reviewed by : Melissa Richter
08 February 2019
While the “chefs table” were all the rage in Bangkok a few years ago, this is a dining trend that has been on a steady decline. That’s all about to change if Chef Andy Yang has anything to say about it. He is committed to bringing back this concept with his flagship fine dining restaurant Table 38.
Born in Thailand, Chef Andy rose to fame in New York City when his Greenwich Village based Thai restaurant Rhong-Tiam received a Michelin star back in 2009. He has since gone on to open a multitude of venues around the world, with Table 38 being his pride a joy. “I am trying to create one of the most unique dining experiences in the world,” asserted Chef Andy. Yet, finding the restaurant can be a bit of an adventure in itself. My first impression of Chef Andy is that he is incredibly knowledgeable, wickedly intelligent, and defiantly confident with a sharp wit and bold sense of humor. “I am very particular about everything I do. That’s why there is no signage. I do not pay for any advertisement either, I prefer word of mouth. I want people to have to work a little bit to find us, if I could have found a more secluded space, I probably would have”, he added with an impish grin. This is a man who takes immeasurable pleasure in meticulous details. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you exactly where it is; suffice to say, it’s hiding in plain sight in the lobby of a residential condominium on Sukhumvit Soi 38.
The restaurant doubles as Chef Andy’s fulltime “test kitchen” and is the place where he develops and curates new recipes, trains his staff for his other restaurants, and let’s his culinary creativity run wild. With just one table and only 12 seats, there is a 6PM and 9PM slot for dinner only. It took us over six months to secure a booking and reservations need to be booked up to a year in advance. If Chef Andy is not in town, there is no dinner, and a visit to Table 38, is like a personal invitation to climb into the mind and the soul of Chef Andy as he takes you on a very personal journey into his philosophy of life. “This is a museum and a time machine through my memories”, he stated. You can choose a 10 or 12 course menu while the chef shares personal stories about the cuisine, and gives you unparalleled access to ask questions and engage in an unprecedented manner.
In many ways, it is like a "Masterclass" in gourmet cuisine, where he shares all his secrets and cooking techniques, it’s a real “foodies” dream. I was asked not to reveal too many of the dishes we ate so that when you visit, it will be new to you. What I will say is that he has 5 menus as alternatives based on his memories and travels. These are "Childhood, High School, University, Work & Travel". The focus is also firmly on the five senses of "Flavor, Texture, Temperature, Color and Aroma". He uses only the highest quality ingredients, coupled with both ancient and modern cooking techniques like “sound” and “speed” (ask him about hiscentrifuge)to create his dishes, often with the intention of minimizing the use of heat to preserve the natural micronutrients in the food. “Playing God with food is all about controlling the temperature", he said. Case in point is the Lamb chop, which I MUST mention. A modern interpretation of a Massaman curry, this is the most brilliant version of a lamb I have ever tasted. It looks almost raw in appearance with seemly unrendered fat, yet it is actually cooked to a perfect medium rare so that it delicately melts in your mouth. This is skillful cookery, and dare I say may just be one of the best bites of meat you will ever try. “The most important ingredient is time, I created this restaurant because I wanted to be able to take my time, and let people enjoy food when it’s not being rushed”. Other highlights you will be in store for are an intensely satisfying tomato that takes four and a half hours to prepare, a bevy of rich and complex sauces, perfectly executed proteins and some soulful soups and sweets.
What I like about Table 38, is that it is so much more than just a great meal. It’s a gourmet journey where you get to peel back the layers and discover for yourself some truly innovate cuisine. Chef Andy invites you into his world and shares his passion and avant-garde cuisine in a memorable and authentic way.