Archive for the Pathum Wan Category

Bangkok – a couple of high end restaurants

Posted in Bangkok, Central Region, Pathum Wan, Sathon, Thailand with tags , , on April 17, 2019 by gannet39

In a culinary capital like Bangkok I was eager to try lots of different kinds of restaurants. Here are two high-end ones I went to. They’re both on my restaurant map.

Gaggan (Advanced A), 68/1 Phloen Chit Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, www.eatatgaggan.com

This fine-dining establishment is Bangkok’s best restaurant in terms of international awards and accolades. Despite topping Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year, chef owner Gaggan Anand has said he will close the restaurant in 2020 to take on a new challenge (a ten-seater restaurant in Fukouka).

I ate here with my friend Ian to celebrate my 51st birthday in September 2017. While I was waiting for him I had a Negroni made with Carpano Antica Formula, my favourite vermouth, along with Campari and Ironballs Gin.

As Ironballs is distilled in Thailand, this was a new kind of Negroni for me.

Anand’s approach is very playful. I’ve heard his food described as high-end Indian but many other influcences, such as Thai and Japanese, were in the mix. It seems to be all about making things look like something they’re not, or deconstructing classics and reformulating them in a fun way. Even the menu is a series of emojis.

When Ian arrived we ordered a bottle of Albarino, a favourite white from Galicia…

…and commenced with the culinary fun…

Black Salt Watermelon, an edible oyster shell filled with watermelon ‘pearls’.

Yogurt Explosion, a yogurt bomb with a burst of mango chutney.

Lick It Up Mushroom Peas. Perhaps my least liked dish as we had to listen to Lick It Up by Kiss while we were eating and talking!

Tom Yum Kung with the soup frozen into an ice cream and piped into the head of a prawn.

Goat Brain Flower Power was my favourite for flavour.

Eggplant Cookie, sandwiched together with onion chutney jam.

Chilli Bon Bon, a chocolate shell containing a liquid filling of cumin, chili, ginger and other spices.

Idly Sambhar, a rice sponge cake with coconut chutney, lentil curry foam and topped with a curry leaf.

Banana Chicken Liver, derived from a banana curry made for Anand’s baby!

Fish Granola was a new way of eating seabass.

Gin Tonic Uni, sea urchin temakis with cucumber cured in gin and tonic.

Chutoro Sushi, top quality fatty tuna served on dashi meringues rather than sushi rice.

Foie Gras Yuzu Carrot served in a carrot-flavoured waffle box (never thought I’d write those words).

The foie and yuzu were inside.

Green Vegetable Matcha, an unpleasant palate cleanser made with asparagus powder, celery, green tomato, green apple, cucumber and coriander…

…served as if it were tea.

Pork Vindaloo served as if it were Pork Tonkatsu, a Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet.

Scallop Uncooked Curry, scallops from Hokkaido with coconut curry flavoured ice cream.

Sheep Kebab Mango Chutney, a spicy lamb sausage to be wrapped with the darker dehydrated mango chutney leaves presented on a real plant, somewhat reminiscent of bullrushes.

Thai Green Curry, deconstructed blobs served on chicken skin atop a big rock.

Seabass Bengali Mustard, more seabass with Bengali mustard, steamed in a banana leaf and smoked on the table…

… before being unwrapped.

Charcoal Lotus Stem, a blackened lotus croquette.

Lobster Dosa, curried crustacean served on a dosa with strips of young coconut.

Beetroot Rose, an empty book containing roses with beetroot petals.

Milk Cake Reisling Muscat, wine flavoured mooncakes with a filling of grape ice cream.

Minion Wasabi, lemon cheesecake in the form of popsicles.

Peach Ghewar, an interpretation of a Rajisthani peach dessert.

For dessert we treated ourselves to a glass of Chateau Jolys Cuvee Jean made from Manseng grapes.

Finally an off-menu Passionfruit and Chocolate Birthday Cake.

Of course the passionfruit and chocolate were inside the edible candle.

I was too busy talking to grade the food but suffice to say a culinary good time was had. Thanks to Ian for sharing the experience and partially bankrupting himself with me!

Hate to say it but on my way home I stopped by my favourite ramen shop for a snack. People might wonder whether it was because Gaggan left me hungry or whether it was just out of sheer greed. I’m ashamed to report it was the latter but hey, it was my birthday!

More about the ramen in my coming Thonglor post.

On an earlier occasion I also met Ian here.

Nahm (Advanced B+), ground floor of the Metropolitan Hotel, Sathon Tai Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, www.comohotels.com

Although the restaurant space is rather uninspiring the food is very good here. Top Australian chef David Thompson uses great quality ingredients and time honoured techniques to recreate traditional recipes.

Thanks to his efforts Nahm topped the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014.

We went at lunch time when it’s easier to get in and had the tasting menu for B1,700.

I have to be honest and say that again I didn’t grade this food, nor can I remember what the dishes were called but it was all great!

Hopefully the pics will do all the talking that’s necessary.

If you want a drink after eating you could try to get in next door at the Vertigo Moon Bar on the sixty-first floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel. I haven’t been but it’s reputed to have one of the best views in Bangkok. Alternatively you could walk a few minutes more to this place…

Smalls (Intermediate A), 3-4 Suan Phlu 1 Alley, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon

This great little jazz bar is Ian’s regular hangout and it would probably be mine as well if I lived here.

It’s low lit and very atmospheric. Live jazz can be heard on most nights of the week.

Off to Thonglor next, which also has a few good cocktail bars…

Bangkok – a walk in the old town

Posted in Bangkok, Central Region, Pathum Wan, Phra Nakhon, Samphanthawong, Thailand with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2019 by gannet39

Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of an architecture buff, not least because it’s a good excuse for a long walk. Below I describe one that could easily take a whole day, or two if you break it up and include Wat Pho which I’ve given its own post. However I start with a couple of places, Hua Lamphong Station and the Scala Cinema, which could be destinations in their own right, even if just to catch a train or see a film. My map with everything on is here.

Hua Lamphong Station was built in an Italian Neo-Renaissance-style in 1910.

The architect was Turin-born Mario Tamagno who was responsible for a few other major buildings in Bangkok.

The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in Germany was a prototype.

The station is scheduled to be closed in 2021, after which it will become a museum. You can click on these photos to enlarge them.

Another favourite building is the Scala Cinema in a back street off Siam Square in Pathum Wan.

It has a Modernist shell with Art Deco interior decorations.

Back in Siam Square the Skytrain tracks bring you back to brutal modern times.

Also known as the BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) the Skytrain was opened in late 1999. I presume that an underground system wasn’t feasible due to the river flooding regularly.

The first road to be built in Bangkok was the Charoen Krung Road in 1861. Ironcially, the English name for the road is New Road. It stretches from Wat Pho and the Grand Palace and continues for 8.5 km to Dao Khanong. The first few kilometers in the old town make for a good walk as there are quite a few historical buildings along its route. After seeing Wat Pho (see next post), a logical starting point would be Saranrom Park.

The park was originally part of a palace built by Rama IV in 1866 but he died before it was completed. The basic layout of the park remains today is as it was designed by Rama IV. A couple of examples of traditional house architecture can seen be inside. The park is now used as a training school for city gardeners.

There’s a bit of neo-classical around the outside of the park.

Fairly soon after starting you’ll cross the first canal ring, Lod Canal or Asadang Canal.

Fairly soon after that you come to the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre www.salachalermkrung.com. The cinema was opened in in 1932 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Bangkok but nowadays it hosts performances of classical Thai dance.

The modernist building isn’t particularly exciting although it does have a few nice features inside.

A show about Hanuman the monkey god was on when I went.

Of more interest to me was the Art Nouveau exterior of the cafe next to the theatre.

I tend to wander of the path a lot, to go and look at architecture that catches my eye. From here I deviated from the route and headed south along Ti Thong towards the Old Siam Shopping Centre which has a few interesting buildings around it. Not sure what style you’d call these. Thai Deco perhaps.

There are a few more easily recognisable Art Deco buildings dotted around.

There’s this lovely piece of Brutalism just over the road from the shopping centre.

From here you could deviate even further south to Little India but I wouldn’t bother as there’s not much to see, unless you fancy a curry for lunch at Royal India (see my Eating in Phra Nakhon post).

After you cross over the second canal ring, Banglamplu-Ong Ang Canal, you are in Samphanthawong, the location of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

I came across this Chinese temple somewhere around here.

Chinatown’s central street Yaowarat Road runs parallel to Charoen Krung Road to the south. The streets seemed a bit narrower and more chaotic here. A bit of dereliction seems to be creeping in as well.

I did brieftly consider staying in Chinatown but was quite glad I didn’t as its a bit full on. I looked at two hotels, Loy La Long www.loylalong.com; a cool little hostel in a choice location on the river, and the more luxurious Shanghai Mansion Bangkok www.shanghaimansion.com on the frenetic Yaowarat Road, both good in their own ways.

I enjoyed checking out all the street vendors along Yaowarat Road.

From here it’s just a short stroll to Hua Lamphong Station which is where this post started.

Back to Wat Pho for the next post though!

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