Thai food, as we all know, is as varied as the regions from which it comes. And it has been an exciting few years as many Thai chefs have turned back to their local roots to elevate some simple home recipes into fine dining experiences.
Chef Phubase of Aquila Restaurants fame, has opened three restaurants since the pandemic, all of which are going strong. His two flagship Aquila restaurants are famous for their full-flavoured pastas, pizzas and Mediterranean inspired dishes, all of which are designed to appeal to the Thai palate with full punchy flavours. He also has a smaller Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant currently making waves at Nimmanhaemin’s Think Park. His latest venture, however, takes a turn back home, with Alisa restaurant focusing solely on Thai cuisine.
Set in the adorable and award-winning Little Shelter hotel, this unique little restaurant will give you an experience of Thai cuisine like nothing you have ever tried before. Drawing from his classical training and years of experience in international hotels and five star kitchens, Chef Phubase applies new techniques to traditional ingredients which will surprise and delight.
This self-styled ‘Charming Contemporary Thai Cuisine’ curates some of the best and most interesting ingredients from all regions of Thailand and brings his unique perspective and approach to each dish. The dining experience comes in set courses, with choices available per course, so you do have some wriggle room in which dishes to choose.
Over five courses (with choices from four dishes per course) your palate will journey across Thailand’s mountainous north, through the culturally rich east, into sophisticated central Thailand and dive into the spectacular waters of the southern region.
Dishes include sour sausages with egg, a starter inspired by a local dish found in most markets in Chiang Mai. However, it is nothing like what you will find in any market in Thailand, because this simple dish now has the grilled sour sausage served with truffle egg foam.
The foie gras with sweet fish sauce is another odd sounding dish, however, the perfectly cooked slice of foie gras, which arrives with cubes of ripe sweet mango, a dried shrimp, fried shallots and chili on top, makes for a fascinating mix of sweet, savoury and sour flavours.
Then there is the pickled fish mixed with fermented rice noodles which sounds as odd as it is actually delightful! The noodles swim in a rich broth topped with crispy fried fish. Each day a new chili dip will be introduced, as a surprise factor, a charming opener for the meal as well as a great conversation starter.
The south is beautifully represented in this menu with a refreshing Phuket crab roll as well as a really beautifully presented kulao fish and beka squid salad, with the fish arriving fresh daily from Prachuap Khiri Khan. The highlight from the south however has got to be the deeply satisfying comfort tastes of the crab meat curry – there is no skimping on crab meat here! And it’s also topped with crab eggs for an elegant touch.
One table, four regions! Go for it.