New Western restaurants in Bangkok worth making a trip for
The priority for most visitors to Bangkok is to enjoy the local cuisine. But the Thai capital boasts some excellent Western restaurants too.
I have uncovered many gems since I first travelled there in the 1980s, including the constantly evolving La Normandie at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and the award-winning Eat Me in Silom.
More recently, I visited the two-Michelin-starred Suhring, which has become one of the hottest names in food circles since it opened in 2016 and is currently ranked No. 40 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
I also found time to check out three stunning new eateries that opened in the past two Covid-stricken years, which foreign visitors have not descended on yet. These range from fine-dining restaurants in luxury hotels to a cafe in the basement of a mall, proving there is good grub for every budget.
Here are some new places to hit next time you find yourself in Bangkok.
Cote by Mauro Colagreco
Address: Capella Bangkok, 300/2 Charoen Krung Road, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120
Open: Noon to 2pm, 6 to 10pm (Wednesdays to Sundays). Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Chef Mauro Colagreco became a familiar name to foodies here after his restaurant Mirazur in the French Riviera was crowned No. 1 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony held in Singapore in 2019. It boasts three Michelin stars.
The chef is also behind Fiamma at Capella Singapore, which opened in June. But that is a casual restaurant with an entirely different vibe from the fine-dining Mirazur.
For something closer to the original concept but not too far from home, go to Cote by Mauro Colagreco at the Capella Bangkok, which overlooks the Chao Phraya river. It opened in October 2020 and has already been awarded one Michelin star.
Like the hotel, the restaurant’s interiors are luxurious and understated. Large windows afford not just the view of the water, but also let in a flood of light during the day. The mood at dinner turns dark and romantic, illuminated by twinkling lights on the opposite bank of the river.
The kitchen team is led by chef Davide Garavaglia, who joined Mirazur in 2015. He offers four set menus for lunch on weekdays, priced from 1,800 baht (S$67) for four courses to 5,800 baht for seven courses. For dinner and weekend lunch, the menus range from 4,100 baht for five courses to 6,500 for nine courses. There is no a la carte option.
The Mediterranean cooking is inspired by Mirazur and the menus include some of its signature dishes. For instance, plump for the roast pigeon as the main course, one of the most famous dishes at the mothership restaurant.
When it arrives at the table, the pigeon breast looks so pink that I approach it with apprehension. I don’t like pigeon that is cooked rare as it tends to have a gamey flavour, but this actually tastes perfect, with the meat cooked just right.
I like, too, that the chef uses almost every part of the bird. The leg is confit while the liver is turned into a mousse and stuffed into an olive. You even see the little roasted heart on the plate next to a bok choy.
Another interesting dish is squid that is cut into very thin strips and rolled in a circular pattern to look like a sliced onion. It comes with artichokes and a “bagna cauda” sauce made with garlic and anchovies.
And if you are surprised to see a macaron served as a starter and not at the end of the meal, that is because its bright red colour comes from beetroot and its shell is filled with savoury cream and caviar.
Address: 55 Soi Sueksa Witthaya, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Open: Noon to 2pm (Saturdays and Sundays), 5.30 to 9pm (Thursdays to Mondays). Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Maison Dunand may have opened only in September, but its chef-owner Arnaud Dunand Sauthier is no stranger to Bangkok. He was the chef of the French restaurant Le Normandie at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok from 2012 to 2021, and is widely credited for earning the establishment its two Michelin stars since the guide was launched in Thailand in 2017.
With his new restaurant, the name of which means “Dunand’s Home” in French, the chef returns to his roots in the Savoie region in the French Alps, but also takes inspiration from his travels around the world.
He uses seasonal ingredients from places such as northern Thailand, Japan and Europe in contemporary French cooking. This includes a mountain pig from the Alps that is served as a main course for the 4,800 baht seven-course dinner menu. It comes with a plump Utah oyster sitting on top. At the table, the server drizzles a seaweed sauce over everything. Think of it as a novel surf-and-turf.
Other courses include a starter comprising slices of mirabelle plum folded into the shape of a blossom, with pieces of Miyazaki beef and sardines woven in. Or a decadent combination of Kristal caviar on top of uni and potato mousse.
The 2,600 baht lunch is a five-course menu with different dishes, such as a milk-fed lamb neck with pumpkin and goat cheese.
Despite its Alpine leanings, the cooking is light and bright and you do not end the meal with a heavy stomach. That sense of cheer is reflected in the ambience too, especially at lunch when light streams in through the glass windows and bounces off the restaurant’s pastel palette interiors, adorned with artworks of cows.
Besides the fine-dining restaurant, there is a casual eatery and bakery in an adjoining building called Alpea. It wasn’t open when I was there in late September, but I sneaked a peek at its fake fireplace and rustic brick walls.
Outside is an elevated wooden platform where tables are set among the foliage for those who enjoy dining under the stars.
Address: G15, G Floor, Siam Paragon, 991 Rama I Road, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
Open: 10am to 10pm daily
Tucked among an entire floor of eateries in the basement of Siam Paragon shopping mall, CDGRE would have escaped my attention had I not been instructed by a friend to check it out.
It has just a few small tables and looks like a typical cafe with standee banners outside displaying photos of simple Western dishes. Look more closely, however, and you see that some items carry names of famous chefs like Suhring’s Pork Meatloaf Burger (360 baht) and Gaggan’s Chicken Tikka Masala Burger (360 baht).
That is because CDGRE (pronounced see-deegree), which opened in October 2021, is a collaboration by the Suhring brothers, Thomas and Mathias, who own the award-wining Suhring restaurant, celebrity chef Gaggan Anand and Carnival, a streetware fashion brand in Bangkok. Besides serving food and drinks, the cafe also has a small section selling Carnival merchandise emblazoned with the CDGRE logo.
I am told the Crispy Pork Knuckle With Cabbage, Mustard, Spicy Relish (990 baht) is excellent, but it feeds two and I’m on my own. So I get the Duck Leg Risotto With Mushrooms & Parmesan Cheese (680 baht), which turns out to be one of the best risottos I’ve eaten in a long time.
The rice is cooked perfectly with just the right amount of bite, and comes studded with generous chunks of mushroom. On top is a whole roasted duck leg that is deboned and boasts tender meat lined with a layer of crispy skin. A small mixed salad with the duck makes the dish a complete meal on its own.
Try the coffee too, I was told, so I order a cappuccino (120 baht). It is amazing.
What impresses me is that the chefs have put in so much effort to deliver quality food at decent prices instead of just relying on their fame to draw in crowds.
This is not to be missed, plus you can work off your lunch with some hardcore shopping. Siam Centre and Siam Discovery are right next to Siam Paragon, and MBK Center is just a short walk away.