SRA BUA BY KIIN KIIN
By : JOHN GRANVILLE
29 October 2019
Retaining its one-star rating in the Michelin Guide to Bangkok 2019 (now extended to include Phuket and Phang-nga), Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin continues to push the boundaries of Thai food into extraordinary, molecular-gastronomy directions.
The aim of the restaurant has always been to dazzle and create a memorable culinary adventure for every guest, and this is not an easy trick to pull off year after year. Yet Chef Chayawee Sutcharitchan, in collaboration with Chef Henrik Yde-Andersen of Copenhagen’s famous Kiin Kiin restaurant (which also has one Michelin star) still has diners agog.
His newest set menu was introduced at the end of October. Entitled the Winter Journey Dinner, it has eight courses and is priced at 3,200 baht. A wine pairing is available at 2,300 baht.
The Kempinski Hotel is tucked into Siam Square somewhere behind Siam Paragon, and old timers who venture into this enormous area of hotels, shopping malls, car parks and access roads are astounded even now by the fact that much of this space was once taken up by a single hotel, the old Siam InterCon, and its vast expanse of gardens. Even the taxi drivers sometimes have difficulty finding the hotel.
The decor of Sra Bua is gorgeous: richly coloured drapes and wood, a golden-hued Thai sala, chairs in royal purple, a lily pond, and an abstract rice field.
Behind Chef Chayawee’s exquisitely composed food presentation, using global cooking techniques, the familiar flavours of traditional Thai dishes are well maintained, although far from being home-style cooking.
Winter Journey is based upon the flavours of the cool Thai winter months, and begins as does every menu at Sra Bua with a selection of reconstructed street food, in lite-bite form.
The menu properly leads off with tom yum served with prawn, topped with a Thai taco (yes, there is such a thing – now!). The classic raw dish of ceviche is reimagined here with scallop, and a sorbet made from ginger and yuzu, with flakes of coconut snow.
Tom kha is served like a cappuccino, in a glass cup, with wild mushrooms and truffle. Yellow curry is a gentle cream with chunks of crabmeat and corn. The savoury courses end with Wagyu beef served with soy sesame butter, and baked rice with five spices.
Dessert, not usually a great feature of a Thai meal, is a dramatic serving of orange cake with passion-fruit foam and kumquat, with vanilla ice cream.
The playful flavours and elements of the Winter Journey set menu are crafted and choreographed with care and precision to bring out the distinctive Thai flavours in each dish using daring combinations. The staff, as always at Sra Bua are well informed and happy to provide explanations.
The Winter Journey dinner menu is a very good seasonal reason to treat your partner, friends or business associates, because as is the intention, this is very much a memorable menu in a memorable setting.