An exciting first venture for a popular TV personality, a legendary Japanese restaurant, and must-see dessert venue, among others – await you in one new dining destination!
by Percy Roxas & Christopher Scott Dixon.
So, another luxury lifestyle mall opened in Thonglor in August. What’s new, right? But The Taste complex in Thonglor Soi 11, built to the tune of THB 200-million, is being billed as “the new dining destination to be” in the city. And with restaurants such as the Iron Chef Table, which is under license from the famous “Iron Chef” TV show; Rosemary by Madame Tuang, which is the exciting first venture of the popular TV personality and cookbook author Madame Tuang; the legendary Tonkatsu Hamakatsu, which has over 106 branches in Japan; and the “terrifically tempting” Sweetery; the appellation seems just right.
“The Taste Thonglor offers the best in urban lifestyle,” says Suarttachat Julphalang, executive director of project development for Tamlaythong Development Co., Ltd. “As you can see,” Suarttchat says, “we are very selective in choosing the tenants.” Only premium restaurants and shops – including the three mentioned in this article – call The Taste Thonglor home. Whether or not The Taste lives up to its promise as the city’s “new dining haven” is perhaps a little too early to tell, but a visit to its leading restaurant tenants is obviously in order.
ROSEMARY BY MADAME TUANG
Among the three restaurants at The Taste that are fast stealing the limelight from some of Thonglor’s major dining hotspots, Rosemary by Madame Tuang is an easy favorite of local foodies, thanks to the owner’s many years of hosting “Foodwork,” a Thai TV cooking show.
Set at the back of Iron Chef Table, Rosemary by Madame Tuang boasts a gleaming all-white color scheme that lends the restaurant an airy, European elegance. A hands-on Madame Tuang is ever-present as the restaurant is her first baby, so to speak, and she wants to make sure that everything is flawless from the taste and the presentation to the service. And it was, based on our first visit there recently.
The dinner, as expected, was a veritable feast as the “Cooking Momma” brought out one of her house signatures: burrata cheese with a fresh cherry tomato and wild rocket salad. It looks deceptively simple, but the fresh Italian white cheese with unusual, soft texture blends perfectly with the freshness of the vegetables that encircle it. I just love this one!
Next is the spicy spaghetti with Thai anchovies. Spaghetti in Thailand comes in many forms, but there is a unique twist that gives this dish a symphony of flavors that only a Thai can compose; a comfort food that will titillate your taste buds.
But wait until she serves the “Seafood King.” This platter of mixed grilled seafood with some original Madame Tuang sauces really brings out the best in the seafood. More followed – from the grilled tiger prawns to the lemon rosemary cake, among others – and as we tasted them all, we were thinking about sharing the enjoyment with our loved ones for company.
To sum it up, the food obviously veers away from more traditional Thai cuisine. But great food is great food, anyway, and it is all presented in a way that engages all of the senses, which fortunately they were successful with. So, we rewarded the kitchen team by enjoying their creations to the very last bite.
In fact, to say that we just enjoyed them is a pure understatement, and it’s such a pity we don’t have enough space at this time for a really elaborate review.
But you must come to try them too. It took quite some time to persuade Madame Tuang to go beyond her TV shows and cookbooks and open her own restaurant, and those who have tasted her signature menus are asking: “why only now?”
Madame Tuang reiterates how she loves everything about food, but she pointed out that she would not have opened this restaurant if not for her daughter.
Well, Buddha bless her daughter; now we have another great place to visit in Thonglor when our hunger pangs strike! — by Percy Roxas
Tel: 02 254 5450
“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like,” commented great American writer Mark Twain. He was right, we thought, as we indulged unashamedly at Tonkatsu Hamakatsu, which is already building a strong reputation for the quality of its food and service. The name Tonkatsu means deep-fried, breaded pork cutlet.
The company was established in Japan in 1962 and its restaurants are extremely popular there. This Thonglor branch is the first outside of the country and judging from our enjoyable experience it certainly won’t be the last.
Stepping inside from a tall, glass-fronted exterior, you see muted brown colors, minimalist décor’, comfortable long sofas, high-backed chairs, and group-sized tables. To the right is the extremely tempting “serve-yourself” dessert bar, but we will get to that later. Opposite the dining seating is the closed cooking and preparation area.
I always look for that little extra something that gives a good first impression and this time it was the two packs of wet wipes for my wife and I – most welcome on a day that furnace-like outside. Sipping on some refreshing iced green teas we began with a flavor-filled salmon Caesar salad, tossed perfectly and crammed with the usual healthy ingredients.
Chopsticks were raised again, as a starter set arrived at our table. The premium pork was cooked in the style of the restaurant’s name and was delicious too. The sides of miso soup and vegetables were tasty accompaniments.
The Hamakatsu house special greeted us next – cheese cutlets, pork loin cutlet, pork filled cutlet and deep-fried prawn – all a pleasure on the palate.
We sipped on a glass of potent Shochu, which is a clear distilled spirit similar to vodka and actually more popular In Japan than the better known sake. Succulent broiled eel on a rice base finished the mains.
I had barely heard the word ‘dessert’ and I was already up like Usain Bolt from the block, sampling some glorious handmade goodies from the buffet. Tiramisu, cheesecake, green tea roll cake, and short cake. Cute mini-cupped grape, green tea jellies, and moreish sherbets were also wolfed down. I must stress, I did share them with my better half. — By Christopher Scott Dixon
You know the expression “like a kid in a candy store.” Well, dreams sometimes do come true as when we visited the Sweetery on the second floor of The Taste. It is a confectionery heaven established by talented Chef Sutinee “Tinee” Suvatana, who is already renowned for her eponymous Eatery workshop in the city; she chose the name as a combination of “sweets’ and “eatery.”
This is no china cup-clinking, raised little finger, genteel café, with soft jazz accompaniment, however. Sweetery is vibrant, playful, and creative, and that’s just the décor’ –from the patchwork orange and black exterior to the vibrant interior splash of bright colors, tribal art, and ceramic rhinos. An entire wall is adorned with them and they occupy key positions around the restaurant together with a ceiling suspended platform of plastic toys including dinosaurs and Barbie dolls. No fluffy cats or cute dogs here. Rhinos are in keeping with the aim of offering something bolder, stronger and far from the traditional notions of a slow life type café’. Funky disco and dance music keeps the party feel, as do the numbered group tables, low and high stools, and cushioned lounge sofa.
You are encouraged to “just dig in,” have fun, and get messy with the mega-sized dishes on the inventive menu, which uses high-quality ingredients, and visually stunning presentations all prepared from the large open kitchen. It also includes some gluten-free items.
The culinary offerings are cleverly divided into various sections-Soft and Splash, Sweetery Toast, Hot and Sweet, All Time Favorites, and Drinks. Think big here, these are maximalist self-indulgent goodies: Jaffa Chocca Rhino. Chocco Biccy. OMG! The decadent highlights continued with Berry Bang Bang and next a wonderful Nuttella Banoffe. Ah, Sweetery: Leave your dieting and guilt behind and enter paradise! — By Christopher Scott Dixon