A contemporary new Bangkok hotel scoured the markets of traditional Thailand and emerged with the decor and a philosophical approach for the all new Market Café.
The new restaurant in the just-opened Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit draws on the Nana area of Bangkok’s history as an international trading and meeting center, and features a menu of real Thai cooking with bold spices and vibrant flavours, crafted by chefs who are well-versed in truly local cuisine.
“We wanted to work with chefs who were familiar with Thai food as served to Thai people,” explained Frederik Farina, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at the hotel. “We wanted our guests to experience true Thai flavours, rather than tourist- tailored versions of dishes.”
Although Italian by birth Farina is fluent in Thai and familiar with the Bangkok food scene, having lived more than a decade in the city. His team consists of chefs who have worked at Thai restaurants, and even popular food stalls, around the country.
The all-day dining spot opens with a breakfast buffet that reflects the melting pot of cuisine that surrounds the hotel. Popular Thai dishes such as noodles, Khao Niew Moo Ping (grilled pork with sticky rice) and northern Thai sausage are served live from the kitchen. Japanese curry, miso soup and grilled fish as well as a tasty Indian spread with dishes such as sambar, aloo paratha, naan and crunchy samosas, sits alongside such western favourites as made to order eggs or fluffy pancakes, fresh baked goods, cereals, noodle dishes, and a huge array of tropical fruit that can be whipped into a smoothie. Gluten free pastries are also available.
The lunch and dinner Thai menu cover all levels of the local culinary scene with a range of dishes from comfort foods such as Phad Kra Pao, a stir-fried meat or tofu dish with spicy basil that is a popular street food snack, to more traditional dishes distinct to specific regions like Tom Som Pla Kaphong, a sour sea bass soup seasoned with tamarind, ginger, spring onions, and shrimp paste. Signature dishes include steamed sea bass with lime, garlic and chili; spicy tiger prawn salad with lemongrass and chili paste; and caramelized spicy chicken wings.
To stay true to Thai flavours they do not adjust the spice level for more sensitive palettes but do serve typical Thai side dishes, such as fresh vegetables, to provide balance to the meal. They also cater to vegetarians with the ability to adjust dishes for dietary requirements.
The restaurant’s interior evokes a marketplace. Huge floor-to-ceiling panels of a floating market scene drawn in traditional Thai style are visible as you enter the space while long- established Thai objects from everyday life are used to decorate the restaurant. The wooden rabbits that adorn prominent shelving are an age-old tool used for grating coconuts, and are still used in some provinces today. Other household items like copper pots and vases, were picked up from markets around Thailand, as was the odd antique hidden among other everyday articles.
“Handmade local items were important to us. Even the bowls we use in the restaurant were custom made from craftsmen in Chiang Mai,” explained Niwat Aunprueng, Senior Executive Partner of PIA, the Bangkok based firm behind the interior design.
Market Café is open daily from 6am – 10:30pm (last order at 10pm) and can accommodate up to 158 guests, including an outdoor terrace for eight and two private rooms for 20 and 24.
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