The name notwithstanding, this must be what they mean by making America great again
THERE’S A new prime destination for classic American comfort food in Thailand now that popular restaurant chain Clinton Street Baking Company has opened its first branch in Bangkok.
Famous for light, puffy pancakes and crispy fried chicken, the chain began as a modest 32-seat bistro opened in 2001 by chef Neil Kleinberg and his wife Dede Lahman on New York’s Lower East Side.
The best of American home cooking and French culinary skills merged in what many diners quickly decided were the best baked breakfast and brunch goodies around.
Their Clinton Street Omelette made with cheddar cheese and amazing buttermilk biscuits with tomato jam are known for drawing queues of early birds. New York magazine subsequently declared their pancakes the best in the Big Apple and the Lonely Planet travel guide crowned Clinton Street “New York’s No 1 Breakfast Spot”.
Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter
Riding that success, Clinton Street soon had outlets in Dubai and Tokyo, and more recently a Singapore branch opened as a joint venture with Thai entrepreneur Chanintr Sirisant, the man behind the multi-brand Chanintr Living furnishings store.
So it was only a matter of time before Bangkok begged a taste, and last month Thailand’s first Clinton Street opened with 212 square metres at Siam Paragon, its 70 seats spread generously around two levels decked out in modern-casual red walls and earth-tone fittings.
Chanintr says that, when in the States, he’s a regular at Clinton Street in New York.
Brioche French Toast
“It looks like a very simple breakfast cafe, but the brioche toast topped with pecans and caramelised bananas is out of this world, and the pancakes and omelette are really scrumptious. This is what I wanted to share with others, so I opened a Clinton Street in Singapore two years ago to test the regional market and the response was great.
“Clinton Street Bangkok keeps the focus on the breakfast menu, but it’s actually all-day dining. The ingredients are tops – the organic maple syrup is flown in from New York’s Catskill Mountains.”
Chicken & Waffles (Bt320) is a wonderful start to a working day – assuming you wake up really hungry. The chicken is marinated overnight in buttermilk, fried, coated in honey-Tabasco sauce and drizzled over a soft vanilla-buttermilk waffle with warmed maple butter.
Chicken & Waffles
The French make the lightest pancakes in the known universe, and Clinton Street taps that expertise for its New York Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter. For Bt320 you get three fluffy pillows on which to pursue the blueberry, banana walnut or chocolate chunk dream of your choice.
“This is truly traditional American food,” says restaurant manager Nopawadee Kitlergthai. “The portions are smaller to suit Thai expectations, but the food is prepared and presented in the classic, simple way and customers just feel happy when they eat it – because it’s comfort food!”
Nopawadee says 90 per cent of the ingredients come from the US, including the syrup, baking flour and buttermilk.
Blueberry Cheesecake and Carrot Cake
“Americans love butter and bacon and often sweeten their food with honey or syrup. Our motto is ‘Made with love and butter’.”
Also popular are Brioche French Toast (Bt260), topped with caramelised bananas and roasted pecans, another dish that adores its warmed maple butter, and the tender Black Angus Cheeseburger (Bt450), mounted with Swiss or cheddar cheese and caramelised onions and served with hand-cut fries and creamy slaw.
In terms of beverages, you can’t go wrong with the House Lemonade (Bt90) or creamy Salted Caramel Shake (Bt140), the latter’s saltiness offset by vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream. If there’s still room for more, the chunky Carrot Cake and super-creamy Blueberry Cheesecake make great choices at Bt180 apiece.
Is that it, Khun Chanintr? Nope. “This month we’re adding Truffle Fried Eggs, Kale Salad, Tomato Zucchini Bisque and Eggs Benedict!”
PANCAKES TO DIE FOR
>> Clinton Street Baking Company is on the ground floor of Siam Paragon and open daily from 8am to 11pm.
>> You can book a table at (02) 129 4861-2.
>> Find out more on the “ClintonStreetBangkok” Facebook page.