The founder of a leading Thai fashion brand turns his attention to food
Fashion and food have long gone hand in hand in Thailand, with several of the kingdom’s leading designers bringing their talent for style from the catwalk to the kitchen – think Bhanu Inkawat of Greyhound. Now it’s the turn of Polpat Asavaprapa, founder and designer of Asava, who opened his Sava Dining restaurant at EmQuartier two years ago and has been attracting hordes of stylish diners every since.
Located on the sixth floor of the Helix Building, Sava Dining Restaurant proudly bears the blue-and-navy palette of the fashion brand and reflects its owner’s passion for combining the classic with elements in vogue. Indeed, Polpat says he treats his restaurant in much the same way as he creates clothes for the Asava line.
“The appearance of the restaurant gives off a luxury ambience but in fact it’s all about comfort food. In fashion I don’t like anything that is showy, and in food I prefer authentic tastes for every day. In short it is simple but not easy and there’s that element of fascination that is our signature,” says Polpat.
“For example, Thai people like noodles, I also like noodles, But instead of serving simple Pad Se-Aew or fried thin noodles with soy sauce, I turn the dish into Sen Yai Pad Kua Kling (Bt320) using our home-made spicy southern style Kua Kling chilli paste. We pound fresh, large green and yellow chillies with Thai and foreign herbs to create a special aroma. This is our dish of the year.”
The Kua Kling chilli paste is also served with roasted lamb (Bt850) and the two go together surprisingly well. The roasted Australian lamb is presented in the traditional Western style but served with a spicy gravy that is very different from the typical mint sauce. It’s accompanied by fresh herbs and vegetables and Khao Ji – fried sticky rice with egg.
The Sava Dining Tuna Salad (Bt290) serves up a surprise of its own too, combining crispy iceberg lettuce, tuna in oil, anchovies and ham with a blend of Thai vinegars and chilli that give it a tasty sweet-and-sour flavour with a spicy kick.
Another recommended appetiser is Crispy Deep- fried Chicken Skin with spicy Tom Yum dip (Bt160), which uses the leftover chicken skin from other dishes. This is then marinated, deep fried until crisp, and served with a dip made of cream sauce mixed with tom yum chilli powder.
Crispy chicken skin also gets another outing – as the topping for the wok-fried thin noodle dish known as Kua Kai (Bt220).
Another Sava Dining favourite is Spicy Deep-fried Fish Fillet with Sour Green Mango Salad (Bt210) made with river fish from Suphan Buri province and nam dok mai mango.
Last year’s favourite dish, Khao Pad Pla Khem, fried rice with salted fish, is back on the menu along with a new version, which replaces the rice with spaghetti and is priced at Bt270. The spaghetti is cooked al dente then fried with dried salted fish and white wine and served with
extra dried chilli for those who like it hot.
Also new on the menu is a hybrid rice menu Khao Kai Kon Moo Kurobuta with Kimchi and cheese (Bt350). While the combination of kimchi and cheese is a little heavy, the dish is interesting thanks to its unique taste and contrasting aromas.
The dessert list has coconut ice cream pudding, Bael fruitcake with ice cream, and Milk tea ice cream served with toast. All are refreshing and bursting with flavour.
Asked why so many Thai fashion designers are turning to food, Polpat says the two are all about taste and lifestyle. “Kloset or Sretsis now have their own restaurants too and these convey the very distinct personalities of the brands and their designers. Food, leisure and decoration are in our blood but obviously they have to be managed differently. When you run a restaurant, you can’t truly be yourself as you can in fashion design. You have to remember food is for the masses and not just fashionistas. I’ve learnt to adapt my style because I want customers to enjoy their meals and come back for more,” he says.
SPICE IS NICE
- Sava Dining in the sixth floor of the Helix Building, The Emquartier and is open for 11 to 10 Monday to Friday and until 11pm on weekends. Book a table at (02) 003 6208.