Whale's Belly Bangkok
Winner of Iron Chef Thailand
Whale’s Belly - whose head chef recently won the prestigious title of Iron Chef Thailand on television - is a restaurant that exceeds expectations. The playful name comes from a fairytale but the comfortable surroundings, friendly service and astonishing creative cuisine are a real winning combination. Located on Sukhumvit Soi 39, the restaurant is open every day from 17:30 until 23:00. Taxi or car is the best way to get here.
The kitchen is under the supervision of a young, visionary chef who trained in the seafood section of Le Normandie at Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental. With an interest in molecular gastronomy, some of the techniques used are inspired by those used at the famed Spanish culinary school elBulli, so expect jellies, mousses and espuma whipped up from surprising raw ingredients for an eye opening and extremely fun dining experience. Ingredients are imported to ensure that Whale’s Belly serves the finest quality produce available.
New for 2015: A 9 Course Culinary Advenutre created by Whale's Belly's Iron Chef Champion
For food lovers who want an extra special treat, Whale's Belly has released a new 9 course degustation menu featuring stunning dishes revolving around the theme of molecular gastronomy.
This is truly a culinary advenure with dishes as diverse as yellowfin tuna tartare with jellied apple and horseradish, to 12 hours braised lamb belly. The price for this memorable feast is 2,250 baht which we feel is unbelievably good value when you consider the quality of the food and overall fine dining experience. There is a 3 glass wine pairing for an addtional 1,200 baht.
The actual menu Chef Mai created on the acclaimed television show, Iron Chef, is available in la carte form too - with standout dishes including an innovative take on a classic dish: tuna Rossini. A premium akami loin is cooked sous-vide and served with two generous slices of truffle, foie gras and a mango-lemon emulsion to cut through the rich flavours and bring some light fruity tastes to the dish.
At this sophisticated yet quirky restaurant, the whale’s belly is central to the theme, with white slats on the roof making up the bones of the large mammal and the walls decorated in a deep sea blue. Although the tables are laid with crisp white cloths and a selection of wine glasses, there is a childlike playfulness in the dining space as well. Pinocchio was the inspiration, and you will find a framed puppet in the private room to honour him. Other quirky decorations include the Rose’s necklace from Titanic and the Captain’s Hook. The food may be fine dining but the atmosphere is designed to be welcoming and comfortable. The staff are efficient and quickly serve signature charcoal bread buns with butter and duck liver terrine; a lovely little extra treat.
Welcome mocktails are served to every guest, with a new blend mixed every day. The refreshing juice was an aquamarine colour on our visit, fluke rather than a nod to the restaurant’s ocean theme. It’s nice to have something to sip on whilst you relax in the comfy bucket chairs with their jolly navy and gold nautical cushions. There are eight wines by the glass, which makes it easy to mix a match with the fish and meat courses.
We start with the unique yellowfin tuna tartare. This dish is a medley of textures and tastes, the fish served with delicate cubs of soya jelly, granny smith apple, buttered croutons and a sweet and sour reduction. The lime gives it an extra zing and the micro greens offered a hint of warming pepper with every mouthful. It takes someone who really knows their ingredients to create a balance in the different flavours so well, and this dish really showed that keeping it simple is not always best.
Although this restaurant comes under the banner of European cuisine, there are some Asian influences on the menu. The cold capellini pasta with crab and mentaiko is another dish that delivers in particular. Here, the chilled pasta is refreshing, and the slightly spicy blend is infused with yuzu (a Japanese orange style fruit), truffle and served with crab and black cod roe.
Moving through the courses at Whale's Belly Restaurant is like a journey, with gourmet ingredients reimagined and paired with surprising flavours and textures. Crab salad canneloni in a beetroot jelly wrap, a blanced 62 degrees onsen egg seved with bacon as a reimagined breakfast dish, and Hokkaido scallop served with foie gras in a carrot and carrot puree. Yet the names alone don't do the chef justice as he manipulates ingredients in a way few other chefs can imagine. For example, buillabaise stock is turned into a mousse to enhance the excelelnt silver sea bass, lamb skin is crisped and turned into paper in the lamb dish and kalamata olives are dried and candied to match with the bacon wrapped tiger prawn.
The chef may be a fish connoisseur but he’s pretty good with all things meaty as well. We try the slow braised wagyu beef cheek, cooked over 36 hours and served with a peppercorn sauce. This tender meat has an intense flavour, but the accompanying honey pickled radish has a clean, fresh taste that prevents it from becoming too rich.
Dessert is the chef’s take on tiramisu, a tower of lady fingers, cashews and cream with a gooseberry garnish. The crunchiness added an extra depth to the creamy coffee notes and it wasn’t overly sweet.
The passion at Whale’s Belly is evident and brings a certain charm to the place. Here, the cooking is from the heart with plenty of style and skill. This isn’t a cheap night out, but we think such interesting cooking is worth it. There is a la carte available here and new for 2015, the nine course gourmet set menu costs an excellent 2,250 baht (not including tax or service).
- Opening Hours: Every day from 17.30-23.00
- Address: 39 Boulevard tower, 2nd floor, Sukhumvit Soi 39, Sukhumvit Road.
- Tel: +66 (0)2 1600 333