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Dining out with Matt

A brand consultant turned restaurateur opens his garden and his home to those who can't resist good food

For most of the week, Brandscape co-founder Suvit "Matt" Uarsakchai is busy advising his clients how to define and maintain their brands. Come the weekend though and Matt's in the kitchen, cooking curry and baking cakes for Sweet Burgundy, the small but friendly cafe that he runs out of his home.

Located in Matt's garden on Lat Plakao Soi 18 off Kaset-Nawamin Road, Sweet Burgundy Weekend Cafe is open on Saturday and Sunday for home-cooked meals and sweet treats. The menu is not extensive and the space can only accommodate about 20, but the homey and intimate space is a great place to chill. You can have all-day English breakfast or enjoy high tea or aromatic coffee. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love his French toast and scones in different flavours. For something more fiery, order a spicy salad and Southern-style crabmeat yellow curry.

Walking through Sweet Burgundy is like being welcomed into the home of a friend. Allow yourself to be settled on the outdoor terrace that's rich in pastel and vintage tones. Lay siege to whatever style of furniture suits your mood - a comfy chair-and-table combo for laid-back lounging, the long wooden table suited to a large group, or divans and cushions upholstered with vintage fabrics, perfect to snuggle with a book. Vertical plants and pot plants give a natural ambience while Matt's own collection of dolls and figurines, picture frames and dinnerware along with a fixed gear bicycle provide an intimate ambience.

It's fun to see Matt working in the kitchen and watch him preparing the ingredients though advance booking is recommended, as word about Sweet Burgundy has already spread. There is a regular menu but it changes depending on what's in season and Matt's mood. You can tell him in advance what kind of foods you can't eat and which ones you prefer. The menu can be a surprise too - you'll find out when it's served.

Matt didn't learn his skills at any culinary institution but simply follows his passion and curiosity. He isn't a newcomer to the food business though, as he is the co-owner of beachside restaurant Le Chapon at The Hen resort in Hua Hin, which is popular for high-tea sets.

"I'd lived in this house for 20 years and it's been refurbished and redecorated every year. I love cooking and it's fun to share with friends and friends of friends and so on. I don't like eating out at restaurants where everything is white and the tables are close together. At my place, the dining sets don't match. Food with conversation and slowly eaten meals are special," says Matt.

In the same compound, he is building his own new office called BrandMatter, which will serve as a brand stylist consultancy.

"Cooking is a sort of therapy; it helps me shift from a serious mood to the slow life," he says.

His selection of all-day breakfasts is sure to tempt you. The English breakfast set (Bt348) features home-baked muffins with fillings of ham, cheddar and parmesan cheese with German sausages and macaroni salad with thousand island dressing on the side. It's served with your choice of tea, coffee or fruit juice.

Rocket salad (Bt200) comes with crabmeat topped with a spicy and tangy dressing made from ground peanut, ground chilli, olive oil and lemon. Another tempting dish is angel hair pasta served with a separate bowl of chicken balls in berry sauce that's a perfect combination of sweet and sour for Bt220. If you like a sweet aftertaste, try chicken drumstick mussaman curry caramel. Matt caramelises sugar to get the yellow-brown colour and slightly sweet flavour. It goes for Bt120 and is served with butterfly pea jasmine rice.

The dish I enjoyed the most was braised pork spare ribs (Bt118), which had a wonderful combination of tastes, but I found the Southern-style crabmeat curry served with rice vermicelli (Bt300) lacked the sharp and strong flavours that are unique to Southern food.

If you are a tea lover, you won't be disappointed by the selection of teas available here. For Bt98 a pot, you can choose between Mariage, Fauchon and La Duree from France, the very English Fortnum & Mason's, or Taiwan's premium Lupicia leaves.

Scones are the highlight of the sweet treats. Matt bakes them in different textures and unusual flavours including lavender, dried longan, orange and butterfly pea. Couples are advised to order a set for two, which offers two scones with your choice coffee, tea or blueberry/strawberry/raspberry soda for Bt168. His mango French toast is also second to none.

On Wednesday night, Matt opens the long table in his living room for a French-themed private dinner for six to 10 people. The six-to-eight course meal with sparkling wine costs Bt10,000 a table, while the 10-course dinner with champagne goes for Bt15,000.



DELICATE DELIGHTS

Sweet Burgundy Weekend Cafe in Lat Plakao Soi 18 off Kaset-Nawamin Road is open on Saturday and Sunday, from 10.30am to 6.30pm. Advance bookings are recommended. Call (084) 546 2941.


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