Culinaria: Paste • Bangkok

The launch of the Michelin Guide Bangkok in late 2017 has thrust Thailand’s culinary scene to the forefront of international dining prestige, sidelining the country’s worthy reputation as a street-food haven and seeing it enter the glorious ranks of gastronomic esteem globally. One of the restaurants leading this charge is Paste, a traditional-but-modern Thai-style eatery in the heart of Ratchaprasong district.

Established in 2015 by Thai-born Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun and her Australian husband Jason Bailey, the founders of Paste pride themselves on the restaurant’s heirloom- style cuisine, the essence of which is deeply grounded in traditional recipes, ancient flavors, and authentic cooking methods. For inspiration, head chef Bee often turns to centuries-old recipe books (some dating as far back as 1870 ad), the sources of which are closely guarded, and frequently embarks on research expeditions to rural Thailand in pursuit of the rarest, fine-quality ingredients. Of this Bee says: “Thai food is all about the freshness of the ingredients and it is important that these come from the right area.”

Bee, who has been cooking since the age of five, was awarded the coveted title of Asia’s Best Female Chef 2018, an indication of the immense talent with which she leads Paste’s kitchen, while Jason manages the restaurant’s operations. With offerings such as ‘chive root salad with live lobster from the tank, morel, Asian citron, air-dried seaweed, and white turmeric’, ‘watermelon rind and fish roe soup with sea bass, and jicama dumplings’ and ‘lon of spanner crab, Nan province salted duck egg, fresh coconut milk, hairy eggplant, and lime leaf’, Bee’s main objective is to preserve the country’s wealthy culinary legacy. “Thai cooking has a long history, so you need to respect those who wrote that history before you,” she says. “Looking in the past is me trying to understand what our ancestors were trying to communicate through their ingredients and flavors.”

The Paste team’s philosophy is based on the 80/20 rule, meaning that dishes maintain 80% of their heritage with a 20% dash of innovation. The Michelin-starred eatery is located at Gaysorn Village mall but as soon as one enters, one forgets one’s location, taking in the restaurant’s paper and bamboo furniture and its main design attraction — an elegant wall-high silk cocoon sculpture.

Despite its pleasing aesthetic and atmosphere, presentation of meals is not a high priority at Paste. “We want to keep the taste authentic. We feed our creativity into the form, so the presentation might not be what people are used to, but the flavor stays true,” says Bee.

The flavors at Paste are indeed authentic and true, so it is no surprise that this endearing restaurant is reinvigorating Bangkok’s classic food scene. In today’s digital and highly modernized world, the team at Paste are doing a commendable job of paying homage to traditional Thai culinary mastery.

Paste’s opening hours are 12:00–14:00 and 18:30–23:00. To make a reservation, phone +66(0)2 656 1003 or email info@pastebangkok.com 

 

 

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