A star is born from the unlikely pairing of craft beer and gourmet fare
When the 2017 Michelin Guide Bangkok was published last December, many were surprised to see Upstairs at Mikkeller with a coveted star beside its name—even Chef Dan Bark, who admits it was “so unexpected”.
So, have things changed much? “We’re a little busier,” admits Dan, although the fact that this intimate upstairs eatery—there’s just a half dozen tables—is booked for the next two months solid means this award-winning chef is just being his usual humble self.
The restaurant has also increased its operating hours, now serving its signature set dinner menus with craft beer pairings four nights a week (up from three). For those lucky enough to secure a table, the exquisitely curated feast—there are over a dozen courses if you include every amuse bouche and palate cleanser—is pure gastronomic pleasure (B3,300++ per person).
One or two of Chef Dan’s culinary creations may prove challenging, such as the Ikura (Japanese salmon roe) with blueberries and thyme infused milk—think of it as a salty, milky bubble tea—but most are just divinely delicious. A definite standout was the Seafood Bisque, with white shrimp, clams, papaya, guava, and the most wonderful smoky shimeji mushrooms adding a bacon-like tinge. We were also enraptured by the tender Wagyu Beef, served with a dollop of what looked like dark chocolate mousse but turned out to be silky smooth truffled mashed potatoes.
The kitchen team operates—with fluid, clockwork precision—out of a small recessed open area at the rear of the restaurant (easily observed by diners), but for the Tortellini course the kitchen comes to the table as the consommé is flame-cooked à la minute in a small hourglass shaped device. Once ready, the server pours it over the pasta shells filled with braised pork that share a bowl with coconut, cucumber, and coriander, and all the aromas of the fresh-made broth can be savoured.
The mains conclude with a lovely sous vide Duck, with orange sauce delivering sweetness while an olive purée provides a balancing tang. A series of desserts follow, each more tantalizing than the last, and all displaying the same gorgeous plating techniques that make each dish here a small work of art.
Enhancing all these superb taste experiences is an expertly prepared menu of craft beers, ciders, meads, and cherry wines, with each dish (or dishes) having their own suggested selection of pairings to choose from. However, putting yourself in the hands of the restaurant’s “beer sommelier” is a great way to both experiment, and take advantage of the master’s know-how.
Our craft beer pairing voyage included—among others—the Gyp Wit (B240), a summery, citrussy white beer, as well as the Saison Sauvin (B300), and the Hopwired IPA (B280), both from New Zealand’s 8 Wired Brewing. By the time dessert came we were cracking a can of Modern Times (B310), a smooth oatmeal coffee stout from San Diego, rounding out a dining experience that may have trouble ever being surpassed.
By Bruce Scott
Upstairs at Mikkeller
26, Ekkamai Soi 10, Yaek 2
Tel: 091 713 9034
Open: Wed-Sat, 6pm-10pm