Aksorn: Exciting, Complex Flavours
I first heard about Aksorn from a friend’s Facebook page and knew immediately that I wanted to try it. I am a longtime fan of Chef David Thompson—both from Nahm in Bangkok and Long Chim in Singapore. I didn’t like all of his food. In fact, I only liked some of it, but I was impressed by the way he worked hard to understand our traditional cuisine in its many facets, including high cuisine, home-cooked dishes, and even street food. I appreciate the way he uses certain Western techniques to help ingredients reach their fullest potential. And I have to admit: He cooks better than many Thai chefs in the current trendy food circles. Sorry, but too many of their dishes look like copies of things you see on Foodstagram, Foodporn, Pinterest—you name it.
I visited Aksorn with my parents. My first impression was that the interior was quite dark and a bit trendy for my 70-year-old mum and dad, but we all agreed that we loved the complexity of the food, which was inspired by an old recipe book from a high-society lady named Thanphuying Kleeb Mahidhorn. I am the kind of person who enjoys trying to determine all the various spices in each dish. Most dishes at Aksorn had a very complex flavour. I had to concentrate to figure out what they were made of. I felt like a sommelier, but instead of sipping wine, I was eating food. Layers upon layers of flavours emerged in my mouth: the meats, the herbs, the spices. It was fun concentrating so hard on what I was eating.
Another interesting concept at the restaurant is that they serve not only traditional Thai food but food that elite families ate in the past. Many of these dishes were influenced by Western food (like Moo Jang หมูจ้าง, which is pretty much like French Terrine) or Chinese food (like Stir-Fried Chicken with Spring Onion ไก่ผัดต้นหอม). Many families in the past had their own famous recipes of that kind. The Pungbun side of my family would do Thai-style chicken croquette and stir-fried macaroni with chicken, ham, and ketchup, which are still very popular today.
My favourite dish of the night was the Red Curry of Beef with Peanuts, Asian Citron and Thai Basil แกงเนื้ออร่อยใส่ ถั่วลิสงและสมซ่า. This dish was a true flavour symphony, with layer after layer of unique tastes and scents. I loved it. Braised Marble Goby with Wild Ginger ปลาบู่ต้มกระชาย was another tremendous dish. It features milder flavours, with the scent of Krachai that recalls the wild smell of the jungle. It’s hard-core in a nice and sophisticated way.
The desserts at Aksorn were truly Thai. The chef skillfully added a smoky scent to them. Not exactly like the เทียนอบ smell that we are all used to, but something even deeper that I couldn’t tell. I am normally not a big fan of Glazed Breadfruit สาเกเชื่อม, but I just loved the way they made it here and it ended up being my favourite dessert of the night beside the Kaomao Biscuit ข้าวเม่าบด, which is my all-time favourite regardless of where I am. The cocktails and wine list were also strong. There wasn’t a gigantic list, but the selections were very nice and seemed to go well with the spicy food they served. I saw some interesting local alcohol too. Shame on whoever wrote the law that gives such miserable lives to all the talented small producers. I believe that if we make up some folklore or history, similar to what the French do with their wines (like terrior, biodynamic, blah-blah), we would go very far internationally. Trust me.
Aksron at Central: The Original Store, 1266 Charoen Krung Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
Tel: +662 116 8662
E-mail: [email protected]