Quince Restaurant Sukhumvit
Rustic Eating in Thong Lor0
Run by an ex-vegetarian who’s turned his hand to things meaty, Quince is nevertheless a restaurant that pleases carnivores and vegetarians, with quality offerings for both crowds. Using locally-sourced ingredients and keeping things simple, Australian chef Jess Barnes has created a great selection of international dishes showcasing the best of Thailand’s home-grown ingredients and adds a host of marvellous cocktails to wash it all down with. You will find this tastefully renovated house at the entrance to Sukhumvit Soi 45; inside you can choose to eat in the laid-back conservatory at the front, or Quince’s smarter dining room.
Quince looks like an extension of Casa Pagoda, the smart interior design store next door, which in some ways it is, as much of the furnishings come from there. Dividing the dining area into two creates different rooms to suit your mood and company; the glasshouse at the front is casual and industrial and hosts the well-stocked bar, ideal for a dinner with friends, whilst the dining hall has a more European feel to it. With a crystal chandelier dangling from the high ceiling and a vintage poster of Barnum and Bailey’s circus on the wall, the vibe is more hushed – perfect for a more intimate supper.
We sit in the glasshouse, already bustling at 19:00; and start by sharing a large portion of pig cheek rillettes with quince paste. Rillettes (I had no idea and was expecting more than one) turns out to be a generous jar of coarse pâté-style spread, meaty and creamy, although once you add the sweet quince paste it gets lost under the fruit. The potato croquettes with chives and smoked cheese are lightly fried and crispy, with a small dollop of sour cream to balance out the oil. Neither starter would win a prize in the looks department, but the combination of flavours more than makes up for it. Chef Barnes used to be a vegetarian, so the selection is impressive, embracing nose-to-tail eating in a serious way. Still, I’m not brave enough to try his signature dish of roast bone marrow with capers and parsley this time. He hasn’t forgotten about his past life either; there is a decent selection of meat-free dishes on offer, including ricotta gnocchi with zucchini and parmesan.
My companion is more adventurous when it comes to the mains, plumping for sea bass with squid ink risotto. The risotto doesn’t taste as harsh as we expected but in fact it has a milky, briny flavour to it and the fish is beautifully presented, shiny silvery skin contrasting with the black rice and green asparagus. I order the more traditional roast pork belly with slaw and roast potatoes and wolf down perfectly seasoned and well-cooked pork and but the salad is rather dull and sits limply on the side of my plate; and although the large portion of potatoes are tasty they are more wedges than roasts.
The cocktails go down very easily and there is a good variety of old-fashioned and fun blends. A rattlesnake mojito comes in a jam jar with a large red chilli squeezed in amongst the crushed snakefruit, lime and spearmint making the other tables envious that they had ordered something more pedestrian. The bar uses a classic recipe from 1908 for their tuxedo cocktail and boy is it strong (and good) made using the house’s own bitters. Dessert feels like an afterthought and nothing on the menu tempts me, so I pick a fruity lychee martini to finish the evening off.
Sadly, the service here is not in line with the rest of the experience. Although we are immediately shown to our table and served water, we wait ten minutes to order a drink and even longer to order our food. Thankfully though, this lack of attention by the wait staff also means that we are left alone at the end of our meal to enjoy the ambience and our cocktails and I do appreciate places that don’t rush you out almost before you have swallowed your last mouthful. Despite the service (or lack of it) I will definitely be back. Book ahead, as even early on a rainy weekday evening Quince is full and happy.
- Opening Hours: Daily 11:30 – 01:30
- Location: Around ten minutes walk from Thong Lor Station, right at the entrance of soi 45.
- BTS: Thong Lor
- Address: Quince, Sukhumvit Soi 45, Bangkok, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 662447