Talad Noi’s Quirky New Bistro
Sharing a massive former warehouse with always-full Oldtown Hostel, 80/20 combines the efforts of three co-owner chefs. Head chef Napol Jantraget honed his skills at Toronto’s Creme Brasserie and later at Bangkok’s Rocket Coffeebar, where he met Nattha “John” Techamethakul, and their partner Japanese chef Saki Hoshino takes care of pastries, breads, and desserts.
This creative Talad Noi restaurant takes its name from the Pareto Principle. Also known as the “law of the vital few,” the paradigm claims that 80 per cent of all effects come from 20 per cent of all causes. In the case of this restaurant, you might say it means a global approach to local dishes and ingredients—Thai flavour profiles informed by international cooking techniques.
The chefs have preserved the industrial origins of the building. Thai-themed iron grille-work sourced in the neighbourhood adds an arty touch. According to Nattha, the restaurant serves a mixed local crowd of expats and Thais. Produce comes from a small organic garden in Suphanburi and from nearby street markets, while fresh sugarcane juice and coconut products are sourced from shops in the block just behind the restaurant. And the menu changes once every couple of weeks.
A pennywort colada (B290), made from fresh pineapple, fresh coconut juice, and Chalong Bay Rum blended with bai bua bok (pennywort), is an excellent starter. So is a Tid Koh (B220), in which said rum is mixed with sugarcane juice and coconut nectar foam and topped with chopped kaffir lime leaves. The cocktails are subtly sweet and savoury at once, a nice change from the saccharine mixes many Bangkok bars produce. All beers, wines, and spirits are locally sourced, including bottles of Gran Monte, a Thai-owned vineyard in Khao Yai.
Start with a mind-blowing dish called F**k n’Flowers (sic), named for the variety of Thai pumpkins (fak) which appear on the plate. Roasted pumpkin and young green pumpkin are joined by crispy pumpkin foliage and edible butterfly pea flowers. The concept and plating offer fresh visuals, while remaining familiarly Thai in flavour. A definite home-run. A prawn ceviche, meanwhile, offers a pleasing combination of brine, crunchy fresh tomatoes, and tart lime.
A plate of pan-fried squid sparingly dressed with a Thai-inspired tamarind sauce, as well as a lemongrass white sauce, is delightful. Even more impressive is seared fresh seabass with lemongrass beurre blanc and potato hash on the side. It’s best finished with a soufflé-like, fresh-baked molten chocolate topped with homemade vanilla-chilli ice cream, or a fluffy lemongrass-and-coconut panna cotta served with roselle-ginger coulis (B180 each).
1052-1054 Charoen Krung 26 | 08 7593 1936 | facebook.com/8020bkk | daily except Tuesday, 5pm-10.30pm