A story of dreams that come true.
By Federico Brandi
How many times have you heard of someone whose dream it is to open a restaurant or a bar?
Natakorn Changrew (Thumb) was working in the real estate sector, and his creativity and artistic side brought him to study mixology in Hawaii. Arin Malhotra was studying in Australia, where he worked as a business development manager for the IT sector. But despite being involved in completely different sectors, Thumb and Arin had something in common: a passion for food and drink. And that was the start of Perfume: Fragrance Bar and Aromatic Cuisine, a place where they “sell experiences of the senses” and with which both saw the dream of opening a bar and restaurant—with a strong character and a story behind it—come true.
“The cocktail market in Thailand is very young,” says Thumb. “Men still think of them as something fruity and with little umbrellas. I studied in the Hawaii, I know that!”
“That’s one of the reasons why many cocktail bars become wine bars,” adds Arin.
It took the pair a year and half to decide on the concept of their new place, as they were looking for something both fashionable and easy to sell. “I thought: when I create cocktails, I have to think of the balance of ingredients. It could be similar to the creation of perfumes. So I decided to take a short course on perfumery when I was in France,” explains Thumb. Combining his background in mixology—which he warns us not to call “molecular gastronomy” —and his knowledge in perfumery, he started forging a new path for their place.
“Perfume was perfect,” continues Arin. “It is unisex, fashionable, and classic, but still, perfumes evolve. That’s the concept we were looking for: to create something classical but futuristic. We want sell an experience of the senses.”
Having figured out the concept, the next step was the location. “We wanted to be on Thong Lo,” says Arin, “We were really stubborn about that.” And so, Perfume is now located at the left corner of 8 Thonglor Building, in Sukhumvit Soi 55.
According to Arin, the concept of perfume is reflected in every detail: food, drinks, and design. “We worked with very talented interior designers to express in the design of the place the same combination of classic and futuristic we have in food and drinks, and we came up with a neo-European concept,” he says. And, yes, the use of metal in contrast to classic materials such as marble, leather, and wood does give Perfume a post-modern look.
The venue features a very large bar and an open kitchen, to show the skills and quality behind every product. “We produce our ice with pH control, and we grow most of our ingredients,” explains Thumb. “Every alcohol we use has no preservatives, improving drastically the quality of the drinks.”
“Tastes are limited, so stimulating the different senses and using food science is like adding colors to your palette,” says Thumb.
Another important part is presentation. “Molecular gastronomy is usually all about test tubes and gels,” he continues. “It is fascinating but repetitive, and it tends to fade in clients’ memories. We want something that lasts.” And there’s nothing that can remind us so much of strong memories than smell.
The kitchen and the bar cooperate constantly, and chefs and bartenders exchange ideas and tools to create new things. Every dish with a “V” in the menu is for vegetarians and, and they can even make it vegan, if you ask; gluten-free options are also coming up soon.
The staff’s attention to detail is almost excessive, and I can feel the extreme level of professionalism they want to achieve in everything. “We want to revise the classics, adding a personal touch to the standard ingredients and recipes,” they say. And, how lucky are we, that they were willing to give us a real example of this by sharing the recipe of one of their classics with Lookeast’s readers: the “Bangkok Blush,” a spinoff of the traditional margarita.
If you wish to try something out of the ordinary, Perfume will give you a delectable experience through the senses. Try the Bubble-52 and let us know though www.facebook.com/LookeastMag how you liked it!
Perrier sparkling water
Syrup (it can be prepared by boiling water and sugar at a 1:1 ratio)
Butterfly pea flowers
1. Add the butterfly pea flowers to the syrup to give it a dark blue color.
2. Mix 1 part tequila, 1 part butterfly pea flower syrup and ½ part of triple sec
3. Add Perrier and shake
4. Prepare the glass by putting some salt on half a side, and keep the lime on the other side. When you pour on the lime juice, the blue will change to a bright pink, creating a beautiful effect.