At Baa Ga Din, Thitid Tassanakajohn (Le Du
) teams up with American chef Chandler Schultz with the aim of redefining Thai street food. The outcome is a menu that’s familiar but full of surprises.
Simple yet sophisticated touches are everywhere, starting with the restaurant’s design by Party / Space / Design
(Too Fast To Sleep, Thinking Outside the Fox, Shugaa), whose mix of wood, brick and terrazzo also references rusticity and nostalgia through fighting cocks and fish, and lottery numbers.
On paper, the menu is jam-packed with familiar favorites like satay, yam (spicy salad), chicken wings and hoy tod (crispy oysters), but not all are as they appear. Take the deep-fried chicken wings (served with fermented green chili sauce and basil mayo, B175), which are partly deboned and pressurecooked before frying, so the meat just slides off the bone. A platter of rice crackers served with herbs and pickled vegetables (B200) shows off the depth and complexity of Thai food through the sheer variety of herbs on offer and the crackers’ slightly spicy kick. Another ambitious pick is the tom yam kung “ceviche” (B290)—which is zesty and pungent like the Latin American dish it takes its name from, with a puree that adds a creamy, intense dimension.
Only occasionally are flavors slightly mismatched, as in the prettily plated grilled pork shoulder with red curry (B550). The big chunks of tender meat come doused in a well-rounded curry, only to be muddled somewhat by the overly sweet pickled bamboo shoot.
The short list of desserts goes heavy on nostalgia with treats like ice cream sandwiches and black sesame cake. The classic mango sticky rice (B220) comes in pudding form with a smoky coconut cream. It’s rich and comforting, though the rice may be a little mushy for purists.
Baa Ga Din aspires to be more than a restaurant, though, with a full bar targeting the after-work drinks crowd. Chef Thitid, a certified sommelier, selects some 80 wines starting at B240/ glass as well as a short list of sake starting at B380/glass. As for cocktails— we recommend knocking back a fruity Silom Cha Cha Cha (B350), which mixes Scotch whiskey with red dragonfruit and lychee liqueur. Cool and casual Baa Ga Din is not quite the molecular spectacle of Le Du, but there’s no lack of sophistication on show.