It’s possible for passersby to miss this new addition to Bangkok’s cosmopolitan dining scene, tucked to one side of soi 49 in the backstreets of Thong Lor. But if the entrance is easily overlooked, the modern Thai food inside is unlikely to be forgotten.
Chef Jason Bailey made his mark running Thai restaurants in Australia, introducing customers to surprising combinations of flavours, borrowing techniques from different parts of Asia, while remaining anchored in classic Thai flavours and ingredients. And although Paste is still relatively new, the results are stunning.
The cocktails are understated but no less refreshing or delicious – some places assume cocktails are only for the ladies so offer a laundry list of sweet, syrupy concoctions. At Paste, though, where the cocktails start at B210++, the Eastern Sour (Campari with lemon, lime and red grapefruit) and the Sleek Lychee (vodka, muddled lychee, lime, egg white, elderflower and lemongrass soda) are perfectly balanced and exceptionally drinkable. You’ll struggle to stop at one.
But with a menu heavy on seafood and overflowing with fresh ingredients, the food is the undoubted star of the show. For entrees, the dry-spiced chilli squid, topped with vinegar and tomato relish (B240++) is a winner, while the jelly fish and shredded chicken salad (B230++) is further proof of Bailey’s willingness to experiment.
Among the mains, the prime cuts of Australian red meat stand out invitingly from the local produce – the braised beef ribs with ginger rice, tamarind leaves and mushroom soy (B380++) are perfect if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
But two dishes, in particular, are among the most satisfying offerings you’ll find in Bangkok. The roast duck salad with lychee and Vietnamese mint (B380++) packs an immediate punch but it is the hint of banana blossom that delivers a surprising, sensational finish. And then there is the tamarind and caramel pork belly with moonflower, red okra and green chilli pickle (400++). It’s an inspired combination, the pork belly coming apart effortlessly while its outer layer retains a rainbow of flavours, its richness lightened perfectly by the moonflower and okra.
Overall, Paste is a triumph, fusing tradition and innovation with a confidence and craft that never veers into showiness. Good food is often described as “tasty” or “delicious” but these descriptions are fleeting – the best meals go a step further and stay with us long after the plates are cleared. And, on that score, Paste delivers with exceptional panache, serving food that is not just instantly gratifying but truly memorable.
It’s definitely one to try and most likely one to return to several times.
120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 | 02-392-4313 | pastebangkok.com | Open Tues-Sun noon-2.30pm, 6pm-late