Sra Bua Restaurant by Kiin Kiin at Siam Kempinski
Modern Thai cuisine in Bangkok
Sra Bua a fine-dining restaurant that serves cutting edge Thai cuisine unlike any you will have ever seen before. Well-known Thai favourites have been turned inside out, and every dish is a treat for the eyes – as well as the taste buds. Located on the ground floor of the Siam Kempinski Hotel, Sra Bua restaurant has high ceilings and Thai antique embellishments. The restaurant’s name means lotus pond and a central feature of the restaurant is an ornate water feature decorated with lily pods and lotus flowers. The most coveted table in the house sits under the beautifully carved teak roof in the left hand corner of the dining room, but there are also some cosy booths if you want a little more privacy.
The chef who designed the menu has a passion for Thai cooking, and runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. Henrik Yde-Andersen has now left the restaurant in the reliable hands of chef Morten, who used to work in Kiin Kiin as well, but visits regularly to ensure his vision appears on every plate. The menu changes every quarter, but signature dishes and favourites remain. We start with a trio of ‘nibblings’. The soy-roasted cashew nut meringue was crunchy on the outside with a chewy centre and the soy masked any taste of sugar. The lotus root was flavoured with kaffir lime was sweet and tangy, and the final amuse-bouche was a rich, smoky tomato and chilli dip served with a prawn cracker.
One of their signature dishes, and definitely one of the most photogenic, is the frozen red curry with lobster salad. Carefully sliced pieces of lobster, avocado and longan fruit are artfully placed around the rim of the plate, with a scoop of frozen red curry, peanuts and lychee foam, surrounded by a haze of liquid nitrogen in the middle. The idea is that you scoop all the elements together and they blend perfectly as you eat. The dominant flavours are most definitely the rich lobster and warming taste of curry, but the fruit and nuts provided extra textures. Although the food it most definitely Thai, there are hints of French fine dining: the seared foie gras is served with plum wine and tamarind pear chutney, the gritty chutney cutting through the rich flavours of the liver. For a kick of heat, try the orchid salad with snow fish in a spicy Thai dressing.
All the food is presented with that extra wow factor, and even dishes that sound traditional on the menu appear at your table in a striking manner. One of the must-try main courses is the grilled beef tenderloin, served with a Thai basil reduction and a spicy oyster sauce with the aromatic flavour of tamarind really added depth to the dish. Another Thai favourite: creamy Tom Kha has been given a makeover and broken into separate parts. The generous portion of panko fish is flaky and flavoursome and is topped with crisp peppery fish skin. The fragrant soup is served from a teapot and is lightly spiced. The staff are warm, attentive and knowledgeable about the ingredients and preparation of the food, which is always handy when you can’t quite pinpoint the complex blend of spices and flavourings.
The dessert selection is no less impressive. The crowd-pleaser is a banana cake served on a wooden platter served with a heap of fresh coconut, toasted almonds with the sweet salty contrast coming from the caramelised milk and salted ice-cream. Although the flavour combination was delicious, this dish was too filling to finish. For a lighter option, the passion fruit ice-cream comes decorated with miniature vanilla meringues, kumquats and condensed milk. The stand-out sweet for me was most definitely the de constructed piña colada: pineapple sorbet served in a brittle coconut shell with a side of Malibu flavoured cream and surrounded by pineapple pieces and crunchy dried coconut. It tasted like a bowlful of summer sunshine and holidays. Reconstructing Thai dishes in such an unusual way is very daring, but Sra Bua pulls it off in majestic style and a meal here is a treat for any food lover.
Sra Bua restaurant also have an innovative drinks menu, and the food can be paired with juice, cocktails or wine. The fresh juice pairing is delicious, starting with a refreshing white flower iced tea. The starter is served with passion fruit and lychee juice, great for an extra crunch and cooling the spicy chilli. The flavours of the main course are complemented by red grape juice and the pulp-filled pineapple juice that comes with dessert is a great palette cleanser. The cocktail pairing is equally inspiring starting with a martini muddled with sweet star anise flavoured Galliano and lime. The main course comes with a Royal Bua Baan, which combines rum, orange Curacao, orange, lime and red grape. The sweet digestif that comes with dessert is called Pink Lotus and is a blend of vodka, strawberry and peach liquor, white cream and syrup.
Sra Bua Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 15:00 amd 18:00 – 23:00 Daily
- BTS: Siam
- Address: 991 Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 162 9000