I was recently invited to one of the most unique restaurants in Bangkok. I got a call from a friend and said that one of her friends canceled a dinner appointment with her gang and wanted to know if I wanted to join. She said that it takes about two months to get a table at this restaurant and that I should not miss this opportunity. It sounded so interesting that I could not refuse.
The restaurant is called Jok Kitchen and it is in the middle of the wet market in the China Town (Yaowarat). As the evening progressed, I was learning more & more interesting information about this restaurant. For example, Jok Kitchen is known in town as the One-Table restaurant but as you will see soon, it actually has two tables. You will not believe how small the room is. It is like dining in someone's home. The owner and chef was first a crab vendor. Then he turned his passion for crab and seafood into the 'talk of the town' restaurant.
You need to reserve at least two months in advance to get into the restaurant and you should have at least six people to enjoy the food because it is a set menu. You eat what the chef has fresh that day. Even the prime minister of Thailand, Samak, tried to walk in three times and three times was turned away.
The first dish was home made wontons stuffed with fresh shrimp topped with deep fried garlic. The shrimp was plump and juicy, the skin of the wonton was thin, the combination was lovely. A great starter.
The second dish was seared snow fish on top of ice berg lettuce. An incredible sight when it arrived on the table. The two enormous pieces of fish sitting gloriously on the plate. Our mouths were watering and for a good reason. It was amazing. The fish was so fresh, the meat very tender and juicy and flavour was incredible.
The third dish was fresh crab. The most simple way of cooking it; steamed. It was a stunning looking dish when it arrived. The crab was so fresh, enormous claws and so much crab meat. Normally, it is a pain to eat crab because it takes so much effort and it is a mess. But this was a delight in every aspect. I am not surprised that the crab dish turned out so well. The chef was a crab expert by trade.
The fourth dish was fresh abalone. This is a delicacy that every Chinese person is willing to pay thousands of baht for. It is one of those mythical dishes that one should eat and we were very satisfied with this dish. The abalone was very fresh, had a great consistency (not too chewy) and the taste was wonderful. The sauce was light so that it did not over whelm the abalone.
The fifth dish was prawns with XO sauce on a bed of broccoli. A really really great dish. The prawns were cooked perfectly, they were juicy and plumb. The XO sauce (minced dried shrimp) was amazing. I could not stop eating the stuff. I actually, kept spooning the sauce onto my plate.
The sixth dish was Japanese mushrooms with shrimp & green onion. I really adore mushrooms, so this dish did not disappoint. The mushrooms had an earthy and smoky taste to them. The texture was soft and slightly chewy. Very nice.
The seventh dish was fried rice with ham. We were told how to eat this dish. Apparently, the chef uses a very special ham for this dish. The directions on how to eat this dish. You are suppose to savour the flavour of the rice and ham. So, you take a spoon full and place it into your mouth. You then chew very slowly (this was a very important aspect of eating this rice dish). The reason why is that, when you chew very slowly the chewing affect releases the intense flavour of the special ham. We all stopped talking, took a spoon full of rice and started to chew very slowly. We all looked at each other after swallowing the rice and we all had the same questionable look on our faces, "Did you sense anything special?" I personally did not notice anything out of the ordinary, but I still loved the fried rice dish.
The eighth & final dish was mushroom soup. A very nice way to end such an amazing dinner. We were indeed getting stuffed. The mushroom soup was light and very tasty. It had a nice soothing effect and it did its job of cleansing our taste buds for dessert.
The dessert was a taro dome which covered sticky rice & topped with prunes, on a soup of gingko and water chestnut. This was my least favourite dish of the night. For the simple fact that I do not like taro desserts. But, that is a personal thing. Trying to be objective, the taro paste had a nice consistency but I found it too sweet. The sticky rice was also very sweet and on top of that the gingko and water chestnut sauce was also very sweet. But, I have to say, the dessert looked very nice.
Overall, the place is amazing. Even though I only knew one person at the beginning of the dinner, the food was a good topic to start a discussion with the people around me. Credit cards are not allowed, cash only. I asked my friend to help me get reservations for the next time. I actually got a table in September. I can't wait.
Please do not ask me how to get to this restaurant. I honestly have no clue. Even if I wanted to find the restaurant again, I would be lost forever in China Town. However, I am very lucky to have my friend who promises to draw me a map for my next dinner. She is the greatest! I did however, take photos of the street signs.
23 Trok Issaranuphap, Phlap Phla Chai Rd., Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phi, 02-221-4075, 02-623-3921