Bangkok and Lima are no doubt my favourite cities to experience food in general, but especially “fine dining”. If you read my feature on The Maker’s The Hit List, or Fine Dining Redefined in Hong Kong, you’ll know that this concept often makes me cringe.
But a number of restaurants on the World’s 50 Best or Asia’s 50 Best lists stray far away from the white tablecloths stereotype of fine dining, and focus on creating an experience of a meal. For example, the experience at World’s #5 Central in Lima taught me everything I wanted to know about unique Peruvian ingredients at different altitudes.
Asia’s #36 The Dining Room of The House on Sathorn in Bangkok brought me a similarly impressive experience, teaching me much more than just Turkish cuisine, but also how to get creative.
The Dining Room of The House on Sathorn
As soon as I got off my Uber to check in at W Bangkok, this beautiful house next door had my full attention as I eagerly turned to a friend, to ask “what is that???” I was then immensely thankful that I had already made a reservation at The Dining Room, situated in The House of Sathorn, serving Turkish-inspired dishes incorporating fresh Asian ingredients.
Despite the grandeur of the exterior, the best part about dining out at top restaurants in Bangkok is that prices are always extremely reasonable compared with other major food cities, such as London, Hong Kong or Singapore. The same is true in Lima. In both these countries, a tasting menu typically costs approximately US$100-150, half or even a third of the prices elsewhere.
Signature Journey Tasting Menu (THB3,800)
My favourite part about tasting menus at a restaurant so acclaimed like The Dining Room is the learning. Chef Fatih Tutak placed so much attention into the details of every dish, he had me constantly curious, questioning the ingredients and where exactly influences or inspirations were drawn from.
5 Very Creative Turkish Fusion ‘Mezzes’
The journey started with 5 ‘mezzes’ or starter dishes. Each and every bite had its own wow factor, almost impossible to describe with words. The fancy-fied Turkish yaprak sarma topped with Japanese sea urchin and caviar set the bar high for the night. But the next candidate, deep fried mussels with a recreated edible shell, definitely lived up to the standards.
I was also constantly reminded by Fatih to stop munching on the Turkish Pide (bread) and lathering scoops of the cultured butter and honeycomb on top, in order to save stomach space for the 10 remaining ‘main’ courses of the meal. It was a warm, addictive and unforgettable combination.
Excellent use and execution of Japanese ingredients
We then moved on to sample 8 different ‘main’ dishes. Fatih uses a lot of premium Japanese ingredients in his menu, including the sea urchin as one of the mezzes and Kyoto farm tomatoes. But my favourite has to be the tuna belly from Tsukiji – the quality of the ingredients were excellent, but more importantly the creations and executions were faultless.
Highlight ‘From my Mum…’
With 15 courses as part of the Signature Journey, I’d be lying if I said every single dish was equally memorable. While every bite was intriguing and delicious, the ‘From my Mum…’ mantis/dumplings is definitely one I think of first when I look back on this meal – not only for the taste, but also for the story.
Delusion has me believing I’m forever young and that therefore it’s completely OK to have no clue what I want to do with my career. Just kidding, I don’t actually believe it’s delusion, as most people feel this way, with the occasional exception like Fatih.
He was surprised to learn that I still don’t know what I want to do (in life). I was curious: “You knew you wanted to be a chef when you were 16?” Nope. He started cooking at 7 years old alongside his mother and shortly after started cooking for others. These eggplant-filled Turkish dumplings was a recipe inspired by his mother, who does not eat beef – the usual filling in this traditional comfort food. Topped with saffron, sided with ‘mint butter’ and kaymak (a Turkish clotted cream), I only wish comfort food was always exactly this.
Refreshing Sweet Ending
The desserts were equally impressive and pleasantly unlike the usual offerings. The ‘Hallucination of Winter’ featured a light snowy-textured yogurt which felt like the natural part of the journey to clean the palate and refresh the body after the flavourful main dishes. But my favourite was no doubt the chestnut tart, which had a lava filling, and came with a side of Turkish coffee ice cream. I could not have felt more satisfied at this point.
Underrated, Must-Visit Top Restaurant of Bangkok
Even as it is ranked #36 in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, I still feel The Dining Room on The House of Sathorn is underrated. A lot of fresh Japanese ingredients were used in the Turkish-Asian dishes and it’s hard not to impress with that alone. But more importantly, the overall experience was extremely varied and intriguing. Chef Fatih Tutak struck a fine balance between quality ingredients, creativity and excellent execution, that made this meal a beautiful unforgettable experience.
The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn (next to W Bangkok)
106 Sathon Nuea Rd,