Chef Toon isn’t afraid to bring the heat. That much becomes apparent with a bite of his salted egg carbonara (B290), a signature dish at Thong Lo’s latest brunch and lunch spot, Taper. Usually made by tossing cooked pasta with a mixture of hot water, beaten egg yolk, salt, black pepper, and heaps of grated Parmesan cheese, this rethought version looks nothing like its Italian brother. Though packed with Parmesan, it burns a blood orange hue, thanks to the copious roasted Thai chillies blended into the sauce; gains depth from butter; and is topped with grilled squid and cilantro. It bursts with as much élan as the young Thai chef and the narrow space where he plies his trade.
Opened in March, Taper has already earned itself an ardent following. “A few groups have come back two or three times this month,” says Toon, adding with a characteristic laugh, “the menu only has, like, 15 items, so I guess they got to try everything on it.” A joint venture between New York-trained Toon and friends Ton and Tao of Le Du, this low-lit, two-story bistro has reworked a building that housed a Ramen shop. The mezzanine was renovated to feature an open kitchen, the kind of layout that has dominated the fine dining scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn in recent years.
“We do everything in the open,” says Toon, from making fresh pasta each morning to rendering duck fat to make “duck mayonnaise” for another customer favourite: fried duck and waffles (B390). A riff on the American soul food, the dish is one part Thai, another part tech. Galangal, lemongrass, and herbs in the sous-vide bag add Thai flavours to the fried fowl. Once cooked, it sits on crisp Belgian waffles that are paired with honey butter, marrying spicy, sweet, and savoury elements.
With a dozen upscale options on the menu, it seems ironic that the humble congee has become a star attraction. But this is no ordinary rice porridge. Made with organic brown rice and a soy reduction, Taper’s congee (B330) gets a lift from seared pork belly, fried ginger, and a poached egg. It’s similar to Le Du’s famous dish, but tweaked with Toon’s twists. That’s a common theme — old favourites transformed, like coconut pancakes (B235), a brunch treat beefed up with a trinity of coconut-laced ingredients: caramel, cream, and ice cream.
As the menu rotates according to the season and major developments begin to take shape, Taper looks ready to take off. Jump in and enjoy the ride.
44/11 Soi Akapat (off Thong Lor 13) | 09 9929 5464
Taperbkk.com | Tues-Sun 9am-4pm