When considering a restaurant that is truly committed to expanding the flourishing farm-to-table practice in the heart of Bangkok, the name TAAN often – if not always – comes to mind.
Led by the agriculturally-minded chef Monthep “Thep” Kamolsilp (whose obsessive passion is foraging), the chef and his team weave together hyper-local cooking with modern Thai cuisine by working closely with growers and is, furthermore, always in search of pristine and seasonal ingredients across the country. After a read through the menu, the first impression you’ll get is that the food here is very much ingredient-driven; each dish featured in the course often showcases one highlighted ingredient with an accompaniment of stories from the farm it was grown and cultivated at.
We had the privilege of indulging in TAAN’s new Tasting Menu (a 9-course set menu) recently. Read on for our full review to get a glimpse of TAAN.
The dimly-lit space maintains the classic enchantment of that of a fine-dining restaurant. The establishment boasts Thai art-inspired walls and is furnished in a minimalist manner, with simple wooden dining tables and leather-upholstered chairs. The ceiling-to-floor glass windows enveloping half of the dining space also gives diners a chance to appreciate Bangkok’s urban landscape while they gorge on their delicious Thai food.
TAAN goes even more innovative Thai with its latest tasting menu which features 9 courses in total.
We first began the meal by celebrating the Thailand-bred crustacean, a spiny lobster from Ranong city. Cured to succulence in fish sauce, the lobster is then bejeweled elegantly with gem-like caviar from the Royal Project and is served with a scoop of pungent green chilli relish. Though the dish looks very delicate and mild, it is actually packed with a delicious fishy flavour which keeps the caviar and the lobster exciting instead of tasting bland or lacking in flavour.
Next, we got served up the Fermented Organic Pork. And if you have heard of – and tasted – the Thai-style sausage, you’ll know it’s Thai comfort food at its best. TAAN’s version uses organic pork shoulder from Nan. The meat goes through a long three-day fermentation process to achieve that sour-ish flavour, which is a unique characteristic of Thai sausage. The dried mackerel, Thai Sichuan pepper, neem leaf and the Forgotten Husband rice (black glutinous rice) are then added to spruce up the meat into something so extraordinary that the taste will make you forget about your partner (just as predicted with Forgotten Husband rice, which, being so delicious, causes one to forget the woes of being with their other half).
The deliciousness continued in our next dish of Stir-fried Hinlay Blue Swimmer Crab. Whipped out of the blue swimmer crab from Chumphon and organic eggs, salted egg and piquant Hinlay curry powder, the spice-basted dish sings with delectability, thanks to its pristine ingredients.
For the main that was kept in the Thai family-sharing style, we gorged on three different shared dishes that came with cooked-to-perfection brown and jasmine rice. The dish we were particularly fond of, however, was the Grilled Crispy Pork Belly. Served on a bed of stir-fried bitter beans (stinky beans) cooked and coated with shrimp paste and chilli, the the stinky-in-a-good-way beans provided a crunch and robust taste that made it a good counterpart to the hearty and fat-filled crispy pork belly from Khon Kaen.
For dessert, we had the reimagined Kanom Taan, a steamed cake made from toddy palm grown in Lopburi. Atop the shredded pieces of cake was green roasted pumpkin ice cream that gave the dish a smokey sweetness. The coconut mousse and the sprinkling of kaffir lime also gave the dish a savoury touch, perfect for dessert devotees who absolutely hate their delicacies to be overly sweetened. Though the focus was supposed to be about the toddy palm cake, the pumpkin-based ice cream definitely got our full attention due to its fluffy, cream-like toothsomeness.
Pursuing the philosophy that Thai food will always keep on evolving, the food served here is made in a traditional Thai way but presented with a cool slash chic innovative touch. So expect to see many of your classic Thai dishes be given a makeover, reimagined look. The food, meanwhile, is umami-packed and nutritious and the service is attentive and very, very knowledgeable; the servers can give you the full-on details about each dish as if they were the cooks themselves. Also, TAAN is the kind of restaurant that will never deceive you about where its ingredients come from; the venue will tell you straight up the name and the people behind each ingredient and the stories behind the products they use.
So to end this on a clear note, TAAN is truly the place you should go to celebrate Thai food and all the people that are behind and evolving with it.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri (for lunch): 12-2:30 pm; Mon-Sun (for dinner), 6-11 pm.
Recommended Dishes: Fermented Organic Pork, Stir-fried Hinlay Blue Swimmer Crab and Grilled Crispy Pork Belly.
Price: THB 2,100++ for the 9-course tasting menu.
Noise Level: Quiet
Service: Attentive and very friendly
TAAN, 25th Fl. Siam@Siam Design Hotel, Bangkok, +6665 328 7374