Eat Me restaurant’s Thai cocktail collection delivers gastronomy in a glass
Cocktails are the blank canvasses where artisan bartenders best display their consumable craftsmanship. In Bangkok, you’d be hard pressed to find a bar that doesn’t boast some “Thai twist” on at least a few of its signature drinks, but at Eat Me the idea of Thai flavouring gets taken to the next level with the introduction of their ‘Sip Some Thai’ drink menu. These aren’t simply beverages with a little lemongrass or basil thrown in, these are drinks that actually taste like Thai foods.
The mad Siamese scientist behind these beverages is Buntanes ‘Pop’ Direkrittikul, Eat Me’s resident barman, and his cocktail chemistry is nothing short of magical. The eight selections he’s created for this special menu (priced at B320 each) not only represent the cuisine of the four main regions of Thailand—North, Northeast, South and Central—they actually taste like the dishes that inspired them.
True, it all sounds a bit impossible, but take a small swig of the Laab-Moo cocktail and a mouthful of spicy minced Isaan pork salad will immediately come to mind—guaranteed! It’s a profoundly strange taste sensation at first, but it’s also absolutely delicious. The drink itself is a mix of Ketel One vodka, mint, shallot, and cilantro, and comes garnished with a thin and crispy slice of Serrano ham. The glass, meanwhile, is rimmed with ground up roasted rice and dusted with chili. It’s actually quite fiery, so drink from the un-rimmed side of the glass if your spice threshold is low.
By contrast the Mieng-Khum is a rum-based drink, combining Diplomatico blanco with betel leaf, shallot, ginger, and lime. The glass comes rimmed with shavings of roasted coconut, and the whole thing is served on a rectangular plate with an actual one-bite wrap of mieng khum (a popular DIY snack from Northern Thailand). The idea is to take a sip of the drink, then pop the real thing in your mouth and eat it, and then take another sip. The match is uncanny, however only one has an alcoholic kick.
Next up comes the Nahm-Prik-Noom, a golden mix of Ketel One vodka—infused with grilled bell pepper, garlic, and shallots—and lime, served in a glass rimmed with ground pork rinds and offset by a raised shallot that Pop dramatically singes with a blowtorch before serving. It’s got all the peppery, spicy tastes of conventional nahm prik, and it makes a nice counterpoint to the Kaeng-Om cocktail, which combines Ketel One vodka, dill, shallot, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaf, betel leaf, and lime. It’s light green in colour and comes served with a languid stalk of fragrant dill draped across the glass. In some ways this drink is most like a conventional cocktail, with a refreshing sour-citrus flavour, but as it sits between sips the dill element becomes more pronounced and (to my mind) makes this drink even better.
Of the six “savoury” concoctions on Pop’s menu, the final pair are true showstoppers. The Kaeng-Khiao-Wan is a drink version of green curry soup—believe it or not—and combines Diplomatico blanco rum, basil, shallot, Kaffir lime leaf, green curry, milk, and lime. It’s served in a ceramic bowl, garnished with a sprig of tiny green eggplants, and looks like the sort of nectar of the gods one drinks before taking Ayahuasca or going on a Maori walkabout. But all exotic drama aside, it successfully delivers the taste of sweet green curry in delicious fashion. Equally as intriguing is the Kaeng-Tai-Pla, this time conjuring up the fiery flavour of Southern Thailand. Poured over a considerable amount of ice, and served in a sort of silver stein, it marries Alipus San Luis mezcal (the heat) with shallot, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaf, curry, and lime. It’s got kick to spare, and definitely puts a fire in the belly.
After all these main courses the evening’s tasting menu finishes off with Pop’s two dessert beverages, both of which are, not surprisingly, considerably sweeter than the rest but never overpoweringly so. The first is the pretty yet potent Lod-Chong, a gin based beauty that combines Tanqueray, jackfruit syrup, and coconut milk. It comes garnished with slivers of jackfruit and a sprinkle of pink pomegranate seeds, which all rest placidly on the large square ice cube perfectly plunked in the middle of the glass. Equally divine is the Khow-Neow-Ma-Muang, which pays homage to that quintessential Thai treat known as sweet mango with sticky rice. Here Diplomatico blanco rum, mango purée, and coconut oil are expertly blended, and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds puts the finishing touch on a cocktail that deserves to be as well-known as the delicious dessert that inspired it.
The combination of creativity selected ingredients and top shelf booze already put these cocktails well above the status of “gimmick”, and such an artistic and novel approach to mixology should see a lot of curious connoisseurs making their way to Eat Me’s fabulous downstairs bar area—whether perched on a barstool (where you can watch Pop at work, err… I mean play), or sitting down with friends at one of the indoor or outdoor tables. It’s also worth mentioning that Eat stays open late, with full kitchen and bar operating until 1am, and that the award-winning dishes on Chef Tim Butler’s food menu are as out-of-this-world as Pop’s drink selections.
Eat Me Restaurant
Soi Pipat 2 (at Convent Rd)
Open daily: 3pm-1am | Tel: 02 238 0931