A new concept in Bangkok that you will love.
by Richard Mcleish
Restaurants the world over are thinking outside the box to bring innovations to discerning diners, reaching levels of creativity previously unseen in cuisine. From food trucks to foraged food menus, some of these trends are starting to find their way to Bangkok.
A pioneer of the new food movement in the city is Nang Gin Kui (Charoen Krung Soi 20, Chinatown, Bangkok; 085 904 6996; www.nangginkui.com), which means “sit, eat, chat” in Thai. Operating since New Year’s Eve 2011, the home-style “guerrilla dining” restaurant began on a modest scale by hosts Florian and Goy in their 15th-floor living room, with its million-dollar view of the Chao Phraya River. These days, the restaurant serves no less than 15 courses, paired with mid-range wines in what is a civilized affair. Needless to say, the crowd has evolved from backpackers to flashpackers and beyond.
A key element of the success of Nang Gin Kui has been its steady posting right at the top of the TripAdvisor website’s “restaurants in Bangkok” section. It’s the kind of advertising that money can’t buy and is no mean feat in a city with kitchens in every nook and cranny.
After meeting in the lobby of the nearby Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, it’s then a 10-minute stroll to the apartment. As the elevator spits you out on the 15th floor, the location suddenly makes sense, with the riverside panorama in full twinkling glory below. The room affords windows on three sides to showcase the view. The furnishings are simple but cosy, with a large floor table and cushions for diners to make themselves comfortable on. Easy music further relaxes the mood.
We started with a generous glass of Chevaliers de Malte sparkling. Welcoming host Florian will have your glass topped up before you’ve even noticed. The food, courtesy of Florian’s partner Goy and her team, began with a spoon of organic tofu with Japanese sauce and sesame to set the delicate tone of the menu. Of the 14 courses to follow, none disappointed. Highlights were the mieng baur loung, a mouthful of sweet goodness wrapped in a lotus leaf; gai hor bai toey, chicken wrapped in a pandanus leaf; and the delicately steamed dory fish; but no courses disappointed.
And as the courses flowed, so did the wine, and the group was all friends by the end of the night, exchanging emails and sincere well wishes on departure as we took the elevator back to street-level realities after an enchanting few hours. A great and social introduction to both Thai food and the city for any visitor.