11 April 2018

  • reviewer's rating :
summary : Under chef-proprietor Deepanker “DK” Khosla, Haoma describes itself as Bangkok’s first urban farm restaurant.

About: Haoma has been created by Chef Deepanker Khosla, known to all as DK, who rose through the ranks of one of the biggest international hotel companies but felt stifled by the lack of creativity and disturbed by the waste that occurred in the sourcing, transporting and cooking of the food. The restaurant is claimed to be Bangkok’s first zero-waste outlet, growing its own green produce in aquaponic beds, feeding its own fish tanks with recycled water, sourcing its meat produce from sustainable local producers, and aiming to become completely carbon negative by next year. All this while serving European fine dining cuisine. Yes, it can be done: DK is doing it.

Décor: Located in the far reaches of Soi 31, and hidden in behind another restaurant that must have become rather tired of being asked for directions, Haoma is in a charming little house and opened last November. The interior is somewhat bare, in keeping with the honesty of the cuisine: bare floor, wood chips in racks against the wall, a neat wooden bar tucked in the corner next to the kitchen, and greenery everywhere in pots. The real attraction is in the courtyard, where the urban farm grows almost 40 kinds of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs, and where a staff member, or DK himself if he has time, will cheerfully show you around. Most of the greenery grows atop aquaponic tanks, using certified organic soil and water recycling systems, with the produce most irresistible to insects being shrouded in sala-like nets.

Menu: Our party tried two of Haoma’s cocktails: a dry gin infused with grapefruit and Thomas Henry tonic (400 baht), and a green blending of gin, avocado, kale, apple and celery (400 baht). All of the wines – and there are nearly forty of them – are either organic or from sustainable producers. We selected a bottle of Domaine du Coulet from the Côtes du Rhône (2,250 baht), which had both depth and fruitiness, and which carried us all the way through DK’s menu. Our salad entitled Stick to the Roots (420 baht) was served in an upside-down way so that the tubular roots were pointing skywards, and included heirloom carrots cooked sous-vide, local roots, charred jicama, and pickled lotus root. We had a serving of Burrata and the Bubbles (450 baht), with the creamy burrata made in-house, three kinds and colours of tomato, and a topping of tomato foam (the Bubbles). Duck Liver Rediscovered (490 baht) had the liver served as cubes of terrine divided by charcoal crisps and a sorbet made from brown bread. Homemade faggotini (620 baht) was little wonton-style pasta dumplings filled with fresh ricotta and with a sauce of morels, wild mushrooms and burnt garlic. Duck breast (630 baht) came from local duck and was served with pomegranate and dates. Hungarian goulash (980 baht) arrived in the surprising form of a steak, although a surprisingly light one, and was coated in a goulash glaze and sour cream foam.

Evaluation: There are other restaurants in town that have their own organic gardens and can even claim to be, to some extent, urban farms, but none as comprehensively or as spectacularly as Haoma. The management and service is impeccable.