• Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun reinterprets traditional Thai cuisine in a contemporary context.
  • Paste's mango sticky rice
  • Sushi Mori
  • Kub Kao’ Kub Pla
  • Riedel Wine Bar and Cellar
  • Boyy and Son Cafe

Village on a plate

lifestyle May 13, 2018 01:00

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Sunday Nation

2,312 Viewed

There’s plenty to eat and drink at Gaysorn from ancient Thai dishes with a contemporary flair to sinfully rich desserts made with purest chocolate



WITH THE COMPLETION of the office and retail space Gaysorn Tower late last year and the renovation of the re-branded mall known as Gaysorn Centre, a new community has sprung up right in the centre of Bangkok. Known as Gaysorn Village, the connecting buildings offer locals and tourists alike the chance to discover a lifestyle and culinary destination like no other.

Located at the corner of Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection, the village plays on its diversity of food cultures to draw customers to a venue that’s generally perceived as a high-end destination specialising in luxury brands. 

“Food is what everyone enjoys and we try to bring in various cuisines through our 20 restaurants and cafes,” explains Gaysorn Village’s executive director Korakot Srivikorn.

“The Ratchaprasong area is a community of working people who want a decent balance between life and work. Our aim is to offer them a journey that takes them from a Michelin-star restaurant and cigar and wine bars to tea and coffee speciality shops and Isaan and street-style outlets at prices to suit every wallet.”

Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun reinterprets traditional Thai cuisine in a contemporary context.

Our recent culinary voyage started at the Thai fine-dining restaurant Paste that revises rare classic dishes with creative flair. The restaurant earned one star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Bangkok last year and its chef Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun was also named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2018 by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

A self-taught chef, Bee honed her culinary skills while working in her family’s restaurant and draws inspiration from centuries-old Thai cookbooks to reinterpret traditional cuisine in a modern context.

“There is a much larger range of Thai food than we see today and many dishes have long been forgotten. The distinctive character of classic Thai dishes is a fine balance between complex flavours. I use only fresh and artisanal ingredients from small and local producers because good ingredients will enhance good tastes. Curry pastes are made in-house. Our dried chilli comes from Kanchanaburi and is selected for its medium level of spiciness, aromatic flavour and colour,” Bee explains. 

Grilled river prawn with pepper-berry curry paste wrapped with mulberry leaves

Inspired by the ancient royal recipe for curry paste created by Princess Dara Rasmi – a royal consort of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) – Bee introduces a starter with grilled river prawn and curry paste made from mamak mad (Northern pepper-berry). Priced at Bt700, the grilled river prawn is cooked with curry paste, madan (garcinia), bai chakhram (sea blite leaf) and pickled mushroom before being wrapped in mulberry leaves. It’s topped with ant eggs and dressed with coconut juice reduction. 

Watermelon rind soup with sea bass and jicama dumplings

Watermelon rind gets a second chance at life in a soup – a signature dish inspired by the Snidwongse family cookbook. The steamed watermelon rind is cut into thin slices and cooked in a curry made from the pastes of dried chilli, lemongrass, red onion and pepper. Sea bass and jicama dumplings wrapped with tofu sheets are added and the soup is seasoned with fish sauce, palm sugar and lemon juice. It’s Bt750.

“It may look like gaeng som (hot and sour tamarind soup), but the curry paste doesn’t use krachai (lesser ginger) but takrai (lemongrass). It’s a cross between gaeng liang (spicy vegetable soup), gaeng som and tom yum,” Bee explains.

Nutmeg smoked guinea fowl with winged bean salad

Her yum tua phoo (spicy winged bean salad) comes with a nam prik pao (roasted chilli paste) prepared to a recipe from a centuries-old cookbook written by Mom Somjeen Rachanupraphan back in the reign of King Rama V. Here the roasted chilli is not fried with oil as it is today but simply mixed with nam yum (spicy sauce) – a concoction of fish sauce, lemon juice, palm sugar and chilli oil. 

And in another move from contemporary preparation, the winged beans are not chopped and cooked with minced pork but blended with grilled baby corn and imported guinea fowl smoked with nutmeg and dressed with honey and kumquat. It costs Bt1,300.

Pomelo salad with char-grilled scarlet prawns

Another favourite is yum som-o (pomelo salad) made from Siam Ruby pomelo – a species unique to Nakhon Si Thammarat –with char-grilled scarlet prawns from Spain and home-made chilli jam and plankton paste.

“My food strikes a balance between the traditional and the contemporary. I want it to sit comfortably in between the past, the present and the future,” says Bee.

A chef at Sushi Mori is preparing Uni Sawa Shu.

Japanese restaurant Sushi Mori doesn’t only serve sushi but offers customers some 300 dishes in both traditional and fusion styles. Prepared exclusively at its Gaysorn branch is the new creation Uni Sawa Shu – sea urchin on seared sourdough bread, Bt650.

This features a tiny cube of bread slightly seared to obtain a crispy texture and spread with a special sauce mixed with miso, foie gras and truffle oil. It’s then topped with sea urchin, caviar and truffle shavings.

Uni Sawa Shu 

“I select premium bafun uni from Hokkaido, which is known for its fresh, firm, creamy and naturally sweet taste. I personally like the sourdough bread baked at Eric Kayser (the shop also has a branch at Gaysorn) and ask the bakers to craft my bread by reducing the sourness. In one bite, you can get a balance of flavours – creamy and sweet from the sea urchin, slightly salty from the sauce and slightly sour from the bread,” says co-owner Nacha Hetrakul, adding that customers can swap the sea urchin for A5-grade Tajima beef. 

Shrimp tempura tom yum sauce

Other fusion dishes include shrimp tempura on a bed of green salad with slightly spicy tom yum sauce (Bt380) and torched salmon rolls topped with egg yolk (Bt440). 

The best place to sit at Sushi Mori is at the counter bar where diners can observe chefs at work. Omakase style sushi, where the selection is up to the chef, is also offered in three choices – traditional, signature and Bluefin tuna – with prices ranging from Bt2,500 to Bt3,500 for nine to 12 pieces. 

Lamb massaman curry with roti

For casual dining, Kub Kao’ Kub Pla run by the iberry Group has everything from ham-cheese spring rolls (Bt165) to a new main dish of lamb massaman curry with roti (Bt480) that’s only available at this branch. The tender marinated lamb shank is cooked sous-vide for 48 hours then grilled, and served with crispy fried roti and pickled cucumber relish.

 iBerista’s iced latte

The iberry Group also operates the new cafe iBerista adjacent to Kub Kao’ Kub Pla. Two exclusive blends are on offer here: the Atlantic blend for hot coffee uses beans from Kenya, Guatemala, Colombia, Ethiopia and Brazil while the Marathon blend for iced drinks is made with beans from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai with hints of citric and chocolate notes.

Worth trying is the iBerista iced latte (Bt130), which is topped with Hokkaido milk ice cream. Another special drink is iced black tangerine (Bt130) – black coffee mixed with home-made orange juice.

Riedel Wine Bar &Cellar offers a state-of-the-art wine dispenser.

A favourite with wine lovers, Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar offers more than 200 labels and state-of-the-art wine dispensers that allow for a comprehensive tasting experience along with Mediterranean tapas and European cuisine.

The special menu, available only on Saturday and Sunday, is a seafood tower with the treasures of the deep served over ice on three tiers. Diners can enjoy Irish Rock lobster, Scottish smoked salmon, Alaskan king crab leg, Sea Almond clam, langoustine, carabineros shrimp, crawfish, Bouchot mussels, sea whelks and Phuket crab. The seafood tower is available in two sizes – Bt2,999 for two persons and Bt4,999 for up to four people with two and four glasses of sparkling wine respectively.

Seafood tower 

The showroom-cum-wine bar at Gaysorn is the German crystal glassware brand’s first concept store. Guests can enjoy more than 40 different wines by the glass courtesy of the automatic wine dispenser that allows you to select your preferred wine in one of three pours – 30ml for taster option, 75 and 150ml for more serious drinking – at prices ranging from just Bt60 a glass to Bt3,500. A row of Riedel glassware is arranged to match the character and body of each wine and in-house sommeliers are on hand to offer advice. The selection changes every two months.

Boyy & Son Cafe serves drinks with freshly baked croissants.

Next to the boutique of world-renowned bag Boyy is the new Boyy & Son Cafe serving coffee, tea and chocolate with freshly baked croissants and cookies. Run by Boyy’s husband-and-wife founders Wannasiri Kongman and Jesse Dorsey, the cafe's name borrows from Wannasiri’s nickname, Boy, with the second “y” a nod to her husband Dorsey. 

Iced dark chocolate mint and almond croissant

The cafe is decked out in turquoise and Italian marble and the signature drink is designed to match the decor. This iced dark chocolate mint (Bt140) is made with milk, mint syrup, Cacao Barry, and 66-per-cent dark Valrhona chocolate and goes well with almond or coconut croissants (Bt130 and Bt110) made with flour and butter from France and baked fresh daily.

GUSTATORY GOODIES

Paste is open daily from noon to 2pm, and for dinner from 6.30 to 11pm. Call (02) 656 1003.

Sushi Mori is open daily from 11am to 10pm. Call (02) 014 7441.

Kub Kao’ Kub Pla is open daily from 10.30am to 10pm. |Call (02) 075 2660.

iBerista is open 8am to 7pm on weekdays, and 10am to 7pm on weekends. Call (02) 075 2661.

Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar is open daily from 10am to midnight. Call (02) 656 1133.

Boyy & Son Cafe is open daily from 9am to 8pm. Call (02) 235 8300.

Find out more at www.GaysornVillage.com.