Bangkok's private dining trailblazer offers a truly special fine dining experience.
The buzz: This unique dining experience sees a typical condo transformed into a fine-dining restaurant, serving multi-course dinners that are often themed—think Europe-meets-Asia or vegan.
The vibe: Booking a table in someone’s living room can be disconcerting, but all your worries will melt away when you set eyes on the almost surreal, intimate 10-seat dining room. Miraculously transplanted inside a Ladprao condo (just a few minutes' walk from the MRT) the space is a warm and elegant mix of olive greens, candle light and rustic wood. Heavy wooden tables attended by retro orange leather arm chairs make for a set up that lends itself equally to private dinners or to conversing with fellow diners. Nab the table by the balcony window for gorgeous 24th floor views over the city.
The food: Various themed dinners are posted to the Empty Plates Facebook page and website, from a monthly “Vegan Special” (B2,000 for seven courses and a cocktail), to “Where Europe Meets Asia” (B2,100 for seven courses). The chef-owner Steven John has a Thai/Swiss background; this expresses itself in the likes of his piquant tomato tartare, which draws on the flavors of beef nam tok with a fiery nam prik jaew that incorporates Dijon mustard and Worchester sauce. The rich coconut and chili-marinated lamb “mo daeng” combines refreshing cubes of mint- and Thai basil-infused watermelon, crispy nagaimo yam chips, Thai tea foam and a schmear of ginger yogurt for a delicately complex set of flavors. Dessert could see durian served five ways, with panna cotta as the star. Whatever’s on the menu, you can expect all-local ingredients and immaculate plating. Steven credits the fact that he's an untrained chef with his unique ability to experiment, and his natural talent is indisputable.
The drinks: The succinct menu of crafted cocktails includes a passion fruit sour (B250) with roselle, whiskey and egg white, among others. A small, changing selection of wines is also available (bottles around B1,200), as well as Leo (B80) and Jaeger shots in case the night turns into a party (B150).
Why we’d come back: This is a truly special dining experience unlike any other we’ve had in Bangkok—or anywhere. You leave with more than a belly full of incredible food; the opportunity to connect with other diners and the chef really sets this place apart.