A place where an unabashed passion for eating unites virtually all its citizens, Bangkok has long prided itself on its reputation as a culinary Mecca. And that status was further bolstered in 2018 when Michelin launched its first Thailand guide.
Pioneers such as Nahm, Bo.Lan, Paste, Le Du and Issaya Siamese Club have long been influential in applying significant tweaks to the upscale Thai dining experience in the Kingdom’s capital.
But the arrival of the French fine dining bible has helped a fresh crop of Thai chefs reserve seats at the very top table of the city’s fine dining scene. This phalanx of exciting upstarts includes Michelin star winners Saawaan and Sorn and future near-certs 80/20 and Front Room. All four of which benefit from the cooking skills of Thais.
Their boundary-burning flair is indicative of a dining scene that is finally providing a stage for gifted Thai tyros to push the limits of their native cuisine—and also to branch out in new directions. For diners eating at the cutting edge of Bangkok’s fine dining scene, this divergence from tradition is a delicious one.
They tend to do things a little differently in Bangkok’s older quarters. Here, in the warren of streets flanking the Chao Phraya River, the roost is ruled by characterful shophouses and markets where stallholders peddle everything from pirated Cantonese blue movies to People’s Republic ephemera.
Given the area's individualism, it provides a fitting home for 80/20: one of Bangkok’s most adventurous dining venues where Napol “Joe” Jantraget and his Japanese partner Saki Hoshino—the restaurant’s creative driving forces—mastermind multi-course epics that include numerous curveballs.