13 Hot Restaurants, Shops and More in the Big Mango
Pulsing with energy and stylish design, Thailand's capital is ready for the future. JENNIFER CHEN has the scoop. PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHRISTOPHER WISE
1 Issaya Siamese Club
In a green-walled 1920’s villa on the edge of the Sathorn district, native son Ian Kittichai is expanding his culinary empire. Updated Thai classics are the staple, and the lamb massaman curry is some of the finest you’ll find anywhere. 4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Rd.; issaya.com.
2 Ruea Thong
Don’t be put off by the no-frills shopfront—behind the door you’ll find a neighborhood spot in Thonglor that specializes in mouthwatering Thai comfort food. Order the staples: yum khai dao (fried-egg salad) and gaeng som cha-om tod (sour curry with acacia-leaf omelette).
351/2 Soi 55, Sukhumvit Rd.; +66 2 185 2610.
3 Water Library
At this eatery, Singapore-born chef Haikal Johari executes a 12-course menu for 10 at a long wooden counter. Expect seriously ambitious fusion plates such as sous vide Dover sole with a miso sabayon. The Grass, Thonglor Soi 12, Sukhumvit Rd.; mywaterlibrary.com.
1 On the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, British designer Alexander Lamont’s namesake boutique is an Aladdin’s cave of Asian home accessories and furnishings created in his Bangkok studio. We love the packable treasures such as bronze bud vases lacquered teacups. 155 Rajadamri Rd.; alexanderlamont.com.
2 Minimalist Code 10 is a one-stop shop for style-setters. On the racks: Thai custom labels, including Nagara and T-Ra, and collections by up-and-coming local designers such as Vatit Itthi and Pravit Sawadviphachai. Look for leather and python and handbags by Tu’I. Siam Paragon, first floor, 991 Rama I Rd.; +66 2 610 8312.
3 The just-launched, slick-but-casual men’s line Project 1.1 by Greyhound specializes in razor-sharp cotton suits, 1980’s-style skinny ties, stovepipe trousers and tailored Bermudas. Siam Paragon, second floor, 991 Rama I Rd., +66 2 610 8312
4 If you’re looking for one-of-a kind, retro gifts, spend evening at Talad Rot Fai market, filled with 1970’s Thai rock records, old-school cameras and occasional finds like an original Hans Wegner chair from the 1950’s. Kamphaeng Phet Rd.; open weekends, 6 p.m. to midnight.
5 At the light-filled Urban Tree Organics, owners Adisak Kaewrakmuk and Jirasuda Areepunth stock beauty products made with indigenous ingredients—the coconut and Kaffir-lime shampoos and honey-scented body wash are your best bets. 934 Samsen Rd.; urbantreeorganics.com.
Start at V64 Art Studio (143/19 Soi 1, Chengwattana Rd.; v64artstudio.com), a warehouse-like space with 35 working studios featuring more than 70 Thai designers. Next, head to Gallery Ver (200/1 Ko Dang; galleryver.com), run by the country’s best-known artist, Rirkrit Tiravanija, who showcases works by rising talents. Downtown, the Jim Thompson Art Center (6 Soi Kasemsan 2; thejimthompsonartcenter.org) stages rotating modern art and textile exhibitions. 100 Tonson Gallery (100 Soi Tonson; 100tonsongallery.com) brings big-name shows to Bangkok, and BKK ArtHouse (283/1, Home Place, BF1, Thonglor Soi 15, Sukhumvit Rd.; studiomiu.co.th) is the latest avant-garde gallery.