[Bangkok] It could have just started this year, but Paste seems to be mentioned ‘everywhere’, Chef Bee Satongun is ‘everywhere’.
Chef Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun has also just been awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef. This is truly here year.
Now, Paste is considered one of Bangkok’s best and most-talked about restaurants. It lies conveniently in Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong district adjacent to the Intercontinental Hotel.
It first opened in Sukhumvit Soi 49 in 2013, but moved to a more glamorous space in Gaysorn Plaza in 2015.
Paste specialises in serving exquisite dishes representative of heirloom Thai cuisine, said to bring about revival and rediscovery of the authentic flavours of classic Thai cuisine.
These family recipes date back from 1870 to 1930.
The royalty-inspired menu uses unique ingredients sourced directly from local growers, and curates dishes prepared using century-old long-forgotten cooking techniques.
Through Paste, Chef Bee and her husband Australian-born chef Jason Bailey showcase their technical expertise and creative flair, producing refined versions of traditional Thai dishes that reflect the country’s heritage with layered flavours and textural contrasts.
Each dish here is 80% traditional and 20% innovation, a.k.a. old dishes with new twists.
For example, a sweet river prawn salad is elevated with locally sourced spices like the Chiang Mai cousin of Sichuan peppercorns and flavour-packed seaweed powder.
To be honest, while the restaurant has been in my radar for several years, I have never actually gone to dine there. It could be a combination of the price and mixed reviews – some friends loved it, while others thought it was over-rated.
I am glad I did in the end.
The Paste menu (a la carte and tasting menus) represents a collection of heirloom recipes injected with the chef duo’s signature art and creativity. The plant-based dishes focus on rare Thai produce from all over Thailand, using only the top-tier level for meats and seafood.
Its Lunch Tasting Menu is priced at 2,000++ baht/person (SGD83.60, USD60.90), for a minimum of 2 persons.
For Dinner, you get 3 choices for Tasting Menus, priced at 3,100++ (SGD129.50, USD94.40), 3,400++ (SGD142, USD103.50) and 3,700++ (SGD154.60, USD112.65) respectively. A minimum of 4 persons is required for Dinner Tasting Menus 2 and 3.
The tasting menu included one of the Chef-recommended signature dish of Na Tung Khek, a roast duck dish, with nutmeg, curry paste, and sawtooth coriander.
This succulent, melt-in-your-mouth tender duck meat was deeply flavoured with classic Thai spices, and I thought the rice crackers provided a contrast in terms of textures. A great start to the meal.
The truly outstanding dish to me, was the Pomelo Salad of Char-Grilled Scarlet Prawns, Asian Citron, Chilli Jam and Gapi Khoei Plankton Paste.
I know sometimes food bloggers/writers love to use the phrase ”explosion in the mouth” to describe certain dishes with varying flavours.
Now, THIS was the true explosion and eruption in the mouth.
How did they get all these flavours in together, and yet so balanced – whether the spice level, saltiness and even temperatures.
I have had several fine dining meals this year, and this was that one dish that left me the deepest impression.
The A La Carte Menu – a balance of textures, flavours and aromas – is specifically designed for sharing, explicitly written on the menu that the “food is intended for sharing and to be eaten with steamed jasmine rice”.
You can choose from Chiang Rai jasmine rice perfumed with organic jasmine flower, or the organic riceberry from Surin province.
It features entrees, mains (soups, salads, grilled/roasted/steamed, noodles, relishes, curries, and vegetarian), and desserts. Note that menu changes according to market availability and produce quality, so prepare your palates for a surprise.
Paste stands on the top floor of high-end shopping mall Gaysorn Village (a.k.a. Gaysorn Plaza) overlooking the bustling Ratchaprasong intersection.
Here you get a glimpse of urban Bangkok traffic.
Its striking interior is dominated by an iconic feature: an organic, swirling spiral “silk nest” sculpture made of hundreds of silk cocoons. This artwork, made by a team of artists from the northern provinces of Thailand, represents the dynamism and purity of Paste.
You won’t feel cramped at all with its high ceilings with exposed wooden beams, echoing the traditional Thai house, yet the space is modern. The natural lighting from floor-to-ceiling windows adds a lighter feel to the ambiance of its expansive formal dining area.
The rotunda seating area, with curved booths that add an unusual touch, offers private dining to some groups. Tastefully furnishing these private dining areas are handmade lampshades made from paper and bamboo, all natural materials to showcase Thai craftsmanship.
Service was attentive but not overbearing.
It can be really hard to strike a balance of presenting Thai food in a modern and innovative way. You can just imagine that ‘critics’ could go… not traditional enough, not spicy enough, over-priced etc etc etc. I thought Paste somehow managed to find that sweet spot.
While not all dishes were spot-on, and some plates bordered on being an ‘upgraded’ version of familiar Thai dishes (for example, the desserts were quite ordinary in comparison), I thought there was a certain beauty at how Paste presented and cooked its food.
It was a memorable and beautiful meal.
3rd Floor, Gaysorn, 999 Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok (Chidlom BTS Station Exit 1)
Tel: +66 02 656 1003
Opening Hours: Lunch 12:00pm – 2:00pm (Mon – Sun); Dinner 6:30pm – 11:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Paste
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