A new opening on the Patpong neon-strip raises the bar for bovine in Bangkok
Bangkok is no stranger to the waves of gentrification that have swept through the likes of Brooklyn, London’s Soho and Kings Cross in Sydney. Carefully-crafted beards and flannel lumberjack shirts are a common sight across much of the city now and you’ll find coffee shops in every mall and on every street corner, from Ari to Bangrak.
The epicentre for hipster activity, however, remains uncertain with numerous neighbourhoods and neon-soaked side-streets claiming to have formed the genesis of the city’s existing transition from seething, heaving sweat-pit to cool-vibe, air-conditioned barbers and roof-top bars. None though yet can produce proof, but it’s one business owner’s ambition to start, or at the very least continue and promote, the upwards urban-renewal of the naughty, neon-lit strip of Patpong Soi 2.
With the opening of The Steakhouse Co., there is now a restaurant of repute to punctuate the Go-Go bars and nightclubs that dot the Strip. And, while the restaurant has chosen to remain cloaked in red neon-strip lighting, it may very well be the first step in the gentrification of one of Bangkok’s most infamous Red Light Districts; offering Australian Wagyu Ribeye and Lobster Thermidor while outside bikini-clad temptresses strut up and down the Strip.
At the stove is local chef Krittin ‘Moo’ Kerdnaimongkul from Chanthaburi, who has extensive experience across many city hotels – Marriott, Le Merideien, Anantara, Delta Grand and Dusit Thani – and spent time in the restaurants of New York as well as cooking on cruise ships around Miami and the Caribbean. With his experience comes knowledge across a variety of cuisines and Chef Moo is at pains to note that this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill chophouse. “Of course, we source and serve high-quality products; steaks from Australia, the US, and Argentina, but the menu appeals to many types of diners, so there are the likes of crab cakes, lamb chops and salmon fillet, too.”
He goes on to describe his vision for the menu and his ambition to offer guests something exciting. “I want people to experience something different. I’m not a rockstar chef but my ambition if to make guests happy and that’s why I focus so much on balance and technique,” says Chef Moo. “Right now I’m working on marinating beef in bourbon. I think after 120 days it’s going to be something very special indeed,” he says, almost licking his lips.
Inside the restaurant, a well-stocked bar is lined with bottles, and a blackboard advertises local craft beers and ciders from England. At the back of the room is a bright-light horizontal fridge revealing a line-up of the various cuts of meat on offer from plump sirloins to a gargantuan 1.8 kg tomahawk; displayed like something prehistoric and enough to floor even a ravenous Fred Flintstone.
There is also a vertical fridge with three large, ageing rumps of bovine; pink Himalayan salt bricks have been added beneath to help preserve and dry-age the beef. They dry and age over time, waiting to one day be ordered and consumed.
In keeping with the neighborhood, the menu reveals a considered and well-researched litany of marbled fatty buttocks and a thorough run through of different cuts to get even the most ardent steak aficionado’s blood running.
“I used to watch my parents cook and prepare food,” recalls Chef Moo. “I learnt to respect food and take care when preparing ingredients. Everything they did was perfect, and I approach my cooking the same way.”
Chef Moo indeed appears to have the experience and energy to drive this restaurant forward and working closely with the owner, both see this as the beginning of a new era in restaurants and casual fine dining on the Patpong Soi 2 Strip; during a time of great boom beef eating in Bangkok.
Timing and location is vital, and The Steakhouse Co. have opened their doors with pinpoint accuracy, just as the hipster winds of change are blowing in. Offering the city first-rate cuts of meat, they’re surely on to a winner. By David J. Constable
The Steakhouse Co.
9/8 Thanon Phatpong 2 | Open daily: 5pm-3am
Tel: 06 109 Steak (78325)