Pioneering fine dining in Bangkok for ten years and counting
A floor-to-ceiling column of water bottles dominates the interior of the Water Library Chamchuri. This location has been a staple figure in Bangkok’s fine dining scene for the past ten years.
Established in 2009 by Mr Pote Lee (aka Mr Lee), a global and local wine and water importer, Water Library received its name from his two favourite concepts; water and library. The restaurant is considered one of the trailblazers for Thailand’s fine dining scene.
Recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, Water Library Chamchuri has consistently offered an array of culinary delights. Today, the restaurant presents modern European and Asian fine dining cuisine in a refined setting with its youngest and first Thai national chef at the helm, Chef Puvadej Teachajirattakarn or Chef Tle.
He began his culinary curiosity early in his childhood watching his grandmother cooked and later pursue the journey of a chef in late teen years. While studying at the Dusit Thani Srinakarin College, he was working part-time in different restaurants.
His toughest trial came when he was apprenticing under Chef Mirco Keller at Water Library Chamchuri who has extremely high standards for every dish.
Chef Tle, in his quiet and reserved manner, admitted that working and learning under Chef Mirco was some of the hardest years that helped shape his life. Today, he is the first Thai national and also the youngest to hold the position of Chef de Cuisine at the Water Library Chamchuri.
“You have to be very passionate and a little bit crazy to be doing this well,” he said.
“I want to create menus that everyone can enjoy and remember for years to come. I want them to remember how happy they were eating here that they would bring their children and their children’s children to eat here.
“I’ve combined the Western cooking techniques together with the unique tastes of Asian ingredients. This coupled with Water Library’s unique fine dining atmosphere, I believe we can deliver on our promise,” he mused.
Today, Chef Tle works closely with Chef Haikal Johari, the longtime executive chef at Water Library, to bring diners the best and most creative menus.
The first dish was one of many signature dishes inspired by the Japanese Zaru Soba or cold Soba. Cold Pasta—soft pasta served with chi-o Wakame, seaweed from the deep sea from Japan with supple and delicious Hijiki mushroom, Tasmanian abalone shell and truffle oil. The combination offered wonderfully balanced.
Another savoury signature appetiser is homemade tofu cooked to a crunchy crust on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside served with a unique sweet and salty foie gras emulsion sauce, Shitake mushroom, topped with crispy fried garlic, dried bonito (crispy fish flakes) and fresh leek. The combination of sweetness in foie gras emulsion, the saltiness of the dried bonito and the texture of both tofu and fish flakes made for wonderful mouthfeel that leave diners hungry for more.
Next up was Chef Haikal’s famous signature, Chilean sea bass. A high fat cut of Chilean sea bass pan seared to a crisp finish on the outside while leaving the meat juicy and on the inside served with grilled mushrooms, bacon, crunchy ragout in a special recipe of yuzu ponzu cream sauce.
Finally, we arrived at the dessert Chef Tle is very proud of. Water Li-BEAR-Ry—a cute and smiling bear-shaped dessert made from fragrant roasted black sesame seed served with blackcurrant jam and hot ginger and churros on the side to complete the meal. Inspired by Bua Loy Nam Khing (black sesame dumplings in ginger tea) dessert, Chef Tle decided to create something reminiscing of his childhood menu with a cute and modern twist. Raplacing the dumplings with the friendly little bear, this is definitely a must-try menu.
With a mission to make delightful dishes that will bring happiness for generations of people to enjoy, remember and return for more, we believe Chef Tle has, at least, accomplished part of his goals.
Water Library Chamchuri
2F Chamchuri Square
317 Phaya Thai Rd.
Tel: 095 085 7777
Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm