Already a staple of the upper Sukhumvit scene, known for its solid Western cooking and ample rooms made cosy by a quirky mix of good-timey antiques, Quince was reborn in 2015 under the new management of New Zealand Chef Cameron Barker.
Belying arms covered with Maori-style tattoos and tribalized disks in his ear, Barker is a gentle soul and new-age family man with an especially gentle touch with salads and mains, a modern-day hunter-gatherer of the freshest and most surprising proteins and more from around the planet—mainly, and unapologetically, from Europe, as featured on special themed menus (Portuguese, for instance, as he even makes his own salted cod) well worth watching for. His most recent special of the day was a tender hunk of wild boar accompanied by home-cured red cabbage. Thankfully, this simultaneously respectful and wide-ranging chef is only slightly wild and not a bit of a bore.
The word “eclectic” is an understatement when it comes to the new Quince. Health conscious? Here’s an avocado sandwich with kale pesto (B190). Ravenous? The popular Hanger Steak should satisfy that savage appetite (B750). From scallops to smoked eggplant to spaghetti with fresh sardine bits (B390), every item is left to shine, as un-sauced and non-gimmicky as possible. The approach is the very opposite of Chef Cameron’s look: resolutely un-trendy. But that doesn’t mean it lacks for imagination.
Top it all off with “home churned” ice creams in understated yet stunning combos, like fig with more than a hint of Madeira (two scoops for a reasonable B260). And all this is with Barker still feeling his way and imposing his will on the menu, his tribal tendencies tamed by one of Bangkok’s most varied brunches, built around “Hill Tribe Eggs” combined with such items as lamb merguez, quinoa, and chilli butter.
With crowds lining up at to get into the hot club Sing Sing Theatre just behind Quince’s main entrance, the restaurant may be reborn in other ways. Thinking further out of the box, Cameron Barker is researching how to set up an adjunct stand satisfying pre-dancing, post-drinking cravings with Bangkok’s most authentic Sichuan-spiced noodles.
What if, much like taking out a policy against plane crashes or medical mishaps, you could take out restaurant insurance against a bad meal, disappointing service, or dispiriting atmosphere? A prudent investment before many a night out, no such precaution need be taken here. Love it or merely like it, Quince is the sort of place where it’s hard to imagine much going wrong.
Sukhumvit Soi 45 | 0 2662 4478 | quincebangkok.com | daily 11.30am-late
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