A lot has changed since we released our annual Top Tables guide in March. Here is what’s going on at the top 20 restaurants in the guide, as well as some notable venues that opened just in time for a global pandemic to disrupt their rise.
This year’s top-ranked restaurant, southern Thai powerhouse Sorn, has been open since June at limited capacity. The team has also been selling khanom jeen sets (B1,800 for two; B3,500 for four to six) to limited numbers per day and selling top-quality fruit from some of its suppliers in the South. Want to score a seat? Sorn is now taking reservations for August.
The Mandarin Oriental’s French fine dining institution is open again and offering new options, too, like in-suite dining (B6,700; seven courses). That gives guests a little more peace of mind without skimping on the luxury. Also, a first for the restaurant, in-suite dining allows you to eat in the company of your kids (normally, children under 12 are not allowed into Le Normandie).
The award-winning German twins, Mathias and Thomas Sühring, are back with a brand-new menu. Expect a few of their signature dishes, like the seven-day-aged, hay-smoked duck, plus new additions, like their decadent spaetzle. The menu is priced at B5,000 per person, plus B3,000 for wine pairing, while a shorter version of the menu will be available at B3,000 with a B2,000 wine pairing—a feature that was previously only available for lunch but has now been extended to dinner.
chef Garima Arora
All has been quiet at Gaa since chef Garima Arora took part in Wonderfruit’s home dining charity series, Fruitfull, during the Great Thailand Lockdown. Rumors are swirling that the restaurant is on the move. Stay tuned.
After an extended hiatus, chefs Napol Jantraget and Saki Hoshino have opened Charoenkrung hotspot 80/20 for lunch and dinner. Their pre-monsoon tasting menu (currently B3,000 for 10 courses) features 100-percent Thai ingredients in thought-provoking dishes like smoked river fish with banana blossom and local beef with eggplant paired with their favorite rice of the moment. When it comes to the desserts, Hoshino flexes her creative muscles with Honey and Lychee, a clever combination using fresh, in-season with homemade yogurt, lychee sorbet, bee pollen and 10-year-aged honey from Hin Lad Noi.
Chef Deepanker “DK” Khosla stayed in the headlines throughout the lockdown, as he helped drive food donations to the homeless and unemployed. Now, his sustainability-fueled neo-Indian restaurant has reopened with one notable new addition: a 10-course plant-based menu (B2,790), one of few vegan-friendly fine dining options in Bangkok.
Silom’s decades-old fine dining haunt returned to quasi-normal on Jun 17 with new service hours (5pm-1am). The reopening menu has been pared back, but you can expect some recent and all-time favorites, like charred duck hearts with black garlic aioli, kimchi and green apple (B390); Australian salt bush lamb rack with vincotto (B1,300); sea urchin rice with salmon roe, yuzu and wasabi (B1,690); and, of course, the tomahawk steak (B4,950). The bar is mercifully back in action, too.
While chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn has kept busy with his new projects, Mayrai Padthai and Nusara, he hasn’t abandoned his flagship, Le Du. He recently revealed a new seasonal tasting menu, dubbed the “New Normal Journey”(B3,000), which includes new dishes like the seabass paired with mangosteen and a tender pork jowl with mountain curry.
One of the more notable venues to be totally overhauled, Bo.lan as we knew it is no more. In its place are new concepts: Bolan Grocer, Err, Wasteland and an exclusive chef’s table. Bo.lan Grocer offers dry goods, vegetables from local farmers, fresh curry pastes, natural wine, organic coconut cream pressed to order, and their own brands of fish sauce, palm sugar and salt. The new set up also includes Wasteland, a “community sipping space” where guests can enjoy cocktails that utilize repurposed ingredients from Err’s kitchen. Available just two times per week at a flat rate of B30,000 for tables of two to 12 people, the chef’s table offers the full Bo.lan experience in their familiar sharing format.
Phrom Phong’s awesome omakase specialist is up-and-running as usual. If you can’t get a seat or still don’t want to eat in close confines with strangers, you can get the menu from the restaurant’s more casual Raw Bar Masato delivered. That includes the chef’s mini omakase (B2,500), a selection of in-season fish and appetizers, as well as wagyu sandos (B1,600), unagi don (B900) and trays of egg custard tamago (15 pieces B1,000/30 pieces B2,000).
Upstairs has closed, but you can now visit the first of chef Dan Bark’s two new ventures, Cadence. Inside a carefully designed space, he’s serving 15-course menus (B4,300) featuring what Cadence is calling personal American cuisine, in which every dish relates to Bark’s journey in some way. That could mean a lavender- and spring pea-centered dish that recalls a trip to a winery in Napa Valley or an incredible, elevated take on Korean barbecue. Gone is the craft beer pairing, too. Now you can have an eight-course cocktail pairing (B2,000) or your choice of New or Old World wines (B2,600/B3,600).
Texas-hailing chef Riley Sanders has released a seriously clever new tasting menu that presents locally sourced and seasonally focused dishes as short-lived works of art. Ingredients span Thailand’s vast landscape, from rare hausa potatoes harvested in the South and lemongrass-like wild mountain pepper foraged in the Northeast to buttery Hua Hin sturgeon and Surin beef tongue. Each dish is accompanied by its own artwork, created by resident artist Fern Damrongwattanapokin, displayed along with the menu. The 18-course menu costs B4,500.
Suan Phlu’s award show-climber just launched a new 10-course tasting menu (B1,980) that follows the format of a traditional Thai meal and draws inspiration from street food culture. Think tangy gaeng som with Ranong barracuda and snakefruit; smoked Nakhon Pathom quail with somtam dressing; and Thai chocolate from Chantaburi, Chumporn and Chiang Mai in a choux, crémeux and ice cream. To drink, you can select from a carefully curated pairing of Old and New World wines (B1,890) or jungle-grown teas from Monsoon Teas (B680).
Gaysorn’s Thai fine dining restaurant pivoted to takeaway and delivery in the thick of the pandemic, offering set menus for B1,000-1,800 and popular a la carte dishes, like the roasted goat singhol curry, for B600. Now, they’re offering in-person dining again for lunch and dinner.
Jua is back to doing what it does best: serving incredible skewers with delicious shared plates, cocktails (B350) and highballs (B250-350). There are some new dishes on the menu, like the miso Caesar salad with an onsen egg (B280). Keep your eyes peeled for the Little Market burger brunch, held periodically on Sundays, too.
The Thai-helmed omakase restaurant’s venues at Gaysorn and Piman Square are open again, serving seasonal bites like kisu (a Japanese whiting that’s similar to smelt) and shima ebi (gray prawn). At Piman, go for the sushi course (B2,900); at Gaysorn, the Umi omakase (B4,800). If you don’t want to leave home, delivery is still an option: Umi is offering packaged dishes like the sushi bento (B1,680) and bara chirashi bento (B980).
Chef Van Rohitratana’s self-described “inauthentic” soul food project in Warehouse 30 is now open from 4pm-midnight daily. Before the pandemic, DAG had just moved up a floor, above Sweet Pista, so you can check out the new-ish digs as well as the rotating, seasonally driven dishes.
Both venues (Charoenkrung, Ekkamai) of chef Chalee Kader’s nose-to-tail venture are now open and serving limited numbers per night. Book in advance if you want to try the tasting menu, featuring cuts like the silky, dry-aged beef tongue (B490) and grilled Surin beef tenderloin served with cassia curry (B380).The restaurant now delivers “quick meals,” too, offering favorites like the Pho Marrow, a California-style pho made with local wagyu (B250), and the addictive pork jerky kaprao (B200).
Sri Trat is open for dine-in from 11am-11pm Sun-Thu and 11am-midnight Fri-Sat. Takeout and delivery orders get 10 percent off, and orders within 3km of the restaurant get free delivery.
After months of closure, Nahm—the Como Metropolitan’s long-standing Thai fine dining venture, now run by chef Pim Techamuanvivit—is finally reopening on Aug 27 (Thu-Fri noon-2pm; Thu-Sat 6:30-10:15pm). Alongside a la carte options (from B350), there will be new set menus developed during the lockdown, including the four-course "New Essence" menu (B1,900), featuring miang with river prawn, chicken, green mango, snake fruit and herb served on betel leaves; spicy Chiang Mai guinea fowl laab; and more. Meanwhile, the New Heritage menu (B2,500) features dishes like stir-fried Wagyu beef with young coconut shoots, basil, and green peppercorns; and blue swimmer crab, wild prawn, and red grouper fish seasoned with wild ginger and red curry paste.
OTHER NEW AND NOTEWORTHY VENUES
It’s business as usual, sort of, at Blue, legendary French chef Alain Ducasse’s first venture in Thailand. Lunch, dinner and afternoon tea are all available.
In June, Clara, the Italian restaurant from chef Christian Martena and his partner, Clara Del Corso-Martena, reopened with two new seasonal menus (seven courses, B2,680/nine courses, B3,080). Now, they’re ready to launch a three-course a la carte menu, plus daily specials.
Gaggan has finally—and famously—eschewed the sort of high-priced fine dining that stretches both the limits of your appetite and your wallet. I.e., the very experiences that made him so notorious and his restaurants such hot tickets. Now, he’s lowered prices as his namesake Gaggan Anand to B4,000 and B5,000 for the 15- and 18-course tasting menus while offering eight-course menus on weekends for B2,000.