Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn opened his first Bangkok restaurant, Le Du, at the end of 2013, after polishing his craft in Michelin-starred Jean-Georges and The Modern in New York. Le Du’s experimental approach to modern Thai cooking quickly gathered a cult following.
For his second restaurant, the chef returns to his roots, working with more traditional recipes collected from his own family. Le Du is about passion, while Baan is about soul. The stylishly modern dining room occupies the lower floor of a small two-story building on Withayu Road. Upstairs is an open kitchen with a window to a private, reservation-only dining area.
As at Le Du, all meats, seafood, eggs, and produce that go into the meticulously re-created home cooking hail from small farms which practice all-natural, environmentally sustainable farming and ranching. Even the jasmine rice is organic. Chef Ton, who is a certified sommelier, has put together an exemplary wine list intended to pair well with Thai dishes. Particularly tasty is the cabernet from Argentina.
Somtum Thai starts things off with stimulating tartness and plenty of chilli. Somtum Pu, with fermented crab, and Somtam Pu Pla Ra, with fermented crab and raw fish sauce (B120 each), cater to those with a taste for the funky.
Phla Kor Moo Yang (B350), one of Baan’s signature dishes, departs from the traditional by mating delicate slices of pork jowl with the lime juice and seasonings normally reserved for raw seafood. Once you get used to the flavours, it’s irresistible. More traditional Phla Kung – shrimp marinated in typical phla manner – is also available.
Fried sun-dried pork, a staple of almost every Thai restaurant in the kingdom, reaches new levels in Moo Dad Deaw by adding sesame to the savoury marinade. Better order two plates as it disappears fast.
Kaphrao Nua (B350), made with dry-aged minced beef, is a big hit. This humble dish seems to get increasingly less respect in Thailand these days, yet here it receives the royal treatment with a perfect balance of flavours.
Another iconoclastic dish on the menu is Kai Palo Tom Saab (B280), a successful marriage between Thai-Chinese five-spice egg and Isan spicy soul-food soup. Other promising riffs include the southern Thai-style yellow curry with sea bass and the Po Tak, a spicy seafood soup laced with basil, both good to share. For those flying solo, or simply wanting to eat their own meals, one-dish choices, such as rice fried with tom yum seafood or rice noodles stir-fried with seafood, have you covered.
139/5 Withayu Rd | 0 2655 8995 | baanbkk.com | Wed-Mon 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm