Nestled in the courtyard of the W Bangkok, one of Bangkok’s ubiquitous, glitzy skyscrapers sits a beautifully restored historical mansion, The House on Sathorn. At first glance, it looks rather out of place, an old colonial mansion surrounded by the shiny, modern towers of Bangkok. What the team at the W Bangkok has created inside, however, fits right in.
The mansion itself was built in 1888 by Lord Sathorn, and today much of the original architectural and design elements both in and out have been retained and/or beautifully restored. Intricately decorated crown molding features heavily throughout the building, and if you look closely, you will see little boar heads woven throughout the décor. Lord Sathorn was born in the year of the Boar and thought it auspicious to have boars throughout the house. Each room is thematically decorated, including tapestries in the main dining room made from the same materials that featured in royal gowns and wedding garb in the late 19th century.
The restaurant itself features a long bar with seating, which affords a great view of chef Fatih Tutak and his team hard at work. We were lucky enough to be seated there, which afforded us front row seats to Chef Tutak’s thoughtfully choreographed performance. We were immediately offered two glasses of perfectly chilled Moët & Chandon Brut. So far, so very good.
The tasting menu at the House on Sathorn is a take on Executive Chef Fatih Tutak’s journey from his home in Turkey to Thailand, which took him all over Asia. Each item on the menu brilliantly reflects both Chef Tutak’s Turkish heritage, the influences of his travels throughout Asia, and his new home in Thailand.
We started off the evening with four divine amuse bouches – beetroot tarts, musk melon and raki dressed with paprika, shakshuka free-range eggs with spinach cream and fenugreek, and fried bosphorus black mussels with tarator served in edible shells resembling those that the mussels came from. Needless to say, these left our bouches very amusées and wanting more.
The 11-course menu was creatively divided into the following courses by Chef Tutak himself: Snacks of the Day (the amuse bouche mentioned above), Breakfast at Home, Tsukiji Market, From my Mum, Spring Creation 2017, Black Sea vs Aegean, Catch of the Day, Do Not Waste the Pot, Frozen, Tarte, and Sweet End. Each portion was just enough to give you a wonderful taste of Chef Tutak’s creations and yet also leave you hungry for the next course.
At this point we moved on to a quick cocktail round before ordering wine with dinner. The cocktail menu at the House on Sathorn is not to be missed! We ordered a Green & Tonic – caorunn infused gin with sweet basil, green tea, celery bitters, and tonic; and a Dark Lake – Tanqueray gin infused with butterfly pea, mancino vermouth, and violet liquor. The presentation of the cocktails was every bit as exotic as the cocktails themselves, and the flavors were up to par too.
While we savoured the first course, a delightful marriage of tomato, pomegranate, white cheese, and parsley, we watched chef Tutak grating wasabi stems into fresh paste to be used later on in the evening. We were also shown the fresh, live lobster that was going to be used in the Catch of the Day course. At this point, the sommelier recommended we continue with a bottle of 2014 Ad Hoc Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc. Not only was this a fantastic recommendation because it paired beautifully with the courses to come, but it hails from a part of Margaret River in Western Australia that I know and love, so it had sentimental value as well. It was a delicious find that was a welcome addition to the meal!
The Tsukiji Market course was next, highlighting the finest sashimi for which this market has become known the world over. Madai, dressed with black caviar, nanohana, and daikon, served in a lotus leaf. This was followed in rapid succession by the From my Mum… course, a perfectly cooked Manti (Turkish dumpling) filled with eggplant, served with mint butter, and kaymak. I closed my eyes and I could almost taste Istanbul. Amazing. The Spring Creation 2017 was up next, and it actually tasted of Spring – globe artichoke, served with fava beans, dill, and flowers. My partner quickly pointed out that it tasted like a trip through a garden mid-bloom, in the best way possible, and I quite agree. It was everything fresh one loves about spring, and presented in such a way that you almost forgot about the stifling humidity of Bangkok and felt a Springtime breeze roll through the room.
Next up was the more substantial Black Sea vs Aegean course – Wild Turbot with akhisar green olive, cabbage tursu, and plankton – a tasting of the two bodies of water so important to both Turkey and Chef Tutak. This was followed in quick succession by the Catch of the Day. The delicious Phuket Rock Lobster we were shown earlier was served with tami noodles and chu chee cherry, a delightful flavor profile that quite clearly said “Thailand” but also seemed to whisper ‘Turkey.”
Don’t Waste the Pot followed, Chef Tutak’s modern take on “Testi Kebapi” where lamb is cooked in a clay pot for hours and the sealed pot is then shattered in front of the guest revealing the most tender lamb. Chef Tutak’s interpretation included a trio of lamb, sweetbreads, and Anatolian savoury jam, served with his pot “biscuit” mean to be broken and eaten. Not normally not a fan of sweetbreads at all but my taste buds were pleasantly surprised by Chef Tutak’s modern interpretation of this ancient dish.
We then moved on to the desert courses, which were prepared with no less care and presented every bit as brilliantly as the mains. First up was Frozen – red grapes, glühwein, and wood sorrel frozen with liquid nitrogen right in front of us. I was still reveling in the frozen, slightly boozy deliciousness when the Turkish coffee hazelnut tarte came out. So simple, but so rich with flavour and heritage, an homage to the delicious desserts for which Turkey is known. The sweet end was a macaroon, elaborately served in a bonsai tree with two cherries over shaved ice.
Emblazoned above the bar is a quote from Chef Tutak: “The most exciting part of our cuisine is the intention, the process, and the story behind it.” Every course seemed to tell a story, and was presented in such a way that was so visually stimulating; one could almost taste it before eating it. His innovative marriage of flavors, artistic yet simple presentation, and sheer talent in the kitchen have propelled the House on Sathorn into the top 50 restaurants in Asia, and it’s easy to see why. I for one am quite looking forward to returning to Bangkok later this year to see what else Chef Tutak has cooking.
The House on Sathorn
106 Sathon Nuea Road, Khwaeng Silom
Khet Bang Rak
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500