Roaring with Flavour
This is a popular Thong Lo neighborhood bistro, named for the bulldog that’s a mascot for its tenacious young chef. Trained in some of America’s most elegant restaurants, and a rare woman in a decidedly sexist profession, Chef Rangsima “Nan” Bunyasaranand might be expected to spin some delicate bits of high-priced, haute-cuisine frou-frou. But here she does quite the opposite, with fare that’s brawny, unapologetically Western and a bit rough, in a setting of concrete, exposed pipes and padded booths that seems less suited to the exotic East than to New York’s Upper East Side.
Begin with a warmed crab cream deep that’s comforting, a housemade slab of pate that’s unapologetically larded with fat. It’s French enough to offer more terrines, but an American tendency to overindulgence seems to overpower all. A salad of watercress and baby asparagus is topped with so much parmigiano cheese that it looks like it was left out in a snow storm. But who’s complaining? The pumpkin gnocchi, fried here, are drizzled with droplets of cream sauce . The penne, a signature, are not just dressed in the usual, simple pesto but a robust combo of pork cheek ragu and black truffle essence. A main of chicken confit does a nice job of reinventing the bird and Little Beast’s ribs are the sweet, thin and just gnarly enough to gnaw. Steaks and a lamb rack are available too for the bigger spenders and carnivores.
Again thumbing her nose at French patisserie, Chef Nan’s desserts are more of the Howard Johnson’s ilk, only upscale – ice cream sandwiches with home-churned flavors and an Ovaltine White Chocolate Tart with scoop of caramel ice cream that can satisfy all the kids in town from 8 to 88. The centerpiece of the restaurant its an old-fashioned wooden bar counter topped with hanging glasses. The beverage selection features an exceptional range of craft beers and rare flavored ciders, as well as a nice martini – hardly “ladies’ drinks” here.
Maybe if this place really was in the midst of Manhattan, where the Chef lived for some years, we might not even take notice. But in our midst, Little Beast seems set to roar. Still its trademark is a very conscious lack of pretension. Food, drink, atmosphere, friendship and conversation seem to be equally on offer within these small confines. It’s a place to relax and set aside judgments and just sup with consistent pleasure.
44/9-10 Thonglor Soi 13 | 0 2185 2670 | facebook.com/littlebeastbar | Tue-Sat 5.30pm-1am, Sun 11am-4pm