French cuisine meets Japanese influences at this Michelin-starred restaurant
We don’t try to chase the awards. We’re more interested in pleasing the customer with the quality of the food and ingredients,” says Head Chef Antony Scholtmyer, who is humbled by the Michelin star recently awarded to Elements, the acclaimed restaurant located on the 25th floor of The Okura Prestige Bangkok hotel. The award has, understandably, made an impact on reservations—resulting in a full house consecutive nights in a row.
The darkly-coloured space is bookended by floor-to-ceiling windows and sheer, mauve curtains. Sumptuous leather and velvet chairs are paired with sturdy linens and fresh flowers on each table. The overall aesthetic is retro-futuristic, as Victorian era details—like an anachronistic telescope tripod—are juxtaposed with industrial lighting fixtures. All this, combined with the exposed kitchen, results in a space that feels like a home study but has the theatricality of a playhouse. Outside, views of Bangkok’s downtown cityscape can be enjoyed from the open-air deck, where the full menu is also served.
Dinner begins with an amuse bouche of a selection of breads, matched with their signature miso-soaked butter, followed by a flavourful twist on sushi wrapped in edible paper. Our first appetizer, the Tuna Tataki (B420), is served with fresh wasabi grated at the table; it’s not as spicy as powder versions, but fragrant instead. While this complements the attractive flowery plating of the dish, a bit of kick—over and above the ponzu jelly—would’ve been a welcome addition to jumpstart the dish.
The mild intro is followed by an appetizer of White Asparagus and Smoked Tofu (B420), in which the asparagus is crisp and tangy after being slow-cooking in a thyme and lemon zest, further complemented by the smooth-blended smoked tofu. The standout of this dish is the onsen yolk, named for the traditional method of slow-cooking eggs in the water of Japanese hot springs. Although the yolk comes out firm, it retains the colour and creamy texture of a raw yolk, thereby acting as a sauce. The dish is also topped with a soba wafer, which adds a surprisingly pleasant crunchiness.
The seared Hokkaido Scallops Topped with Foie Gras (B410) is the restaurant’s signature dish and is emblematic of Chef Antony’s entire culinary ethos. He uses French technique to make the miso-based consommé. The broth is warm and savoury, but as I tend to prefer thicker soups, I use my spoon to blend the fois gras, resulting in a satisfyingly creamy broth bursting with flavour.
The Hokkaido Kozatsu Beef (B2,100) was perfectly cooked and harmonized well with the interesting touches of eggplant caviar and ginger kombu jus. There’s little difficulty in making fine Japanese beef taste good, but hearing that the chef has begun to increasingly source for local ingredients was more exciting to me than imported produce.
For dessert, we enjoy a Matcha Green Tea Crémeux (B350), a not-too-sweet custard topped with shiso jasmine ice cream, yuzu jelly, and black sesame.
By Allison Nicole Smith
25F, The Okura Prestige Bangkok
57 Wireless Rd.
Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm
02 687 9000