July 05, 2015 01:00 By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit The
The ABC Essence in eatery gets adventurous in its dishes but never loses its taste for nutrition
ROOKIE restaurateur Pakamon “Nina” Somboonvechakarn seems to have learned her lessons admirably, plunging into the competitive Thonglor dining market with the ABC Essence in Eatery, the name a reference to childhood schooling in the alphabet.
“The ‘ABC’ represents the starting point, the most basic essence of eating,” Nina says. “Here the cuisine is wholesome fusion food with high-quality ingredients to both fill the tummy and provide nutrition.”
Upstairs at the 9:53 community mall at the end of Thonglor Soi 9, the five-month-old eatery is minimalist in appearance, with Scandinavian furniture and 3D honeycomb wall panels, though the marble floor is a posh touch. The honeycomb pattern is repeated in the steel mesh over the big window, filtering the light but not obstructing the view of the pleasant greenery outside.
“I’ve always been fond of food and eating out,” says Nina, who has a degree in marketing from Britain’s Warwick Business School. “But eating is more than just filling your stomach. It’s an art, a sensory experience. Restaurants can give their customers a simple happiness. I want ABC to be a place to enjoying a hearty lunch, sip afternoon coffee over your latest project, or drop by for a light dinner.”
The nutritional benefits begin with a wide selection of salads. Chef Patimaporn Ruangcharoen studied food sciences at Delft University in the Netherlands.
The Skinny Sumo Salad (Bt300) is Asian fusion, with crispy mixed vegetables, grilled chicken yakitori, tempura tofu, grilled mushrooms and a fried seaweed roll stuffed with kimchi and mozzarella cheese. It’s topped with beetroot-mayo sauce. On the side is homemade ginger-sesame dressing.
The Smoked Salmon Salad (Bt300) presents the fish on a bed of baby cos lettuce, over which are laid Parmesan cheese, a soft-boiled egg fried in tempura batter and Caesar dressing.
East meets West in the Steak and Avocado Salad (Bt350), sliced seared beef with ground-roasted rice, avocado, tomato, mixed salad leaves, mint, truffle cream and Isaan-style jaew dressing.
Moving on to soup, Pumpkin and
Carrot (Bt160) is a dense yellow concoction using pumpkins grown at Nina’s own coffee plantation in Chiang Mai’s Omkoi district. A crown of whipped sour cream adds to the appeal.
Don’t even bother trying to stop
your kids from ordering the Spaghetti Carbonara (Bt290). Mushrooms and crispy bacon are embedded in foamy Parmesan beneath a crisply battered boiled egg. Patimaporn fashions the Parmesan foam from milk, cheese and sucro powder, an emulsifier often used in molecular cuisine.
The Teriyaki Chicken Pasta (Bt300) is grilled chunks of chicken glazed with teriyaki sauce on spaghetti that’s pan-fried with mushrooms, chillies, ginger, sake and yet more teriyaki sauce. Fried noodles and shredded spring onions are served on the side to lend the dish some crunch.
The Fish of the Day (Bt520) might be cod, sea bass or salmon. I felt quite lucky with seared salmon on a bed of sauteed potato shards and asparagus. The fillet was marinated in honey and, once cooked, topped with bacon, shredded Parmesan cheese and beetroot foam. On the side was a skewered fresh tomato and slice of lemon with beurre blanc sauce.
The Poached Pear (Bt180) is a wonderful choice at the end. The pear is cooked sous vide for 90 minutes in red wine and wild honey and served with Tahitian vanilla sauce and home-made vanilla ice cream.
A beverage with a lovely caffeinated kick is the Signature Iced Coffee (Bt125), a double shot of espresso with syrup served separately from the
chilled milk. You get to savour the coffee’s aroma while taking your time about adding the milk. The specialty coffees at ABC all come from Nina’s Chiang Mai plantation.
Other drink choices include the healthy Pink Guava Juice (Bt120) goosed up with squeezes of mangosteen, passion fruit and mango.
At the Saturday and Sunday brunches you can also try the Waffle Fat Kids (Bt200), with the waffles perched on Nutella paste, toasted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate. Too much chocolate? Go for the delightful strawberry compote instead!
YOUR DIPLOMA AWAITS
>>The ABC Essence in Eatery is on the third floor of the 9:53 community mall on Thonglor Soi 9 in Bangkok. Parking space is limited but there’s a valet service.
>>The restaurant’s open daily from 11am to 10pm.
>>Book your table at (02) 262 0876, (083) 096 0426 or the “abc.eatery” page on Facebook.