Benares

After a decent period of Covid hiatus in Thailand, restaurant are starting to reopen their doors again apart from delivery service. Benares is a modern Indian cuisine from affluent area of Mayfair, United Kingdom which has opened their first branch in Bangkok since 2019. Firstly, the ambiance are luxurious and classic with black and gold theme which seems like a perfect fit for a special occasion. Staffs are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about their extensive menu.

Let’s start with Hot Kaadha.
An Immunity Booster Drink With Organic
Spices & with a Hint Of Jaggery,
{Served Piping Hot}

Tarbooz Kachumber Salad
Vanilla & Mint Marinated Watermelon Salad
With Cucumber Swirls , Rocket Leaves ,
Roasted Yellow Pepper & Dahi Phucka

A refreshing way to start a meal. Dahi Phucka commonly served in street as a explosion of flavor in your mouth. Combination of Watermelon salad and Cucumber Swirls are a perfect way to reduce the heat from curry and spices from non-vegeterian platter.

Non-Veg. Platter
Chicken Tikka, Lamb Seekh kebab,
Fish Tikka, Tandoori Prawns Served
With Thin Crispy Flavored Bread

Spectacular presentation of non-vegetarian platter. Tandoori prawns are a great contrast between sweetness from prawn with hot heat from Tandoori flavor. Fish Tikka, chicken Tikka and Seekh kebab are also enjoyable.

Classic Butter Chicken

One of the smoothest butter chicken I have ever had. Chicken are juicy and flavorful with a punch of spiciness. A perfect aromatic match for Naan or Pilau rice.

Paneer Sandesh
Cottage Cheese Slabs Stuffed With
Figs & Nuts, Lime Cashew Marinade

Paneer texture are smooth and the odor are quite mild.

Olive & Cheese Naan

Aromatic and served as a great combination with butter chicken curry.

Phirnee
Valhorna Manjeri & White Chocolate
Flavoured Phirnee, Almond Chikki,
Raspberry Fennel Leather

White chocolate (green ones) are just on point with smooth texture and satisfying aftertaste.

Gulab Jamun
Our Way Of Serving India’s Most Sought
After – Rose Cheese Cake, White Chocolate
Soil, Almond Saffron Caviar & Frozen Rose Petals

A surprising form of Gulab Jamun, more like a creative twist way to introduce Gulab Jamun in a more exciting way.

Saawaan

Saawaan [sà-wăn] สวรรค์ [ สะ-หฺวัน ] means ‘Heaven’ in Thai, which is the goal of Chef de cuisine and owner Sujira ‘Aom’ Pongmorn to elevate Thai cuisine through different techniques from grilling, steaming, stir-frying and fermentation. Using local ingredients sourced from all over Thailand.

Amuse bouche starts with JOK (congee) consisting of rice puree, grilled pork, and quail egg, deep fried shrimp packed with an explosion of satisfying taste, then cleansed with a twist of “Tang Mo Pla Hang” substituting watermelon with pineapple.

RAW – Ama Ebi/Cucumber/Coconut/Kaffir Lime Oil

Sweet and juicy Ama Ebi are one of my favorite ingredients all around due to their distinct flavor and texture. Normally found in Omakase course which makes it so exciting to try out a twist of Raw Ama Ebi in Thai style appetizer.

Packed with a flavorful soft and sweetness Ama Ebi texture with creamy coconut and spice blended underneath plus herbs on top. A pleasant way to start my Thai twist culinary experience.

DIP – Rice Paddy Crab/Somsaa/Red Curry Paste/Sicky Rice

Presentation wise, an exotic view of rice paddy crab apart from typical street food Som tum style. Rice Paddy Crab are creamy and contains a spark of sweetness which goes perfectly with Aromatic sticky rice. plus they provide extra sticky rice just in case you still craving for more.

STIR – FRIED – Frog/Lesser Ginger/Holy Basil/River Weeds

First of all, hands on presentation of frog on lotus leaf with hydrophobic lotus effect and first time I have seen frog sausage. A twist of spiciness and distinct aroma of Holy Basil leaf and chunk of soft texture. Crispy frog skin are just phenomenal crunch. Frog sausage was a good snacking bite.

FERMENTED – Fermented Noodle/Peanut/Mung bean/Organic Vegetables

This is a part where sour & spicy and sweet tooth persons part ways. The sauce are peanut packed flavor with strong sweetness flavor so if you are a sweet person, this one will probably make your day. I personally like a twist of good fermented noodle and delicious fried veggies.

BOILED – Ranong Barracuda/Snake Fruit/Tumeric/Acacia Leaves

First of all, no that was not pan-seared scallops. If you ever tried Thai yellow curry then you know about their distinct and strong aroma. Adding a sizzling and our snake fruit sourness elevated this dish to a more enjoyable level with tender and fresh Ranong Barracuda texture. Extra point for peeled snake fruit by the way.

MIANG – Chamuang/Thai Kumquat/Riceberry/Young coconut

Flavor explosion in your mouth! Normally, Miang are not even my thing and most newer generation. This one was simple and enjoyable with Thai Kumquat or Somjeed sourness with crispy Riceberry supported by Chamuang hebal aroma and Young coconut sweetness.

CHARCOAL – Nakhon Pathom Quail/Papaya/Prickly-Ash/Sida Tomato

When the staff are preparing a huge pot, your excitement just keep on increasing. Quail are served with sweet sauce which stand as an opposite spectrum to fine sliced papaya on sour with herbal scent.

CURRY – Beef Tongue/ Homemade Massaman Paste/Almond/Grape

A refreshing take on Massaman curry. Just learned that Massaman curry are originated from Persian empire during a spice trade boom. As expected, Massaman curry starts with strong sweetness. Fortunately, there are roti and rice cracker to balance things out.

Somzaa as a palette cleanser. *Extreme sourness explosion*

DESSERT – Chocolate from Chanthaburi/Chumpon/Chiang Mai

Thai cocoa trend have been booming for a while now. It was a good opportunity to taste and compare chocolate from each areas in the same dessert. Choux pastry was definitely enjoyable with a moderate balance sweetness and bitterness. With a brief moment, this whole plate was gone *Poof*

Petit four are comprised of “Khanom Beung “, toddy palm meringue and sweet basil; “Dhara Thong”, made of mango, passion fruit and watermelon seed; “Khanom Krock”, a coconut brulee tart.⁠ All of these little treats are at excellent quality. I could see myself buying these as a gift for a special occasion. I had numerous modern twist of Thai desserts which I am glad to see all of these are going in a not too sweet way yet elevating each ingredients.

100 Mahaseth

Bangkok has reached hot and arid summer season which could be easily cured with a sour and spicy packed flavor of Thai north-eastern (Isaan) cuisine. I already had a reservation at 100 Mahaseth before Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants expected revealed on Thursday, 25th March 2021 from 4.30pm (HK/Sing). Alongside Kyoto’s legendary Soba restaurant since 1465 Honke Owariya, 100 Mahaseth has been nominated as root-to-fruit, nose-to-tail and farm-to-table restaurant with 100 Smile Meals initiative to help farmers and suppliers during the pandemic.

100 Mahaseth are packed around lunchtime, the staff informed me that all guest have an advance booking so make sure to reserve before visiting. The ambiance seems to be rustic and simple with an imitation of Isaan vibe. Overall atmosphere seems to be a bit more relaxed than normal fine dining vibe.

Starting with a complimentary starters, crispy pork rind served with fresh vegetables and herbs. Accompanied with Thai Chimichurri, Jaew (Chili sauce with tamarind juice) and Jeaw Pla-ra with moderate spiciness.

Pineapple and Blood Cockle – A Spicy salad of pineapple and blood cockle with Pla-ra (Thai fermented fish sauce)

Blood cockle are famous for their metallic flavor and excessive blood when cooked which I try to stay away from as far as possible. In this particular case, the presentation was well-executed. Combination of sweet and sourness from pineapple with blood cockle and crunchiness from peanuts does blend together.

Som Tam Kai Yang – Marinated grilled chicken with papaya compressed in a seasoned fermented fish sauce with lime and chili

You think you have seen every form of Som Tam? A break from expected Somtum image we normally found in Thailand. Chicken are juicy and the seasoning does blend well too. I wish it would be stronger in the sour and spicy taste though.

Bone Marrow – Bone marrow roasted and buried in charcoal served with toasted perilla seeds, scallion, palm sugar, lime and lemongrass

Bone marrow have a fatty gelatinous texture which felt like a oily custard. One combination bite with toasted perilla seeds felt like a light herbal yummy treat. For the wow factors, this menu definitely got it and majority of the tables ordered Bone marrow.

Grilled sticky rice patties – Sticky rice from Khonkaen rolled into patties glazed with eggs and grilled

A gorgeous presentation of sticky rice apart from our common sight. Be wary of fermented fish on top though since it was extremely salty.

Grilled Braised Ox Tongue – Served with dry Bittergound relish

A generous portion of Ox tongue with a tender texture. Bittergound would be each individual preference due to their strong bitter flavor. Still a strong recommendation as simple and satisfying pick.

Grilled pork Chitlins (Sai-On Yang)

Simple and odorless with a enjoyable chewiness texture

Green Mango Sorbet – served with Naam Plawaan sugar shards with salt and chili marshmallow

Emulating simple green mango with Thai’s snack Naam Plawaan (Sweet fermented fish sauce). Green Mango Sorbet are balanced in sourness and sweetness supported by solidified Naam Plawaan just gave a new twist. Chili marshmallow resides more on a salty side which I would not mind have a full bag as a snack.

Coconut ice cream – in a brioche bun served with sticky rice and roasted peanuts

Packed with creamy and satisfying coconut milk flavor and shred golden thread which was originated from Portuguese Fios de ovos.

In conclusion, 100 Mahaseth offer a lot of twist to Isaan food which still retains enjoyable original taste. The staff are very friendly and informative yet a little bit overwhelmed with full table capacity though. I could see myself revisit this place again in the future.

What is your favorite Thai restaurant around you areas? Please feel free to share your favorite dishes and story.