Bussaracum, G/F, Sethiwan Tower, Pan Rd, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily 11am-2pm, 5-10:30pm
Reservation recommended, Live music, Parking available
Despite its name which means “yellow sapphire,” Bussaracum is—if well-polished on the outside—cruelly lacking the inner perfection of a gem. The setting and the presentation of the food are exquisite. To complete the old-fashioned dining experience, servers wear traditional Thai costume, and in the evening there’s a live khim performance. Five stars to them: they really make you feel like royalty. However, the gentle atmosphere can make you feel a bit uneasy, as even the clink of a glass seems to disrupt the peace of the soft-spoken diners that surround you. Beautifully illustrated with high-quality photos of the dishes, the glossy menu comprises an extensive selection of “Royal Thai cuisine” with a good variety of rare traditional recipes like rhoom (minced pork and shrimp wrapped with egg net), luke tao (turtle-shaped mushrooms stuffed with minced shrimp) and saengwa (grilled prawn salad served in carved green melon with deep-fried catfish). Every dish arrives with an elaborate presentation of beautifully carved veggies on the side. But once your eyes have adjusted to the glitter, and your tastebuds take over, the “Royal” label is soon forgotten. “Toned down” is a euphemism here to describe their levels of blandness. Take the pla krapong manao: the sea bass fillets were deep-fried long beforehand, hence soggy and cold, and the lemon sauce was syrupy instead of tangy. Another gripe is that the prices are on the high side considering the tiny portions and the relatively low quality of the food. Appetizer set A includes two miniature pieces of the restaurant’s four best-selling starters, including the oily and salty toong ngern yuang (deep-fried minced pork and prawn wrapped in bean curd pastry) and cold and chewy rhoom—definitely not worth the money. We’d rather sit there and think about what these dishes should taste like when properly prepared than actually put this stuff in our mouths. The ultimate rip-off is the soups. Don’t expect big family pots here since Bussaracum serves its soup western-style, in a small individual bowls. If you really want to check out the décor, drop by for the much more affordable buffet lunch (inclusive of some 20 menu items and Thai desserts)—but then, it being a buffet, you don’t get to experience their superlative service.