Bar food will never be the same once you’ve gotten it on-rather-at-the Black Market
The name may conjure up a dark alley, shady characters, and sawdust (or perhaps splattered blood) on the floor. In fact, the new Black Market Public House commands the front spot of the most respectable tourist mall along lower Silom, is fronted by plenty of windows and open patio areas, and, but for its exposed ceiling pipes painted black, looks like one of the more wholesome and amply comfortable spots to imbibe in Bangkok.
As for the aforementioned beverage accompaniments, they are far more than the usual, predictably salty nibbles. That’s because the menu, limited in choices but not taste, has been created by Tim Butler, the experienced American chef at Eat Me (as listed among Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants), who once described his style of cuisine as “anything that tastes good from anywhere.” As lovingly executed by Spanish head Chef Guillermo “Billy” Canicero, this is a world protein tour in which everything, even the profiterole dessert, is made from scratch.
Begin with pig trotter nuggets with aioli, or even more remarkably, melt-in-your mouth croquettes that are stuffed with penang duck curry and hints of lemongrass, a burst of Thailand all in one bite (B150/4 pieces). That’s about as far as fusion goes here, though there are decidedly Mediterranean touches, as in the beautifully presented platter of cheese and charcuterie, the Iberian ham and Nduja sausage with gazpacho-like dip, and the goat cheese accompanied by dried figs and honey.
A pail full of mussels cooked with fennel and white wine also comes with tangy tomato-based sauce. There are oysters on offer, as well, plus smoked burrata and an astounding sandwich where manchego cheese melts into gelatinous hints of bone marrow and comes topped with a tart onion jam (B300 for each of the above). If that’s not enough fat, the hefty burger and thin-sliced steak are all wagyu, all the time—both superb, and at B450 for the former, B500 for the latter, it’s one-third the price it might be in Manhattan or Japan.
Prosecco and wine hold court at surprisingly affordable prices, too, starting at B150 for a 150ml pour. The small menu of draft beer—Leo, Vedett White, Guinness, Brewdog Punk IPA—also takes it easy on the wallet, though maybe not as easy on the liver, at B80 (Leo) to B155 (Punk IPA) for a 300ml glass of the good stuff.
If there is something vaguely illegal about the food at Black Market, it’s the amount of cholesterol made palatable. This place is clearly not for the faint-of-heart valves. And it seems a bit of a challenge to the usual rules of pub grub to find just how bracing this menu is, and how much it might keep patrons from filling up on the alcohol—of course, offered in creative forms like a white rum passion fruit mojito, or the Come & Go, a mix of goji berry-infused vodka, guava juice, honey, and lime (cocktails are B150 each).
Contraband flavours and fluids are all out in the open here.
Baan Silom, 887 Silom Rd | 0 2266 8661 | facebook.com/blackmarketpublichouse | daily 4pm-1am
By John Krich