I had gotten some unenthusiastic feedback from a couple of friends who had tried the cuisine here before, but I was undaunted. I'm a big fan of chefs who try to deliver modern versions of traditional cuisines with long histories - especially when molecular/modernist techniques are involved - so I was always curious about this place. Tonight was the opportunity to check this box.
There was never any question that I would be taking the "Journey" tasting menu, which includes 10 courses preceded by a number of bites. Halfway through the menu, I would come to the realization that this was simply too much food to stomach.
Chiang Mai sausage - the glass dome was lifted to let the smoke escape and fill the air. A piece of smoked coconut was skewered along with the sausage. Speaking of the sausage, it was very delicious and undoubtedly the best of the bites. Incredibly soft casing with an amazingly soft filling that almost felt like mashed potatoes. Very nice and smoky flavors, and a nice spicy kick.
Miang Kham (เมี่ยงคำ) - I love miang kham, and here they've decided to help us make them instead of having us DIY.
Then came the different elements of our first starter, laksa based crab-on-crab cornetto - at least, that's how all these little bits were listed on the menu. Only, nobody explained to us that these were all part of the same course... and certainly not that the cold coconut scented towel they suddenly presented to us was actually part of the dish. We didn't even touch it.
Then came the remaining 9 of the 10 courses...
There were chanterelles, pickled shallots, baby corn, kernels of sweet corn, crispy chicken skin, coriander, and garlic oil in the bowl. The crispy chicken skin was indeed very crispy, fatty, and satisfying. The flavors were actually decent, and this bowl did taste like a tom kha gai (ต้มข่าไก่).
Well, this DIY stuff may be cute and fun, but as I remarked to some people, it's "so 2003"... We've seen this a long time ago and novelty has definitely worn off - at least for some of us.
Mango sticky rice - thankfully the meal ended up a very delicious dessert. I loooove mangoes, and this re-interpretation of the Thai classic ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง was very well done. Underneath the cotton candy drizzled with coconut syrup were chunks of cold stick rice, mango sorbet, and mango purée. Very, very yummy, and very, very sweet.
This was a very long and excruciating dinner. There was simply too much food here. A 10-course menu with this kind of portion size would be substantial enough, but this was preceded by a bunch of nibbles. That might have been fine had the dishes been all hits, but unfortunately it was not the case. Quite a few of the dishes lead to some WTF moments, and the lobster was borderline revolting.
In discussions afterwards, the question of "Do they know what they're doing?" was raised. I think that the kitchen knows exactly what they're doing, but unfortunately we just don't happen to like whatever they're doing. The consensus between Hello Kitty and I is that the snacks were much stronger than the last nine courses.
In case anyone is wondering, this is a place I wouldn't bother going back to, and certainly not going to recommend it to anyone who asks.
We made our way back towards the area where we were staying, and met up with Da Jam for a drink at Vogue Lounge Bangkok. It's a great place for a drink at night - given the cool, comfortable breeze and the outdoor setting. Too bad our friend Vincent Thierry was out of town...