Add: 3/F Gaysorn Village, 999 Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00pm-2:00pm, 6:30pm-11:00pm
Price: ฿1,500-2,500 (+10% service charge and 7% VAT)
Visited: May 2017
Will return: Maybe
Located in Gaysorn Village in the busy shopping district of Ratchaprasong, Paste came highly recommended by some of my food blogger friends as an alternative to Nahm. The restaurant serves modern Thai food based upon traditional recipes from the length and breadth of Thailand.
Welcome drink: Bael fruit, pandan, elderflower, soda
Amuse-bouche: Shrimp paste, rose apple, Vietnamese mint
Crunchy rose apple and fragrant Vietnamese mint livened up the sweet depth of shrimp paste.
Roasted duck, nutmeg, curry paste and sawtooth coriander served on rice crackers
Shredded roasted duck was mixed with peanut, nutmeg, curry paste, and coriander. The bite was packed with a stunning balance of saltiness, sweetness, acidity, and heat.
Watermelon and ground salmon with crispy shallots, roasted galangal powder
A signature at Paste, this dish is a modern take on a recipe that dates back to 1809. The plate was intriguing with its dimensions of sweetness. The ground salmon was rich and comforting, reminiscent of pork floss in both texture and flavor. The juicy watermelon balls added brightness, while the roasted galangal powder brought depth. Still, I would have liked an element of saltiness or acidity.
Coconut cream soup of galangal, chicken, chili jam, plankton paste
This elegant rendition of tom kha gai was a swirling progression of sweetness, acidity, creaminess, and a flickering heat at the end. Not to be overlooked, the parcels of chicken wrapped in a thin sheet of coconut flesh were impressively tender and succulent.
Northern Chiang Mai salad of fresh water river prawn, roasted banana chili, chargrilled tomatoes, pink mempat
Looking like a beautiful ocean scape, the dish certainly had visual impact. It took me several bites to warm up to the glaring acidity of the broth, but the variations of seaweed helped to temper the sourness with its light bitterness and oceanic depth.
Smoky southern yellow curry of Gulf of Thailand red spanner crab, hummingbird flowers, Thai samphire, turmeric
One of Paste’s best-known dishes is the crab curry. A wave of herbal fragrance hit the tongue first, followed by the delicate sweetness of red spanner crab, and a bolt of heat that crescendos when you least expect it.
Crispy skin free-range sou-vide duck, northern Thai ‘makhwaen’ pepper, fresh som jiid and star anise sauce
The duck itself impressed with its crispy, smokey skin and tender, flavorful flesh, but the dish as a whole was long on sweetness and short on dimension. Slivers of citrus peel provided relief from the sweet broth, but didn’t manage to save the dish from tasting dull and sleepy.
Chargrilled organic pork loin, smoked eggplant & tomato relish, fennel seed, wild honey
Where the duck was the star of the previous dish, the pork loin was decidedly not. The fattier parts were moist and tender, but the leaner parts were depressingly dry and tough. However, the bowl of smoked eggplant and tomato relish stole the show, strikingly eloquent with its layers of sweetness and smokiness and a clean, refreshing finish.
Nan province pumpkin and wild honey pudding, young coconut sorbet, passion fruit cookie crumble, roasted pear
Both desserts we tried at Paste were underwhelming. The pudding was rather grainy, the honey overpowering any trace of pumpkin. The only saving grace on the plate was the coconut sorbet, although the bed of raw coconut it sat upon lacked the fragrance that comes from toasting, making it unsettlingly reminiscent of sawdust.
Lemongrass and white turmeric panna cotta, Chiang Mai strawberry, som saa ice cream, mango, berries, dragonfruit
The panna cotta had potential, its lemongrass flavor insistent but not pungent. However, the panna cotta was much too firm with gelatin. Again, the ice cream turned out to be the best thing on the plate, made from a type of Thai citrus.
Overall, the flavors at Paste were a lot more subdued and less vibrant than I expected. Still, most of the dishes we tried were solid, if not quite inspiring or memorable.