BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - If you're still searching for a place to dine tonight and are in the Ekamai area, recently opened restaurant The Cured Chamber might be just the ticket.
Located on the ground floor of Somerset Ekamai Bangkok, the 70-seat bistro operated by Dhid Boonsombat of Everyday A Friday eatery fame, aims to familiarise Bangkok diners with cured meats from Europe and push them into main course territory from their usual hors d’oeuvres habitat.
Elegant yet casual with red brick walls setting off the polished wood tables and comfortable leather chairs, the restaurant has a barn-like feel. The walk-in cold-cut chamber is stacked with several home-made cured meats, varying from sausage and smoked ham to cured salmon marinated with herbs, which customers can sample before choosing their meal.
“We want to give customers a new dining experience. We focus on European cuisine that uses cured meats and fish as the main ingredients. Dhid studied for his master’s degree in hospitality in Switzerland and observed that the Swiss liked to preserve their meats. These are mostly marinated with salt, sugar and herbs to drain moistness and water before they are hung to mature in a barn,” says restaurant manager Worapat Pornprasertsom.
“The highlight is our cold chamber where the temperature set at 4 degrees Celsius, which is the ideal temperature for curing meats. We offer a full range of cured products imported from Italy and Spain plus home-made sausages and sauces. We also have a choice of Asian dishes, both traditional and fusion style, for those who prefer to stick to the familiar.”The kitchen is in the hands of Prawit Udompornprasit, who trained at the Evolution Hospitality Institute in Sydney before gaining experience at Buckland Hotel, the Coffee Club and Bo Larn Thai restaurant in Sydney and Namsaah Bottling Trust Bangkok.
He’s prepared some interesting dishes especially for the festive season, among them the indulgent Hand Shucked Oyster with Condiments and Duo Foie Gras, where the pan-fried duck liver is blended with duck liver paste and apple compote.
We skip the appetisers and start our meal with Baked Maine Lobster with Chorizo Au Gratin and Mesclun Salad, Bt1,900 (S$76.53), in which the Canadian lobster is first poached to retain its sweet taste before being cooked with chorizo, cream and white wine. It’s served with cheese and chorizo sausage au gratin.
Equally delicious is the Butter Roasted Corn Fed Chicken with Stuffing and Sweet Potato Puree (Bt520) for which half a baby chicken with a stuffing of mashed chitterling, raisins, chestnut and red wines is fried with butter and herbs and served on a bed of very smooth mashed sweet potato.
“I halve the young chicken then immerse it in salt water, herbs and sugar overnight before drying it out to get rid of any fat. We use only corn-fed chickens from a local farm,” Prawit says.
Well worth ordering are the Cold Cut platters for two and four people ranging from Bt520 and Bt980. Each platter features Prosciutto di San Daniele, Chorizo, Coppa, Jamon Iberico, Milano Salami and Speck Ham made from smoked pork belly.
Penne with Black Truffle Cream Sauce (Bt330) is cooked with full-flavour home-made pork sausage, truffle paste, truffle oil and old Parmesan cheese while Tuna Tartar (Bt360), an Japanese fusion dish, is mixed with avocado, sweet Nam Dok mango, Japanese cucumber and radish and served with wasabi emulsion.
There’s Christmas pudding for dessert right now and the rich and fruity cake made from raisin, fruits, brandy and vanilla sauce tastes excellent with Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream for Bt280.
The cured meats even find their way into the cocktails. The Whisky E Melo, for instance, is a mix of Johnny Walker Black and bacon syrup that’s adorned with melon and parma ham. Ultimate Cherry, on the other hand, blends with St Remy VSOP, cherry brandy, guava juice and dry cherry. Each is priced at Bt280.
A full bar has whisky, vodka and imported beers from Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Spain and Mexico as well as premium wine from Spain, Italy, France, the US, Africa, Australia, Chile and New Zealand.
The Cured Chamber is on the ground floor of Somerset Ekamai Bangkok, Ekamai Soi 2. It’s open daily from 11.30am to 11pm. For reservations, please call (02) 381 4381.