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    Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

    A Play of Taste & Textures

      /  RESTAURANTS + BARS   /  A Play of Taste & Textures

    A young talented chef delivers inspired contemporary dining with Hawaiian-influenced flavors at 22 Kitchen and Bar

    by Laurence Civil
    Whole grilled Maine lobster, ramen gnocchi, miso-ginger tea

    Whole grilled Maine lobster, ramen gnocchi, miso-ginger tea

    22 Kitchen and Bar is the latest dining concept to take up residence on the 22nd floor of the Dusit Thani Hotel Bangkok (946 Rama IV Road; Tel 02 200 9000). The menu, created by Chef Nikolas Ramirez who was formerly with El Enacanto by Orient Express and Wine Cask (both in California, USA), is based on Pacific coastal cuisine. The Hawaiian-born chef has drawn together his Hawaiian and Latin roots with classical training, and no matter how hard he tries to be casual, the elegant, understated traces of his formal training still appear on each plate.

    Hawaiian cuisine has Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese influence woven into its culinary profile, brought to the table by the State’s immigrant community. It’s the result of a natural evolution rather than a chef-driven fusion. But Chef Nikolas’ food is more inspired rather than strictly authentic Hawaiian, as he takes liberties with his culinary license. He likes to play with tastes and textures.

    Whole grilled fish with Peruvian seafood paella and pickles

    Whole grilled fish with Peruvian seafood paella and pickles

    To start, he offers a selection from the “Bites” section of the menu: Two seasonal oysters with the chef’s secret and crispy mango. For vegetarians, there are fried vegetables with potato pockets, charred herbs, and brie cheese. A playful idea presented with culinary precision, the “Sunny Side Up”(scallops with spicy aioli and ponzu) has contrasting flavors that sit together harmoniously. The layered barbecued salmon belly on pressed por agro with tomato salsa is full of flavors and textures. And his kimchi quesadilla, with jalapeno, cheddar cheese, salsa verde, and sesame crunch puts Mexican and Korean influences together on a plate.

    Then we progressed to his catch of the day: a whole grilled sea bass with Peruvian seafood paella and pickles. Peruvians are passionate about rice and seafood, and the twist comes with the addition of Peruvian chili powder and colorful presentations.

    BBQ salmon belly on pressed potato with tomato salsa;

    BBQ salmon belly on pressed potato with tomato salsa;

    For the meat main course, we had grilled M4 Wagyu beef strip loin with exquisite wafer layers of gratin potato; the beef grilled perfectly medium-rare, and served with a ginger-garlic sauce accompanied by baby spring carrots. While trying to stay simple, there was a pleasing subtlety underlying this excellent dish. And to cap the meal: Adding Thai spices to his chocolate mousse not only lend it a sense of location but gave it a beautiful flavor-combination, which was perfectly paired with banana ice cream and crispy yellow bean.

    A contemporary inspired dining experience was delivered by a young talented chef. Delicious, fresh, and Hawaiian-influenced flavors are waiting for you at 22 Kitchen.