Beyond the large condo development projects cropping up in Bangkok’s Phra Khanong soi (district) where Rama IV and Sukhumvit intersect, you will find a diverse community that’s helping this enclave thrive. Still true to its quaint and informal roots, Phra Khanong has slowly transformed into a blend of local finds and cool imports. From the W district – the ‘SOHO’ of Bangkok to Bangkok’s tallest 360-degree sky bar, the soi has become one of the most unique neighborhoods in town. Phra Khanong is the new urban playground for both locals and visitors.
W District – Bangkok’s SOHO
Occupied by countless food trucks and statement bars, W District is Phra Khanong’s most snazzy night-to-go. It has become quite the communal hub for the young and the trendy, boasting an à la mode night-market soaked in a relaxed atmosphere. Expect BBQ skewers, Thai street dishes, pizzas, and beers scarred around the edge of its easy-going ‘Beer Garden’ that reflects Bangkok’s upbeat, yet mellow culture.
Cielo Sky Bar
The Cielo Sky Bar may be one of the best-kept secrets in Bangkok. Perched on the 46th floor of a private project at Phra Khanong, Cielo offers an unimpeded view of Bangkok at 360 degrees. Visitors are whisked to the 46th floor on a private elevator to the doorsteps of this art-deco sky bar. With a curated selection of international dishes and cocktails, Cielo is a breathtaking place to sit and watch the Bangkok skyline.
Naiipa Art Complex
The Naiipa Art Complex created a stir when it was awarded Wallpaper’s design award in 2015. Translated as ‘Deep into the Forest’, Naiipa is one of Phra Khanong’s trendiest landmarks. It’s a mix-used project concealed within an old forest and uses reflective glass to integrate office space, art galleries, art studios, restaurants, and coffee shops to co-exist with the natural environment. It has quickly emerged as an art community for Bangkok’s award-winning designers, architects, and creatives.
Hof Art Space
In between the food and the drinks at W District, Phra Khanong’s Hof Art Space is a premier contemporary gallery that showcases the works of established and emerging Thai artists and aims to support the new generation of international creatives. Hof Art Space is one of the many places symbolic of Bangkok’s burgeoning ground for the artistic community of contemporary art and popular culture.
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura occupies the rooftop of the brand’s store on Rodeo Drive, a two-mile-long street in Beverly Hills that is host to a parade of luxury fashion boutiques.
The restaurant takes part of its name from head chef Massimo Bottura, who has created a “deeply Italian” menu for the venue.
This marks the second time that Bottura has partnered with Gucci. Back in 2018, the three-Michelin-star chef worked with the brand on its eatery in Florence, Italy. This sits inside the store-cum-museum Gucci Garden that both sells and exhibits unique Gucci pieces.
The 50-cover LA location is designed to be an “intimate and cosy” space that nods to the opulent aesthetic of the existing Florence venue.
It has a private entrance at street level, where the restaurant’s name is written across an illuminated slab of pale marble. Guests are greeted in a lobby upstairs, which is covered in tree-printed wallpaper from Gucci’s homeware range.
Star-shaped spotlights punctuate the black ceiling, while an ornately patterned red rug overlays the parquet wooden floor.
Star forms appear again on the mosaic floors of the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, which looks out over Beverly Hills’ bustling, palm tree-lined streets.
A series of jade-green steel beams run overhead, supporting a sheet of awning that can be pulled across to shield diners from the sun.
Dining tables with red-marble countertops are dotted throughout, along with wicker, bistro-style chairs.
An antique wooden pulpit has also been repurposed as an outdoor bar counter.
Concertina glazed doors close off the indoor eating area, which is anchored by a huge, curved seating banquette upholstered in merlot-red velvet.
Gucci is part of a growing wave of high-end fashion houses that have their own restaurants – Louis Vuitton recently threw open the doors to Sugalabo V, an eatery set within its store in Osaka, Tokyo.
Tucked behind a speakeasy-style door, the intimate dining space features chocolate-brown surfaces and jewel-tone furnishings.
On a quiet patch of land in Tanjung Malim, Perak, strange, miraculous things are happening. The land is filled with large tanks, which in turn, are filled with fish. So far, nothing seems out of the ordinary.
Except that these fish happen to be sturgeon, a breed of fish that typically thrives in sub-tropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines in Europe, north America and some parts of Asia.
Sturgeon fish are also better known for its roe, tiny little orbs called caviar that often fetch thousands of ringgit. This little Malaysian farm harvests caviar too!
Breeding the fish
On the invitation of a few Malaysian investors, Chien initially came to Malaysia to start a hot springs resort but ended up deciding to kick-start a sturgeon fish farming project instead in 2008.
The investors pumped in millions of ringgit into the project and Chien got to work. It took him five years, thousands of lost fish, countless expert naysayers, a lot of determination (and some heartbreak) and eight failed attempts before he finally nailed the recipe for breeding sturgeon fish in Malaysia.
“We hired a lot of experts and most of them gave up, but I kept trying,” says Chien simply.
Though Chien – understandably – will not reveal his secret methods, interestingly, after all that trial-and-error, he has discovered that sturgeon fish actually grow much faster in hot, humid local temperatures than they otherwise would.
“The growth of the fish is much faster – because in Europe, they have four seasons, so during winter, the fish don’t eat and don’t grow but here they’re growing and growing 365 days a year,” he says jubilantly.
Chien says the purity of the water used in the tanks is important to ensure good quality fish. As such, he uses water sourced from the forest behind the farm, which is so pristine it has a pH value of seven.
This water is pumped into the tanks three times a day to ensure it remains clean and the fish are only fed commercial marine pellets for optimum growth.
“The natural resources here are excellent, the water quality is very good so I am confident that the fish and the caviar are world-class,” says Chien.
Lim became immersed in the farm’s day-to-day operations in 2017, after being tasked by his family to commercialize the output from the farm.
“Up until that point, the focus had been on R&D, not on selling the fish or the caviar, so I focused on commercializing both,” he says.
Lim spent a year learning the ins and outs of sturgeon farming and caviar harvesting, even engaging a German expert to show the team how to extract the best flavour from the caviar.
Under his watch, the company also launched T’lur Caviar, the first Malaysian brand of tropical caviar in March 2019 and hasn’t looked back since.
Made in Malaysia caviar
Caviar is one of the world’s oldest luxury foods and was originally harvested by Russian and Persian fishermen in the Caspian Sea. It typically refers to salt-cured fish roe only sourced from sturgeon (roe from salmon and other fish is not considered “real caviar”).
The Caspian Sea is often reputed to be the producer of the best caviar in the world, with varietals like Beluga caviar and Osetra caviar leading the premium pack.
There are 27 different species of sturgeon in the world, but T’lur’s caviar yield is only from two kinds – Siberian sturgeon and Amur (Japanese) sturgeon.
Chien and Lim first realised they were sitting on a goldmine when an injured fish was slaughtered and caviar was discovered. Further examination of a sample size of fish on the farm showed that 99% of them were female.
“We suspect it’s because of the environment and weather,” says Lim.
Since most of the fish on the farm are female and Chien had already discovered how to keep sturgeon fish alive in the local climate, selling Malaysian caviar became a foregone conclusion. After all, Chien had already proved to be a sturgeon pioneer.
Why not go the extra mile and become a pioneering Malaysian caviar producer too?
Source: Star Malaysia
It comes as no surprise that luxury restaurants in Kuala Lumpur are concentrated in KL City where all the bustle and hustle occur. While many are no stranger to KLCC for its famous Petrona Twin Towers, the city boasts some famous eateries serving dishes from fresh sashimi flown from Japan to eloquently-plated French lobster bisque.
Located at Intercontinental Hotel KL, Tatsu makes a first impression with a mysterious facade. Muted interiors create a romantic dining ambiance while ample of natural light pours in through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass panels, highlighting the contemporary Japanese aesthetics of the eatery.
Whet your appetite with the crispy duck confit on Japanese spinach with the perfect proportion of crunchy textures. The Ku platter, an assortment of sashimi air-flown from Japan, bursts with fresh flavors. The restaurant’s signature Australian Wagyu beef on a Himalayan rock salt hot plate comes perfectly cooked to a medium rare juiciness and tenderness.
Aesthetically pleasing with elaborate and decorative arts, Manja exudes comfort and a sense of extravagance. Located in the Old Malaya colonial heritage building in Kuala Lumpur, it is a two-storey glass-ceiling lounge with magnificent views. Time seems to stand still within its walls, with a sense of respite from the hustle of the city.
The starter, a blue claw lobster slider sees a luscious local river lobster sautéed and braised with lobster oil and served on a brioche bun with lobster butter and chimichurri béarnaise dressing. The Wagyu gula Melaka is 200 grams of smooth prime beef coated in a popular local palm sugar and ginger glaze.
Maison Francaise is located in a bungalow which has been restored and converted into a restaurant. As one of the most luxury restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, the eatery is decorated in classic black and white. The main dining area is elegant, with French windows that open to an outdoor balcony. Diners can choose from the gourmand menus or the a la cart.
Divided into cold and warm starters, fish and meat courses, caviar, cheese and desserts, tastes and flavors make up for the lack of variety. The chef’s barley risotto with artichoke on gratis and the frothy lobster bisque makes the perfect appetizers. The grilled octopus leg, spongy to the bite and paired with seared scallops will satisfy your taste buds as the first main course.
Petronas Tower 3 isn’t the easiest place to find. However, once found, you are greeted by a zen, minimalist setting, with nothing to focus on except for an amazing panoramic view of the KL skyline. Sound damping is excellent, allowing for an intimate conversation even on the busiest of nights.
First timers shall go with Nobu’s signature omakase course, starring the chef’s personal selection of signature dishes. A starter of toro tartar gets the appetite going, while the tuna sashimi salad with perfectly seared tuna, further whets the appetite. The black cod with miso is deliciously umami with its thick miso coating on an almost too tenderly cooked piece of cod.
You can smell the aroma long before you spot the restaurant. The restaurant is a grandeur of majestic yet tasteful design with chandeliers, cushy seats and flowing curtains. Traditional Indian music plays in the background, adding character to the restaurant.
An addictive starter without being overwhelming would be the palace platter, a non-vegetarian selection of juicy chicken lollipops, crisp murgh samosas, plump Shami kebabs and tangy murgh chat. The mergh makhanwala is one of the chicken specialties here, an Indian version of butter chicken with the charbroiled boneless chicken tikka cooked in a rich creamy sauce of butter and mild spices.
Excerpted from Malaysia Tater
Thailand’s Sansiri has proved itself to be more than just a developer with its newest project – The CLOUD.
Thailand’s reputation as a food haven comes as no coincidence. From Pad Thai to barbecued skewers, the exotic flavors result from a colorful mixture of local herbs, sauces and locally-harvested oils. As tasty as the food is, you might be overwhelmed by a sense of guilt. How much exercise do you need to compensate for those scrumptious meals?
THE CLOUD, a cross-over lifestyle project by Sansiri and The Coffee Club, adds to Thailand’s list of hip eateries. It’s a lifestyle and wellness hub for visitors to recharge, relax and explore.
The Coffee Club has been a beloved coffee chain in Australia, now extending their presence to The CLOUD, where the menu comes with a crazy Australian standard. Low calories, low sugar and low fat are just a few descriptions of the menu, a collaboration with Samitivej Hospital, of healthy burgers, grilled Japanese salmon, chicken and avocado salad, and caffeine-free drinks. Their new and famous latte, nicknamed the Mermaid Latte, pays homage to the vibrant and playful colors found on this mythical sea creature.
There’s also a cheat menu, where customers can opt for cream, butter, milk and cheese, on their cheat days.
The CLOUD is an new epicenter of Sansiri’s approach to lifestyle living. Beside a restaurant and a wellness eatery, it exemplars the design values that break the traditional molds of homes in Thailand.
Projects designed by Sansiri are no longer traditional. Condo projects like Khun by Yoo and Monument Thong Lo are reflection of Sansiri’s foward-thinking design. You will find communal spaces, like co-kitchens, studios and club houses throughout the residences: places to relax, chill and socialize outside the four walls at home.
Sansiri has stepped foot in recent years to build its lifestyle brand to bring together people, art, design, food and retail. The recently launched Siri House in Bangkok is a pool-side retreat in Pathum Wan, and its counterpart in Singapore, is a luxury hideout on Dempsey Hill. Now, The CLOUD is Bangkok’s cloud 9 hidden inside the busy Siam Paragon. You won’t miss those fluffy white clouds dangling from the ceiling at the entrance.
The white gold caviar is the most scrumptious foods of all. And the most expensive.
For Ashton Hawks‘ clients, who are among the population of luxury spenders, here is your daily dose of luxury.
These salty treats are favorites of Michelin chefs. Revered and relished by aristocrats and the wealthy across the globe, some say its acquired taste is like no other. Nicknamed the ‘White Gold’, only a few restaurants around the world serve this rare caviar.
Grull sells for $100,000 per tin, which evens out to about $30,000 per teaspoon. So what makes it so expensive?
Harvested from 100-year-old albino beluga sturgeons from the South Caspian Sea, the caviar is smooth and aromatic. The rarest out of the beluga sturgeons, the albinos are white throughout, a result from a genetic mutation.
Today, the sturgeons are farmed in Europe including Grull, a family-run business from Austria which cultivates the species and brands the caviar into small tins with a 22- karat gold leaf.
Many say that the gold caviar has a distinct personality. It’s complex and rich in taste, where the eggs have an intense nutty flavor and is buttery in texture.
The best way to treat yourself to them is to serve it alone on a glass dish, with ice at the base to maintain a cool temperature. Some pair it with a thin slice of bread or crackers along with a shot of vodka. Some opt for French champagne. Or you could try the old way: slurping a small teaspoon of it from the index finger.
And if you’re looking to get your hands on some? Hong Kong is the only city on the continent that serves the white gold caviar. The Almas Caviar Bar with only 7 seating at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong will definitely excite those with scrumptious taste buds.
Luxury underwater dining is going to become the next big luxury hit.
“Under” in Lindesnes, Norway, is Europe’s first and the world’s largest luxury underwater dining venue. Five meters under the sea at Norway’s southern tip, diners can watch the marine life pass by as they eat.
Predictably, it’s already becoming one of the most coveted dinner reservations in the world.
Despite only having its soft opening in March, Under already has more than 7,000 reservations, paying guests won’t be able to get into the restaurant until April.
Because the restaurant is only capable of serving 40 guests at a time, it will take months to work through the build-up. The earliest reservations available for two guests are currently in August.
Guests will dine on a set tasting menu, consisting of seasonal, local ingredients and fresh seafood. Despite a mouth-watering menu, it’s probably not the food that most people are waiting for.
“The fascination is just this movement from above water to underwater through the building,” Kjetil Traedal Thorsen, the founder of Snoehetta, the design mastermind behind Under. “The big window exposes the underwater not like an aquarium, it’s the real thing.”
More than half the sperm whale-shaped structure is submerged underwater, where guests can have an immersive experience in Norwegian waters. The venue, after Maldives and Dubai, has taken underwater dining to the next level.
Diners will enter the restaurant through its uppermost level, which includes a foyer and cloakroom. The middle level houses a champagne bar and the main restaurant space is located on the lowest floor.
Traditionally an adults-only indulgence, an imaginatively inspired afternoon tea is the perfect way to introduce children to fine dining. With its royal connections, London is the ideal city in which to find extraordinary and exciting teatime treats that will satisfy the most discerning adult palette as well as indulging the delightfully sweet fantasies of younger guests.
1. Best for a healthy treat: The ‘Healthy’ tea at Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair
An afternoon of indulgence doesn’t have to mean dealing with children’s sugar rushes on the way home. A low-carb, low-sugar variation of the traditional cakes and sandwiches manages to still feel like a treat, with healthy alternatives such as xylitol in place of sugar and smoked chicken with avocado taking the place of the usual buttered sandwiches. The chocolate cake, a staple favourite of children everywhere, is flourless and has a topping of yoghurt instead of sugary icing. The old-fashioned tea room is where Queen Victoria enjoyed her afternoon treats, so children and adults alike can truly feel like royalty!
Price: £47.50 for a traditional tea; children under 11 are half price.
2. Best for Disney lovers: The ‘Snow Queen’ tea at Conrad Hotel, St James’
With Frozen Fever sweeping the globe, this specially themed afternoon tea is a magical experience for young Disney lovers. Icy blue sweet treats include a ‘Royal Sceptre’- a perfect sphere of sponge decorated with praline and snowflake lace, and ‘Palace Snowflakes’ made with crushed sparkling meringue. Child-friendly sandwiches such as peanut butter and Nutella are available and for the adults, traditional scones and finger sandwiches accompany the more decadent fancies.
The tea is held in Emmeline’s Lounge, named after the 19th century political activist, and the décor is subtly altered according to the theme; low blue lighting currently graces the lobby. The themed menu is rotated seasonally (look out for a Secret Garden selection featuring chocolate butterflies in Spring).
Price: £39 per person
3. Best for a celebration: The ‘Children’s Afternoon Tea’ at Claridge’s, Mayfair
With 150 years’ experience serving afternoon tea, Claridge’s puts its extensive knowledge and understanding of customers’ needs to full effect with the Children’s Afternoon Tea. Parties with children are tactfully seated in the Foyer area, so there is no need to worry that your child will be the only one chatting a few decibels too high; the atmosphere is one of a special rite of passage that families are comfortably able to share together. Adults can dine on a regularly replenished selection of sandwiches made with organic chicken and exclusively grown local cucumber; salmon with whipped aromatic butter; Burford brown egg on an exceptionally tasty onion bread and a perfectly balanced sweet and savoury creation involving Quicke’s cheddar with apple and walnut.
If there is any room left for sweets, the offerings include two kinds of scone and four kinds of pastry, accompanied of course by an extensive selection of tea including the Claridge’s house blend. Younger VIP’s are invited to share in the adult selection as well as their own personal menu, which includes childhood favourites such as sprinkled cupcakes and ice-cream shaped sweets, while the menu itself doubles up as a colouring book. Bliss!
Price: £26 for a child; £55 for an adult
4. Best for a sweet tooth: The ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ tea at One Aldwych, Covent Garden
This literary inspired tea is a delight to both adults and children. Celebrating the Sam Mendes-directed production of the timeless classic on the stage, the menu offers treats that readers will recognise as having jumped straight out of the pages. The chocolate golden egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango is particularly sublime, and younger guests will love the colourful homemade candyfloss.
Particularly appreciated was the variance from the traditional finger sandwiches, which were on offer but were alongside a savoury tomato tart and leek and stilton quiche; this made a nice change from the usual filled breads. The signature ‘Charlie’ cocktail was also a surprising touch, laced according to the theme with chocolate bitters and finished with champagne. If you would prefer to stick to the traditional pot of tea, the menu is short but sweet: four specialist teas including a Chocolate Tea and Winter Spice. The quality and strength of the teas is more than enough to make up for the smaller selection, which can be overwhelming in other establishments.
Price: £37.50 per person; £48 with a Cocktail Charlie
5. Best for imaginative fantasy: ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tea at The Sanderson, Fitzrovia
An utter extravaganza of colour and whim, this sensory adventure celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. The delights of this experience are not just in the culinary creations but in the detail of the aesthetics. Menus are hidden within vintage book covers, miniature bottles contain ‘Drink me’ potions and sandwiches are displayed on ticking clocks as well as traditional china stands. The tableware has been considered in exceptional detail, with the book’s red-white-and-black colour scheme prevailing and it is difficult to decide which is better; the décor or the food.
For adults, the smoked salmon, caviar and quail’s egg Scotch egg is an absolute dream, as is the Cornish crab and herb éclair. Adventurous palettes may enjoy the rabbit-inspired carrot meringue to balance the traditional scones, and The Sanderson has created five limited-edition teas to accompany the meal, including a memorable blend infused with blue cornflowers. Younger guests will love the pocket-watch macaroons, the marshmallow mushrooms and cookie soldiers, along with various other sweet treats.
Price: £48 per adult; £35 for children aged 4-11.
Whichever you decide, afternoon tea in London is a memorable experience. These child-friendly themed afternoon teas ensure that the whimsical delight and great British tradition of tea and cake can be shared happily with the next generation.
Cocktails in ice spheres. Caviar made of olive oil. Disappearing transparent raviolis. Sound cool? Well these are all examples of Molecular Gastronomy. Molecular Gastronomy blends physics and chemistry to transform the tastes and textures of food. The result? New and innovative dining experiences. The term Molecular Gastronomy is commonly used to describe a style of cuisine in which chefs explore culinary possibilities by borrowing tools from the science lab and ingredients from the food industry. Formally, the term molecular gastronomy refers to the scientific discipline that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. Molecular gastronomy seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena.
Many modern chefs do not accept the term molecular gastronomy to describe their style of cooking and prefer other terms like “modern cuisine”, “modernist cuisine”, “experimental cuisine” or “avant-garde cuisine”. Heston Blumenthal says molecular gastronomy makes cuisine sound elitist and inaccessible, as though you need a degree in rocket science to enjoy it. In the end, molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine – or whatever you want to call this cooking style – refers to experimental restaurant cooking driven by the desire of modern cooks to explore the world’s wide variety of ingredients, tools and techniques. Molecular gastronomy research starts in the kitchen where chefs study how food tastes and behaves under different temperatures, pressures and other scientific conditions.
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS
Molecular gastronomy experiments have resulted in new innovative dishes like hot gelatins, airs, faux caviar, spherical ravioli, crab ice cream and olive oil spiral. Ferran Adria from El Bulli restaurant used alginates to create his system of spherification which gelled spheres that literally burst in your mouth. Heston Blumenthal from The Fat Duck restaurant discovered the ability of fat to hold flavor and created a dish that had three flavors -basil, olive and onion – with each taste being perceived in sequence. The potential of molecular gastronomy is enormous. It is revolutionizing traditional cooking and transforming dining into a surprising emotional and sensory experience. Watch the video below to get an idea of the endless possibilities!
IS IT SAFE?
When people hear the words molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine for the first time they often mistakenly view it as unhealthy, synthetic, chemical, dehumanizing and unnatural. This is not surprising given that molecular gastronomy often relies on fuming flasks of liquid nitrogen, led-blinking water baths, syringes, tabletop distilleries, PH meters and shelves of food chemicals with names like carrageenan, maltodextrin and xanthan. My wife’s first reaction when I surprised her with a liquid pea spherical raviolo was to say “Can I eat this? Is this safe? Why don’t YOU try it first?”. The truth is that the “chemicals” used in molecular gastronomy are all of biological origin. Even though they have been purified and some of them processed, the raw material origin is usually marine, plant, animal or microbial. These additives have been approved by EU standards and are used in very, very small amounts. The science lab equipment used just helps modern gastronomy cooks to do simple things like maintaining the temperature of the cooking water constant (water bath) , cooling food at extremely low temperatures fast (liquid nitrogen) or extract flavor from food (evaporator). There is still some debate out there about the healthiness of molecular gastronomy but I personally believe there are far bigger health issues in the everyday food we consume. In the end, you are not going to be eating liquid pea spheres every day anyway.
Source: Molecular Recipes