Unlike Singapore, Bangkok might still be waiting for the arrival of their very own Michelin Guide. But if the constellation of top restaurants in the Thai capital is anything to go by, the city certainly seems primed to take on the inspectors from the lauded culinary bible. The discerning Thai diner, however, doesn't need to rely on a guide book to sway their taste buds. Below, some of the restaurants you should book ahead for if you find yourself in Bangkok.
The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn
The House on Sathorn is a 127-year-old colonial mansion given a new lease of life under the hands of renowned design firm AvroKO. The Dining Room resides within its storied walls, boasting tapestry crafted from traditional Thai embroidery techniques that are in itself a paean to the building's rich history. It is arguably one of the most beautiful restaurants in Bangkok, one that showcases the best of Asian culinary influences to good effect. Here, chef Fatih Tutak constructs each dish to tell a story. A dish titled Hunting, for example, sees a slice of duck breast embellished with pomegranate sauce and burnt onion powder.
Set within the Oriental Residence Bangkok, Savelberg traces its pedigree to Dutch Chef Henk Savelberg, who has raised four Michelin-starred restaurants across the Netherlands. Chef Savelberg's eponymous restaurant sees Bangkok as the home for his first overseas venture, one that has been met with a warm welcome from the Thai culinarati. Modern European cuisine reigns here, featuring the finest produce on a menu that moves with the seasons. The two and three course business set lunches here are popular with those looking to seal the deal, but settling down for a languid dinner is the best way to experience what the restaurant has to offer — especially since a stellar French-leaning wine list completes the meal.
J'aime by Jean-Michel Lorain
The two-Michelin starred Côte Saint Jacques in Burgundy is certainly worth a detour, but those hankering for a taste of chef Jean-Michel Lorain's culinary prowess don't have to cross continents. J'aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, his first restaurant to open in Bangkok, turns out finely tuned French fare with all the bells and whistles that define the fine dining experience — one that comes with its own surprising twist. While sharing plates is frowned upon in a fine dining setting, J'aime by Jean-Michel Lorain shows an innate respect for communal Asian dining traditions. Here, you'll find a lazy Susan at the table and diners can request for plates to be divided in the kitchen without raising any eyebrows.
Bo.Lan, the Thai fine-dining outfit of Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones, might serve up some of the best Thai food in town, but those who aren't looking to splash out on a meal can head to Err, the decidedly more casual, but no less stellar sister restaurant of the famed culinary duo. Working with farmers in Thailand, Err gathers local produce and turns it into a slew of delicious, Thai favourites, ranging from sour green mango macerated in fish sauce and chilli powder, to grilled pork neck amped up with a spicy tamarind sauce. The best part? Unlike its street food counterparts, all these dishes are made without a trace of MSG.
Indian cuisine in Bangkok? Yes, I hear you. But it's not quite the typical watered-down affair of curries and naans as you know it. For head chef Gaggan Anand — the first Indian chef to intern with Ferran Adrià's research team at el Bulli — his training at the veritable temple of molecular gastronomy holds sway over the plates he turns out at this progressive Indian restaurant. Set within a colonial-style house in the heart of the city, Gaggan takes familiar flavours from the canon of Indian gastronomy and repackages it into playful plates that tease the imagination. Think sambar foam served with fluffy idli, or an inventive paneer (Indian cottage cheese) sandwich topped with chutney bubbles.
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