By : MELISSA RICHTER
14 June 2017
About: Coined as “Inspirational Bangkokian Cuisine” Canvas is breaking down barriers and redefining what local food is. The kitchen is headed up by Chef Riley Sanders who originally hails from Austin Texas. He combines skill and precision with a razor sharp palate and talent for combining new ingredients and balancing flavors. His youthful energy and ambition are apparent, and he approaches cooking with reckless abandon for any concrete rules about food. “I think the best restaurants are the ones that can only be found at a particular location. By using ingredients by local farmers and from the local markets in new ways, the food has a sense of place that it otherwise would not have” shared Chef Riley.
Décor: Canvas is warm and inviting and a genuine respite from the trendy new eateries that dominate the Bangkok food scene with their industrial chic decor. Instead of being greeted by dark interiors with metal and glass, you enter a rustic space bathed in buttery caramel brown, beige and hues of cream. The main entrance draws your eye to the two massive arched windows framed in wood near the front and the subway tiled bar and open kitchen that dominates the space. There is dining on two levels with a second stylish full service bar upstairs. Seating downstairs encompasses leather bound bank seating along with views to the open kitchen as well as a few small tables by the big windows and bar seating that is just inches away from the action in the kitchen. Wooden accents and octagon mosaic tiles on the floor add a masculine charm while the plaster walls add character and texture.
Menu: Their small and focused menu is listed from lighter to heavier dishes, and it is recommended that you order a few and share. Start out with the elegant and refined Scallop, Daikon, Mulberry & Szechuan Pepper along with their signature Gin & Tonic w/ Mangosteen. Next try the Charred Sweet Corn, Green Chili, Tomme de Chiang Rai, Fish Sauce & Egg Yolk. This dish is so visually pleasing that you almost don’t want to eat it. The corn is crushed and thickened with its own milk, and it coalesces into an ostentatious dish that is other-worldly. Another highlight is the clever Mud Crab w/ Lotus Swamp Algae & Rice Paddy Herb. The dish playfully mimics the environment that the crab naturally lives in and is delicious to boot. I also really enjoyed the Meklong Catfish Caramelized w/ Tamarind Eggplant, Grape & Coconut. It’s an ingenious offering that highlights the fish in an intriguing way, and the salty sweet elements only enhance the experience. For red wine, opt for the Cahors Malbec by Chateau de Gaudou, 2015. Another stunning accomplishment is the Lamb Neck w/ Blood Clam, Sataw Bean, Preserved Plum & Charcoal. This is perfection on a plate with all the ingredients celebrating one another. The clam and lamb are a match made in heaven, and the stinky bean (sataw) adds a delightful earthy element. I also thoroughly enjoyed the perfectly cooked Pigeon Two Ways w/ Roasted Watermelon & Wild Pepper Leaf which reminded me of a reinterpretation of a southern American favorite of chicken, watermelon and greens. End your meal with the moist Roasted Chestnut Cake w/ Bael & Tangerine and a scoop of their homemade Holy Basil or Honey & Starfruit ice cream.
Evaluation: Canvas is a restaurant on the rise and they will be someone to watch as they are doing something completely avant-garde. The ability to take local Thai ingredients and use them in a modern way makes for truly adventurous dining. Chef Riley and his team are throwing all caution to the wind and combining ingredients in a way that is unexpected and delightful. Canvas is one of a few new restaurants at the forefront of redefining Bangkok cuisine and this is one place you will want to visit to get a taste of the future right now.