of khao chae. I am not a fan of khao chae but this is my version of the dish to make it more desirable and keep the dish alive,” explains the chef.

“We have tried to do something fun. I am lucky enough to have the freedom to create anything. It is hard to break away from the old way of thinking, from dishes that you have been cooking for 10 years. Now we have to go beyond modernising the dishes,” he says.

The restaurant’s extremely popular signature dish, which is the Tiger prawn is on the menu as a supplement. The new menu is so vastly different and original that the signature dish would not follow the flow of the current menu. 

After 10 years, a fresh take on seasons and I’m here for all of them.


Nikaku Bangkok 

Nikaku Bangkok, which opened its doors at the W Hotel last year, is the first branch of the 60-year-old sushi restaurant in Japan. 

Executive chef Setsuo Funahashi, is the third generation to run the restaurant, which he branded as Edomae Sushi Nikau, and has been serving the traditional Edomae style of sushi. The Bangkok branch is helmed by chef Koya Mukoo, who follows the ethos of the parent restaurant, which has  two Michelin stars. The ethos at Nikaku in Kitakyushu, is simple. Chef Funahashi believes that the freshness of fish is the cornerstone of the Edomae sushi tradition, which is why the fish is meticulously sourced from the Kanmon Straits and surrounding waters of Kyushu. The fish is flown in daily from Fukuoka to Bangkok.

The Edomae style of sushi was created 200 years ago in Edo, home to the Nihonbashi fish market. To savour the taste of the fish, the Edomae nigirizushi technique was invented. Nikaku Bangkok’s summer menu reflects the fish that are found during these months, using the "honte-gaeshi" method. Each fish is chosen by chef Funahashi daily. 

Since the daily supply of fish depends on what’s freshest in the market, the menu changes daily. Though, one of the best things about Nikaku is the Japanese tea pairing, made with mineral water from Japan.   

Apart from the quality of the fish, it’s the sushi rice that is also important. Here, the rice is made using the “anbai" technique, a term that refers to the balance of salt and vinegar. 

“Umami is very important in Edomae style of sushi,” says chef Funahashi. “It is important to note that rice by itself doesn’t have umami, it’s the vinegar that has it. There are two types of sushi vinegar in Japan, the one made with rice and the one with sake, also known as akazu. At Nikau, we use the akazu or red vinegar,” explains the chef. 

The desserts are made by chef Funahashi’s wife Kazumi Funahashi, who uses her training in the art of Japanese confectionery (wagashi), to showcase her desserts. Focusing on traditional wagashi-making methods and using only the finest ingredients without additives, pastry chef Funahashi crafts desserts that are unique to Nikaku. 

Nikaku Bangkok serves a 12-course, 17-course or a 21-course menu for lunch and dinner. 


Bull & Bear

The Bull & Bear grill room at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok has expanded its à la carte menu, with chef de cuisine Hathairat “Jeiw" Urapanthamat drawing inspirations from her travels. 

The new offerings include Tuna tataki, featuring pan-seared tuna paired with Japanese seaweed dressing and a seaweed cracker topped with Avruga caviar. The French Loup de mer is a pan-seared sea bass complemented by white anchovy, pancetta, cherry tomatoes and green pea velouté. The  Smoked duck ravioli with porcini cream, fried kale, date and Madeira jus is inspired by chef Jeiw's trip to the Middle East and showcases the region's flavours with a smoky touch and natural sweetness from the date.

“Traveling is akin to unlocking a door to new experiences, guiding me through diverse cultures and lifestyles. It serves as a journey that fuels my creativity. Each trip presents an opportunity for me to explore fresh tastes, ingredients, and cooking techniques,” says chef Jeiw. 

Diners can enjoy a set lunch on weekdays along with the restaurant's extensive beverage selection.


Ms.Jigger

Ms.Jigger at the Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok has unveiled a mouthwatering new selection of southern Italian classics from chef Davide Calo adding even more variety to its already impressive range of dishes.  

The tastes of southern Italy are second nature to chef Davide who was born and raised in the region’s San Cesario di Lecce. The new dishes include Carpaccio di manzo or beef carpaccio accented by freshly squeezed lemon and topped with aioli, rocket leaves, and truffle; Vitello tonnato or thinly-sliced slow-cooked veal loin, tuna sauce and capers enhanced with delicate balsamic caviars; Taleggio e salsiccia or risotto with Taleggio, red wine jus and flavourful sausage;  Zafferano e burrata or decadent saffron risotto crowned with creamy burrata and tomato confit; Al ragu di agnello or  Paccheri pasta with lamb ragout and rich goat cheese; Salmone con caponata, which is a pan-seared salmon with caponata vegetables and fragrant crustacean sauce; Alle melanzane or pizza slathered in tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella with crispy breaded eggplant; and Crépes con crema alle nocciole or thin crêpes served with hazelnut custard cream and caramelised seasonal fruits. 

The sommelier has wine selections to complete the 360-degree Italian gourmet dining experience. 

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