This restaurant may seem off the beaten track, but it's well worth the search. Set in a beautiful home, it delivers polished service and an approachable a la carte menu with a touch of creativity. The homemade strozzapreti (a hand-rolled pasta typical of Tuscany), for example, is served with Spanish lamb ragout and fermented lemon. As for the spaghetti arrabiatta, it uses a whole live Canadian lobster. A regularly rotating degustation menu is also available.
Restaurants doing high-quality, innovative fine dining in a refined environment are extremely rare in Bangkok. You’ve got some swanky places doing traditional food; and you’ve got a few young chefs getting creative while the front of house disappoints in terms of service and décor. But you don’t have many places like Sensi, where everything is on the same very high level as the dishes coming out of the kitchen.
Chef Christian Martena (who was previously at Opus) has a menu that we simply cannot fault, whether it’s the generous à la carte portions or—and we highly recommend this option—the sevencourse tasting menu (B2,690). Either way, you’ll get to sample some incredible produce, much of it imported, and the occasional touch of molecular cuisine. The stracciatella is from Andria (Italy), the pigeon from Bresse (France), the lamb from Normandie (France) or New Zealand depending on seasonality. All of this comes beautifully plated, with creative flourishes in the form of spherified balsamic, tomato sorbet or apple mousse.
None of it feels forced or trendy, though. This is a chef who is having a bit of fun on the sidelines, but who wants his perfectly cooked produce to take center stage. In fact, even the classic beef tenderloin steak on a bed of spinach (B890) is amazing. As is often the case, the chef’s creativity goes up a notch with the desserts, which include a slightly-boozy passion fruit sorbet in a box (as a complimentary palate cleanser) and tiramisu in a chocolate ball (B290).
It’s all made more special by the surroundings. The standalone house in a leafy neighborhood is furnished by modernist P.Tendercool pieces which combine rusticmaterials, such as saddle-stitched leather and massive slabs of timber. Mrs. Clara Martena, who has the looks and elegance of a runway model, handles the front of house with a warm smile, while equally dedicated and well-informed staff keep an ever-watchful eye.
For a place that’s chef driven, there’s no kicking up a fuss when guests join the table late and order à la carte while the rest of the table is having sets, or if someone needs to catch up with their co-diners’ sets because they got stuck in traffic. That kind of stuff will get you murdered at some places. Not here. Chef Martena is humble and approachable. On our last visit, he told us, “I have guys in Italy and in France. They get me the best stuff. And when you have good produce, you don’t have to do much.” Yeah, right.