Dining Out 2 minutes 22 August 2019

5 Best European Contemporary Restaurants in Bangkok and Phuket

Europe is always a good idea.

European cuisine MICHELIN Guide Thailand

Okay, we’re going to level with you: yes, it does seem odd to have a roundup of European restaurants and not include any, say, Italian or French spots. However, this category in the MICHELIN Guide is reserved for restaurants that don’t just specialise in one type of national cuisine but are inspired by a few different European styles of cooking. Forget the purists (we still love you J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain and Enoteca), these menus lean towards the innovative and explorative side.

Bangkok

Sühring (2 MICHELIN Stars)
With two very German brothers helming the kitchen, and a soft pretzel on the menu, you’d be forgiven for categorising this iconic restaurant as nothing if not German. But Mathias and Thomas Sühring deliver dishes with a contemporary and central European inspired twist on their native cuisine. The bites on their menus are playful (like the tiny home-brewed apple beer in a mini tankard glass) yet ultra-refined (see the pretty bite of smoked sturgeon, buttermilk, and caviar on whole grain). Plus, unlike similar fine-dining spots of the same calibre that focus on show-off bottles, here they are confident enough to serve lesser-known wines from Germany, Alsace (France), and Austria.

The Sühring brothers receiving their MICHELIN Stars at the Michelin Award Ceremony.
The Sühring brothers receiving their MICHELIN Stars at the Michelin Award Ceremony.

Cuisine de Garden (MICHELIN Plate)
Ask chef Leelawat “Nan” Mankongtiphan where the inspiration of his 10-course menu comes from and he’ll simply tell you “nature.” And certainly, with dishes named “Fallen Leaf”, “Nest”, and “Terrain”, we don’t doubt his direction, but the Thai chef infuses his menu with a decidedly French, Euro-esque style that is hard to ignore. Goby fish en papillote, beef tartare with riceberry crumble, madeleines with passion fruit jam. With most ingredients foraged locally, the nature theme carries weight, but chef Nan’s European training doesn't go unnoticed in the meticulously plated dishes.

The Rainforest dish combines grilled Japanese Wagyu beef with riceberry germ purée and seasonal mushrooms. Photo courtesy of Cuisine de Garden.
The Rainforest dish combines grilled Japanese Wagyu beef with riceberry germ purée and seasonal mushrooms. Photo courtesy of Cuisine de Garden.

Water Library (Chamchuri Square) (MICHELIN Plate)
There are few things less European than a fine dining restaurant in a shopping mall. However, this well-loved establishment, located in Chamchuri Square building, has pushed through any stigmas and lives on as a pioneer in Bangkok’s restaurant scene. With the help of floor-to-ceiling windows and a giant tower of bottles in the room’s centre, you’ll quickly forget there are shops like Dunkin’ Donuts next door. Just as sophisticated as its interior are the smartly-plated, heavily European-inspired dishes. Fan favorites include the Chilean sea bass and the cold pasta with abalone, but we’d argue even the freshly baked bread is impressive. The owner of the restaurant also runs a vineyard in Napa Valley, California, so rest assured the wine selection is vast. 

The bottles tower at the Water Library. Photo from Water Library Facebook.
The bottles tower at the Water Library. Photo from Water Library Facebook.

Phuket 

bampot (MICHELIN Plate)
When a restaurant can smash out a killer plate of handmade wild mushroom tagliatelle and has perfected British favorites like the Scotch quail egg and fish pie, you know something good is happening in the kitchen. The restaurant on Bangtao beach is fashionably dressed in white, with a well-stocked bar and open kitchen there to provide entertainment between bites. You’ll want to order multiple snacks before heading into the sharing-sized mains like the whole Andaman sea bass, all of which pair dangerously well with the wine list impressively curated.

Scotch quail eggs (right) at bampot. Photo from bampot Facebook.
Scotch quail eggs (right) at bampot. Photo from bampot Facebook.

Surf & Turf by Soul Kitchen (Bib Gourmand)
Don’t be deceived by the seemingly humble space of this restaurant set on the first floor of a shophouse in Phuket: the food is anything but modest. The artfully plated dishes don’t leave you guessing what’s underneath garnishes, in fact, German-born chef Tom makes sure dishes look just as satiating as they do pretty. From lobster ravioli to a surf and turf dish of local prawn and Thai Wagyu, the rotating menu of globally-inspired dishes do an excellent job of combining textures and blending flavours.

 The Thai basil risotto is just as delicious as it sounds. Photo courtesy of Surf & Turf by Soul Kitchen.
The Thai basil risotto is just as delicious as it sounds. Photo courtesy of Surf & Turf by Soul Kitchen.

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