Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gai & Joel

We heard that a new restaurant opened on soi Langsuan. The restaurant is from Chef Gai who used to cook for Le Vendome at All Seasons Place and then she moved to The Deck on the river.

Chef Gai left The Deck to join Alila Hotel in Cha-Am. This is where she met her husband Chef Joel, an Australian who was the head chef of the Alila Group. They married and moved together to Alila Hotel Luang Prabang and worked there for several years. They came back to Bangkok and they just opened...Gai & Joel.

So, we decided to try her new restaurant.

The restaurant is situated where Ember Restaurant used to be. The decor is modern with white & black as the major colours with a hint of gold, blue & purple.

The bread platter with an amuse bouche.

My friend's starter was Soft shell crab. The soft shell crab was deep fried to a dark golden brown. The crab was soft & tender but had loads of flavour.

My starter was Lobster filled ravioli. The three raviolis were nicely made; the skin was not too thick and the lobster stuffing was sufficient. The sauce was thick, rich & creamy. The dish tasted very good but I thought three raviolis were not enough for what the price was for this dish.

(OK, I am sure you are asking what was the price for the raviolis....in my drunken stooper, I forgot to write down the prices of each dish. I totally forgot; I am thinking it was around 450 baht. But, let me confirm that with you very soon. I am checking for the receipt of our bill).

The break between dishes was a Raspberry sorbet.

My starter was Seafood soup. The seafood was very fresh, cooked very nicely and the soup itself was rich in flavour. The soup was a hearty meal.

My friend's starter was Beef tenderloin. The beef was cooked as ordered. The beef was tender and had a good flavour to it.

The complimentary Ice Cream tower. We rarely eat dessert; but Chef Gai was very nice to offer us dessert. The flavours were very creative and the taste of the ingredients were subtle.

Overall; the food was very good. The ingredients were fresh and the dishes were nicely put together. You could tell that the chefs were passionate with the food they are creating and cooking.

Chef Gai and Chef Joel were very friendly and approachable. We asked them lots of questions about the food and they were happy to discuss and explain their food and philosophy of their cooking.

The pricing of the food & wine are on par with most French restaurants in town...a bit on the expensive side. This is due to the import of many of the fresh ingredients. However; (this is just my opinion), there are a lot of very very good ingredients that already exist in Thailand. I am not sure if French restaurants need to always import everything and therefore the prices of the food is out of reach for the majority of people.

I think Gai & Joel as the new restaurant on the block and needs/ wants to attract clientele, I think they might have to adjust some things. For example; give heartier portions so that people can justify the price/ quality ratio. Let them see that they are getting their monies worth. But, then again, what do I know!

The staff needs a bit more training in terms of paying more attention to the customers. For example; the restaurant was empty yet I had to ask for my wine glass to be filled, etc. At the same time, the staff needs to smile just a bit. They were going through the motions but with no emotions.

Finally; the most disturbing aspect of the restaurant was a very foul odor coming from somewhere. At first; we thought it was cheese, but we did not see a cheese cart. Then we thought it was coming from the toilette, but it was not sewer smell. Since the restaurant was just opened a few months; we decided, it might be coming from the floor in terms of a glue they used or whatever treatment of the floor. That is the only guess we could come up with. Whatever it was; it was disturbing and not pleasant. For the sake of the place Gai & Joel notices it and tries to fix it or hopefully it will just disappear.

Address: 99/ 11-12 Langsuan, Balcony Bldg., Bangkok 10330
Telephone: 02-684-5944


Thursday, January 20, 2011


This is the only Swiss restaurant I know in town and thank goodness its really really really good. The quality of the products are fresh and owner/ chef cooks up hearty and delicious food.

Chesa has been around for a very long time and has a big following. We sometimes forget that Chesa is there; but when we think of having 'meat', we right away think of Chesa. Chesa is situated in a house in a discreet sub soi. The restaurant's decor is nothing special but the restaurant is cozy & comfy.

The first dish was Mache Salad. I love mache salad and the only place I know that flies in the mache to Bangkok is at Chesa. A mix of mache, bacon, tomatoes, radish & chopped boiled egg with a light cream salad dressing. Chesa is the only place that has this and it simply amazing.

The second dish was Deer meat. For our starter; were very curious to try the deer meat. The deer meat was lovely; rich deep colour, good texture and nice taste.

The next dish was Roasted Venison. It is so rare to get a whole venison to share for six people in town. Chesa always has the most amazing cuts of meats (depending on the season). When the chef told us that the venison just arrived in the restaurant. How could we let him hold on to it? We ordered it medium-rare. The venison was cooked perfectly. The meat was so tender and cut like butter. Just amazing.

The first side dish was Chestnuts & honey. Oh my, oh my do I love chestnuts. What a great idea to have a sweet & smokey side dish like this to contrast with the other savoury side dishes. The chestnuts were soft & tender and the sweetness from the honey made them so so yummy.

The second side dish was Brussels sprouts with bacon. We do like Brussels sprouts and the way they were cooked at Chesa...makes this side dish a favourite. The Brussels sprouts were soft & tender and the rich flavour of the Brussels sprouts and the bacon were a match made in heaven.

The third dish was Red cabbage. The cabbage had a lovely deep burgundy colour, were soft and had the right balance of acidity, sourness & sweetness.

The fourth side dish was Spaetzle. Traditional German dumplings. My favourite when pan fried until crispy on the outside. The texture of the dumplings were more dense than gnocchi. The taste comes from butter & olive oil with a sprinkle of herbs.

The dessert for my gang was a Cheese platter to share. The Swiss cheeses were perfect. The right smell, texture and flavour. Who needs to fly to Switzerland now to eat cheese?

Overall; no wonder Chesa has been opened in Bangkok all these years. It is a great place for Swiss food. Chesa is a very popular place fondu or raclette; but I just cannot eat this kind of meal in the heat of Bankgok. I always associate these dishes with the cold winter weather of Switzerland. I find them too heavy for my palette.

However; the rest of the food at Chesa is absolutely wonderful. The meats are especially amazing. The selection of things at Chesa are of course freshly flown in from Switzerland and are unique because there are not many Swiss restaurants in town. The chef really knows how to cook his meats. The side dishes are so so good.

The service is really friendly and professional. The prices are not are not cheap but are not that expensive either. But we are willing to pay for the meats (a bit more expensive than other places) because they are rare and hard to find in Bangkok. A unique and hidden treasure on Sukhumvit.

Address: 5 Sukhumvit 20, Bangkok 10110
Telephone: 02-2616650


Saturday, January 15, 2011


One of the ugliest decorated Thai restaurants in town happens to be one of my favourites. I have been going to Wanakarm for ages. It was actually our canteen when we were living on Sukhumvit soi 23. The restaurant was one minute walk away.

Wanakarm (I think) has been open since the sixties because the decor looks like it comes from the sixties. The pink plastic table covers, the heavy teak chairs & tables, the pink plastic roses with fake dew on them and the other kitsch decoration. But; when you put all those things together, there is actually something charming, cute & inviting about the place.

The first dish was Deep fried morning glory. This is an amazing starter to any dinner. The morning glory is deep fried like tempura. They come out golden, hot and crispy. The deep fried morning glory came with a sweet sauce that consists of shredded green mango, peanuts, onions, chillies and dried shrimp. We poured the sauce over the morning glory....my goodness; it was so so good. The textures & flavours are out of this world.

The second dish was Raw shrimp marinated with fish sauce. One of our favourite starters in a Thai/ seafood restaurant. The shrimp were plump and fresh. The shrimp came with a spicy green sauce. Dipping the shrimp into the sauce and with a mint leaf...this little thing turns out to be something big in tastes.

The next dish was Stuffed minced pork omelette. I think I can live on stuffed omelette. Some restaurants make their stuffed omelette too sweet. But not at Wanakarm. The omelette is cooked perfectly; the stuffing of minced pork, peas, onions, tomatoes & spices were cooked nicely and blended so well with the omellete. Who invented this dish? Cause I want to give them a big hug.

The next dish was Tom kha gai. The tom kha gai was done very nicely. The soup had a nice blend of sour, sweet and tangy tastes. The mushrooms & chicken added colour & texture. A really lovely dish.

The next dish was Spicy stewed beef soup. This is our favourite dish at Wanakarm. I think we have ordered this dish every single time we have eaten at Wanakarm (that is a lot of times). The stewed beef is so tender, the soup is rich in flavour and gives a punch with its spiciness. It is really hard to find this soup in restaurants; so when we are in a mood for a mean bowl of stewed beef soup...Wanakarm, here we come.

Overall; the decor might not be to my taste (but I still think its charming), but the food is so so good and the prices are very affordable. The service is still wonderful after all these years. And the amazing thing is that the staff are still the same after all these years.

My only minor annoyance about Wanakarm; is that, I feel that the restaurant is now catering too strongly to the Japanese guide books. Any day of the week; you can go to Wanakarm and the place is full of Japanese carrying their guide books. The menu now is a 'photo album' menu with Japanese/ English & Thai language. I truly hate touristic restaurants; but I can forgive Wanakarm because I do love the food just like the Japanese do.

Address : 98 Sukhumvit Soi 23
Bangkok 10110

Tel. :662 2596499

Working hour : ทำการทุกวัน 11:00-24:00 อาทิตย์ 16:30-24:00

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Len Zen Boat Noodle

We decided to have lunch at the very popular community mall K-Village. As usual; the place was packed for the weekend. It seems they do everything right to attract people to spend money at this place.

We decided to try a place we have not tried before at K-Village...Len Zen Boat Noodle. The menu is extensive with either noodle or rice dishes to choose from. But, what is very great about the dishes on the menu is that a lot of the Len Zen specializes with dishes from Chiang Mai or the Buriram province. This was very interesting so we were ready to eat.

We first started with a bowl of Beef Boat Noodle Soup (55 baht). The fresh raw beef, smooth & rough beef balls were of good quality. The vegetables were abundant and the broth was thick and really tasty. The combination of all the fresh & good ingredients made this dish a good value.

The next dish was Buriram stewed pork leg (110 baht). The stewed pork leg was very tender, juicy and tasty. It is almost like a 'khao kha moo' but with a richer and thicker sauce. This dish was not bad at all but I would have to say it was on the sweet side for my taste.

The sauces that you can add to your food. As well as the amuse bouche of pork rinds or deep fried seaweed (20 baht/ pack).

The open kitchen where we were able to watch the cooks prepare the orders.

Overall; for a quick, very good and affordable lunch...I emphasize 'affordable', especially at K-Village. The staff are friendly and attentive. The atmosphere is very relaxed and easy-going. Not bad at all!

We are located at Unit No. A220 / Floor 2F
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Telephone: 02-6613438


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


We just went to the most controversial restaurant in Bangkok. Nahm just opened a few months ago and already it has been the talk of the town. The restaurant is so polarizing that it has become a debate between the supporters and the haters.

Nahm is the brainchild of David Thompson, the Australian-born chef of the already world famous Michelin-starred nahm at The Halkin in London, opened his first restaurant in Bangkok last July. Of course; the controversy started because some people cannot understand or believe how a foreign chef can bring Thai food to Bangkok.

We needed to have an open-mind about this issue and try the food ourselves to have an opinion on this matter.

I have not been to eat at the Metropole Hotel on Sathorn Rd. for along time because I never thought the previous restaurant Cyan was comfortable and inviting. I was impressed with the new design & decor of Nahm. Not because it is outstandingly unique or Architectual Digest worthy; but because it was warm, inviting and more cozy than the previous venue. The usage of wood, stone and marble was a nice contrast. The colours of browns, whites & blacks made the room more warm.

We were ready to indulge ourselves; so we asked the chef to decide what we should eat since it was our first time at the restaurant and everything on the menu sounded so so yummy. We were truly in for a treat.

The amuse bouche was Minced prawns, peanuts and palm sugar on top of pineapple.

The first canape was Pomelo and grilled prawns with roasted coconut, peanuts, palm sugar and betel leaves.

The next canape was Smokey Chiang Mai chili relish with pork scratchings and quail eggs.

The next canape was Crispy noodles with prawns pickled garlic and bean sprouts.

The next canape was Southern grilled mussels.

The first main dish was Coconut and tumeric curry of blue swimmer crab with calamansi limes.

The second main dish was Red curry of free ranch chicken with peanuts, ginger and holy basil.

The next main dish was Clear soup of roasted duck with Thai basil and young coconut.

The next main dish was Sour orange curry with red claw crayfish and hummingbird flowers.

The next main dish was Smokey fish curry with prawns, chicken livers, cockles and black pepper.

The next main dish was Stir fried tofu with prawns and pork.

The final main dish was stir fried sugar snap peas.

The first dessert was Salak steeped in perfumed syrup with coconut dumplings.

The second dessert was Durian pudding over sticky rice.

The next dessert was Custard apple and tapioca in coconut cream with glaceed pumpkin.

The next dessert was Green mango topped with sugar & salt.

A medley of sweet treats to accompany the tea or coffee.

Overall; all the dishes were very very good. The quality of the ingredients were top notch, the colours & textures of each dish were abundant and the flavours of each dish presented had its unique & distinctive characters. Some dishes displayed some overpowering spicyness, bitterness or sourness...but I think it was the intention of the chef.

We had a chat with chef Thompson about the controversial article in the New York Times newspaper that quoted chef Thompson saying he was aiming to 'revive' Thai food, which he apparently described as 'decaying'. Chef Thompson never said that and was mis-quoted.

I truly believe chef Thompson loves Thai food & cooking Thai food. He is trying to preserve the authenticity of the culture of Thai food. I can only think good things for what he is trying to do. Why on earth can't a foreigner cook Thai food? I have never heard any one complain that an Asian cooks Italian for French food. Actually; we even like it when an Asian excels in another cuisine. Yet; here comes a foreigner who speaks, writes & read perfect Thai and wants to show his love for the Thai cuisine; and he is being crucified by people who have not even tried his food.

All I can say is try it...you might even like it. We did; very much.

27 South Sathorn Road
Bangkok 10120
Tel +66 (0)2 625 3333


Monday, January 03, 2011

Back in Bangkok

Our winter break is finished...so sad. It is good to be back in Bangkok with the warm weather and ready to start a fantastic 2011.

I am wishing all my readers a WONDERFUL 2011...Happy & Delicious Eating and Drinking to everyone.