A delicious home-coming
This is an offbeat newcomer in that Osha is a Thaiowned, Thai-run Thai restaurant that started life in San Francisco. Their first Bangkok branch takes a modern approach to tradition in both food and decor.
ownstairs has large round tables with half-moon booths and scenes from the Ramakien projected onto the ceiling. Large black pods jutting from the mezzanine are actually booths modelled on monks’ alms bowls, while above hangs a chandelier shaped like a gold Khon headdress. Temple style murals complete a comfortable setting of local heritage re-interpreted for the 21st century.
The menu promises a similar code, starting with items like poached Andaman oyster (B250), artfully presented on the half shell on a bed of turquoise rock salt mounted on a black plate. The oyster juice is drained out, then rubbed with mha-noi leaf from a local plant that naturally produces gelatin. The result is a sea-tasting jelly, served with the oyster cooked sous vide, all topped with kaffir lime foam. It’s highly spiced and delicious.
Lamb Mussaman (B550) comes falling off the bone, but the sauce is one-note sweet, with none of the background spices or salty/sour elements you’d expect from this dish. It’s presented with sticks of burning cinnamon, which the chef recommends you stub out in the sauce to add carbon, which is apparently good for your stomach. Another main, lemongrass Chilean seabass (B750), is cooked to a moist, flaky texture. It has good lemongrass flavour but could do with a booster of the advertised ginger and soy sauce.
Rice is prepared and served in a young coconut shell. The chef first roasts the juice in the shell, then mixes it with the rice and roasts again. It lends a sweet tone to the rice, which is pleasant, but is perhaps overkill if your dish is already sweet.
A modest list of mainly French wines goes from B1400 to B52000 for a Margaux 85. There are nine by the glass (mainly B395), including sparklers, a dessert choice and a sensible general pick for Thai food in Riesling.
Among the desserts (all B280) are mango and sticky rice, and classic crème brulée scented with toasted coconut, which is a little grainy and heavy, possibly from overcooked egg, and there’s no hint of accompanying coconut or ginger.
Osha has appealing ideas, the presentation is good and the cooking technique is often spot on, but the sauces need tweaks. That said, it was packed on a Tuesday night with mainly Thai patrons. The chef spends time front of house interacting with guests, which adds to the atmosphere. Once they’ve worked out the flavours it could be a flier.
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99 Wireless Rd | 0 2256 6555
oshabangkok.com | 11am-2.30pm, 6pm-midnight