Bangkok's The House on Sathorn, at night — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The colorful, golden House on Sathorn, located adjacent to the W Hotel, is one of Bangkok's top fairly new restaurants, and it's worth a visit just to check out its fabulous architecture and decor, although that would be missing out on half the fun, as the innovative Asian cuisine restaurant also is a knockout when it comes to the food.
The beautiful house is 126 years old, built by Lord Sathorn (for whom the surrounding neighbourhood is named). It later became an upscale hotel in the 1920s and then served as the site of the Russian Embassy until 1999.
Left vacant for a time, it has been completely renovated and restored to its former glory, down to its original golden yellow color palette and its ornately carved, intricate wooden staircases.
The beautiful colonial House on Sathorn — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The interior retains its colonial charms, with contemporary Thai art pieces adorning the empty spaces, and plenty of nouvelle cuisine coffee table books on display to match the creativity going on in the kitchen.
While the centerpiece of The House on Sathorn is the restaurant, the building also serves as a bar, an upstairs club lounge and an al fresco bistro and afternoon tea venue in the spacious outdoor courtyard, where you can relax under a huge tree and admire the exterior architecture of the atmospheric building.
The courtyard of The House on Sathorn — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Lest one forget, though, the reason to come here is to dine, and one is treated to a real culinary journey by Chef Fatih Tutak, originally from Istanbul, who has served time at the renowned Bellbrook in Hong Kong and the 3-Michelin-starred Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo, which may explain why much of the menu is laden with Japanese ideas and ingredients.
The relatively short menu is based on memories from Tutak's culinary life, and each dish tells a story. For example, Snowstorm in Istanbul, 2004, which features a fine recreation of a lamb kebab, recalls the worst snowstorm in the city's history, when all the kebab sellers had to shut except for one, from whom Tutak and his co-chefs all purchased from during the freeze.
The Hunting — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The most stunning dish on the menu is probably The Hunting, which consists of a succulent duck's breast served with sorrel leaves and pomegranate sauce. The dish comes from Tutak's visiting his German wife's family home, where the father was a traditional hunter.
The sorrel leaves are the duck's wings, the pomegranate seeds and surrounding sauce are the blood and the burnt onion powder the exploded gunpowder.
Early Morning at Tsukiji Fish Market — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Another great dish is Early Morning at Tsukiji Fish Market, which pays homage to Tokyo's finest fish market. For this dish, fine katsuo tuna from Tsukiji is marinated and then served with avocado, seaweed and wasabi on a large lotus leaf.
Season Volume 3, which features seasonal produce, has a Jerusalem artichoke served up with a porcini mushroom and tapioca infusion into which an onsen egg yolk (cooked at 60 degrees for 30 minutes) has been dropped.
More delightful food: Season Volume 3 — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
As Tutak explains, he wanted to have a menu that mirrored the storied history of the old house in which it is served, thus his own stories recreated into innovative dishes in the kitchen, which really is a first in Bangkok. He also wanted to avoid the stuffy term "fine dining," labelling the cuisine "fun dining" instead.
The House on Sathorn delivers both on its fine cuisine and its decor, and it's well worth a visit. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, with set lunch offerings as well as a la carte options.
Interior of The House on Sathorn — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis