‘Paste-d’ In Bangkok, and Happy!
Now that partner chef Jason Bailey is concentrating on the business end of things at Paste, Bangkok; chef Bee Satongun is taking care of things in the kitchen in a big way. Recently voted Best Female Chef at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, the eatery on the 3rd floor of the Gaysorn Village is one of the hottest culinary tickets in town. Our own Gaita Fores copped this distinction of Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016, and counts Bee as a friend. When I posted an Instagram photo of the Watermelon and Salmon Roe Salad, Gaita immediately responded saying that this dish, and the Crab Curry, were her favourites from Paste’s menu.
Paste at Gaysorn Village, Bangkok
Paste is modern Thai in a manner that enhances the flavor via the use of high quality ingredients, making the dishes come to life in a unique way. It’s not about fusion or mixing Thai flavours with cuisines from other countries. It’s essentially traditional, but with a twist that allows for the creativity and prowess of Chef Bee to shine through. The best introduction to Paste would be through their food tasting menus—and those already familiar, or who know what they want, can go a la carte. And be prepared for how edible flowers come into play, to make dishes also visual delights.
The Watermelon and Salmon Roe Salad - my favorite!
Roasted Duck on Rice Crackers
Tapioca Dumplings with Mustard Leaf
There is no better way to be ‘immersed’ in the Paste experience than to be served the watermelon, salmon roe, with fried shallots and Galangal powder—it’s a cold dish that oozes with bursts of flavour and surprises with it’s texture. Accompanied by the roasted duck, nutmeg and sawtooth coriander on rice crackers; you will love how these contrasts actually complement each other. The third appetiser was the tapioca dumplings of smoked trout, with toasted peanuts on a mustard leaf and wild sesame—this one you popped into your mouth in one go to savour the ambrosial mix of flavors.
Hot and Sour Soup at Paste
Penang Beef Curry
Pomelo Salad with Prawns
The hot and sour soup of crisp pork leg, with roast tomatoes and fried garlic in chicken broth was like some mix of traditional Thai soup and our own Sinigang. The Penang curry of Australian grain fed beef with toasted peanuts and Thai sweet basil with a smoky, creamy curry that really hit home. Served alongside Chef Bee’s pomelo salad of scarlet prawns, Asian citron, chili jam and Gapi Khoei paste, it was like being reintroduced to a lusher version of the Pomelo Salad we are all familiar with.
Thai Milk Tea Mousse
Chocolate Hazelnut with Nuts
Dessert came in two waves—first, a Thai milk mousse, with dark chocolate dust and apple crumble; then petit fours of chocolate hazelnut balls that were nut-encrusted. By this stage, I was searching for superlatives, as the whole lunch experience was one that took me by surprise. It was familiarly Thai cuisine, and yet, was a more vivid, heightened, version.
And for a degustation experience, I was stuffed! This is not your usual formal, one dish with ceremony, followed by the next dish, and so on. Rather, two to three dishes would be presented at the same time; so we were given the opportunity to mix dishes and feel like a traditional family meal was transpiring. I am happily ‘stuck’ on Paste; and would be ready to go back to try another of the food tasting menus. If Hamlet dined at Paste, he would not have had to ask, "To Bee or Not to Bee."
Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng