Quince has stayed true to the concepts it first pioneered in Bangkok when it opened two years ago, albeit under a different chef: casual European food that’s light, fresh and bright (meaning local and seasonal) served in portions that encourage sharing and eschew the formality of a traditional three-course dinner.
Quince 1.0 saw moments of sheer brilliance, which rewarded those prepared to eat staggered meals with the occasional 40-minute wait between two mains. While service is now perfectly predictable, the food is also less dazzling. Don’t get us wrong. Everything is excellent, just not excellent enough for any of it to make any “dishes to eat before you die” bucket list either.
We’re not blaming the chef so much as the produce, which is really what this kind of rustic food is about. A recent special—risotto, smoked bacon, mushroom, green pea—failed to be more than the sum of its parts, in part because neither the mushrooms nor the smoked bacon delivered much flavor.
As for the roast pumpkin (B220), a pretty sweet vegetable to start with, it is paired with a ricotta that lacks the necessary acidity to offset its honey glazing. The simple bruschetta (B250) is perfectly executed, but this isn’t Spain—so don’t expect the simple presence of roasted tomatoes on a slice of bread to make you weep.
Similarly, the very basic organic roast chicken (B450) failed to wow on our last visit: the skin is suitably crisp, the white flesh not particularly dry, but it just doesn’t have the bold flavors of a gai baan—surprising given its “organic” label.
Service, too, could do with some tweaks. In particular, waiters hold up plates so high you can’t see what’s on them and somehow expect you to tell them who ordered what, without naming what they’ve got in hand. Once again, this is a very solid bistro, a rare enough thing is this town—and it’s definitely one of only two or three when it comes to this kind of rustic, pan-European-slash-Mediterranean food. Moreoever, we love the faux-vintage brasserie meets idyllic country home atmosphere.
Quince is also backed by some serious wine guys, a passion reflected in its well-curated wine list. Perhaps it’s no longer a culinary pioneer, but Quince has deftly managed its transition to reliable mainstay, while retaining its crowd of beautiful people—half the fun of coming here.