Make it rain.

Since taking a fine-dining turn earlier this year, Charoenkrung’s 80/20 has gone from cult favorite to international one-to-watch. Out-of-towners may be scrambling for a table thanks to the restaurant’s recent positioning in Time magazine’s World’s 100 Greatest Places, but that’s not the only reason this trailblazer is in the spotlight these days.

Chef Napol Jantraget’s fun, cutting-edge Thai tasting menus work as a rolling experiment, changing with the seasons and building on the restaurant’s crammed shelves of pickled and fermented ingredients, which tackle waste while acting as inspiration for dishes to come.

Running a dizzying 16 courses, the current “Monsoon Season” menu (B3,000/person) encompasses elevated street food, like melt-in-your-mouth Thai wagyu served skewered and dried; intricate techniques, such as the pain-free Japanese ikejime method of slaughtering fish; and unlikely ingredients. Frog skin crackling or waterbug and garcinia gel, anyone?

Crowning the menu is the umami-fueled wagyu and oyster tartare with pickled garlic, smoked chili and kale, interspersed with delightfully fresh creations like river prawn and lotus miang kham; rainbow lobster crudo perched atop a thong muan-inspired crisp with caramelized pork paste; and a colorful dragon fruit bowl sprinkled with crab sherbet. Ingredients are not only selected for their availability, but also for their season-appropriate qualities—think immune-boosting agasta flower in the “Flavors of Local Flower” tempura and warming, antioxidant-rich oolong jasmine tea with the local grouper.

Save room for dessert, because chef Saki Hoshino’s creations take things to the next-level. The som tam-inspired mix of tomato sorbet, almond and papaya is superb, but the ingenious “Flavors of Coconut,” featuring coconut-charcoal ice cream and bites of mochi, will have you addicted.

We recommend going for the additional wine pairing (B1,600 for five glasses, or B2,000 for seven), though tea pairing is also available (B900).

The Monsoon Season menu will be available until December.

1052-1054 Charoenkrung Soi 26, 02-639-1135

 

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