December 8, 2017
The Michelin Man had a busy night in Bangkok this week, congratulating the many new Michelin-star chefs in Thailand’s capital. Announced by Michelin’s International Director Michael Ellis at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok on Wednesday, a gala dinner was held at the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok to celebrate the Michelin-starred restaurants and present the chefs with their prestigious Michelin-star jackets.
Featuring in the new 2018 Bangkok Michelin Guide, there were three two-star winners and 14 one-star winners.
Thai One Stars
The night was a great one for Thai chefs; seven of the one-star restaurants featured Thai cuisine from Thai chefs.
Diners searching for restaurants with a focus on tradition and unique flavors will want to try Chim by Siam Wisdom, Bo.lan, and Saneh Jaan. Saneh Jaan in particular prides itself on rarefied ingredients and creative dishes, whereas Bo.Lan is more traditional, but by no means pedestrian under chefs Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones.
More innovative Thai cuisine was recognized by Michelin in the form of the likes of Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, which Michelin stated respects traditional Thai flavors and ingredients but transforms them to produce something creative and original. Also of note were the Thai flavors at Nahm, found at the Como Metropolitan Bangkok, and Paste, which features a husband and wife crew: Thailand-born Chef Bee Satongun and Australian-born Chef Jason Bailey.
But the biggest surprise came with a star to Jay Fai, or Auntie Fai, whose humble crab omelette shop has been wowing visitors for decades. Owner and chef Jay Fai uses her tiny open kitchen and her homemade charcoal stoves to continue her father’s 70-year legacy: crab omelettes, crab curries, and dry congee.
International One Stars
When it comes to international cuisine, there’s the one-star Ginza Sushi-ichi, a sushi restaurant known for its ingredients being delivered Tokyo markets every day. For contemporary German cuisine there’s Sühring, run by the Mathias and Thomas Sühring brothers, described by Michelin as both playful and classic.
Four French restaurants made the one-star cut. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon features executive chef Olivier Limousin on the 5th floor of the MahaNakhon Cube and diners will find yet more award-winning French cuisine at J’AIME by Jean-Michael Lorrain in Sathorn. Just off the Ploen Chit BTS, Bangkok will find more fine French cuisine but with Japanese influences at Elements, and there’s yet more at Savelberg at Oriental Residence Bangkok on Wireless Road.
Only three restaurants were fortunate enough to be awarded two stars. Gaggan from chef/owner Gaggan Anand’s Indian cuisine took home two stars, with Michelin complementing his artful dishes, blend of textures, flavors, and delicate spices. The restaurant is set in a whitewashed colonial-style wooden house in downtown Bangkok, and the menus are inspired by seasonal ingredients.
Along the bustling Chao Phraya river, the Mandarin Oriental’s Le Normandie also found two stars at the gala. Having opened in 1958, the restaurant offers French cuisine served up by Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier who has more than two decades of experience. Found in one of Bangkok’s more photogenic areas, La Normandie’s highlights include the Oscietra caviar with sea urchin and potato, yellowtail kingfish with oyster and crabmeat, and lamb allaiton with eggplant and black garlic.
Lastly is Mezzaluna, found perched on the 65th floor of the Lebua Hotel. If the food isn’t enough to tempt diners, then the view will: 180 degree views of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic city. The restaurant’s European delights come from Chef Ryuki Kawasaki, and the specialties include tangerine marinated Scottish langoustine with lemongrass and sultana raisins, and Nagasaki Wagyu beef rib eye grilled over white binchō charcoal with Perigord truffle.
Yet to achieve their stars, 35 restaurants were awarded a Bib Gourmand, a distinction named for the Michelin Man, more officially known as Bibendum or Bib. ““We are proud to launch this first selection of the Michelin guide dedicated to Bangkok, highlighting the richness of the city’s gastronomy,” Ellis said regarding the launch of Michelin’s Bangkok Guide. “Our inspectors were thrilled to find a local culinary scene with an amazing vibrancy, myriad new restaurants, an astonishing variety of wonderful street food, but also Thai cuisine served in different forms.”