I've always believed that travelling without hunting down the best food places is a waste of a trip. A holistic, well-rounded trip is one with a decent amount of nature, a good sense of the culture through its vibrant city life (if it's a city), sprinkles of shopping here and there and of course, indulging in the best the local F&B scene has to offer.
Now, this is not to say that when one travels, they should only focus on trying street food or local food. Sometimes, the best multi-discipline chefs are hidden away in different cities as it offers them opportunities their home countries don't. These chefs may often consult with a restaurant or hotel, if not head the kitchen themselves.
It is when chefs are given this opportunity to express their creativity that magic happens. It is wonderful to see what the human mind can conjure up that our bodies readily execute. So when a brilliant chef meets the right place, the right time and the right people, some of the best restaurants are born.
Eat Me Restaurant in Bangkok is one of them. Voted in the top 50 for Asia's best restaurants, it clearly has won over the hearts of industry professionals as well as commanded the attention of discerning diners.
Located in an alley, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Silom, sits Eat Me Restaurant. If you happen to be going a little to fast in a tuktuk, you could potentially miss the facade against the rest of the buildings there. Its unassuming location basically makes it the epitome of a hidden gem.
Some may even drop by the restaurant just for the wow factor of its interior. It can easily be one of Southeast Asia's most instagrammable places that *isn't* yet another industrial chic, minimalist cafe. This place is unapologetically unique with its generous greenery and unpretentious vibe.
Sit at anywhere in Eat Me and you will feel at peace with the uptempo jazz music playing in the background and service staff that will tend to your every need.
But enough about the place, because there is still too much to be said about the food here at Eat Me. Its name is highly appropriate because all the food screams "eat me!" for its aesthetic appeal and decadent flavours.
A meal isn't simply a meal here at Eat Me. It is an entire gastronomic experience and a journey that will take your palates to greater heights. The menu at Eat Me is divided into three sections: Fish + Shellfish, Vegetables + Salads and Meat + Poultry.
And each section is a sub-section of starters, mains and sides.
We got to try a starter and a main from each section, starting with the seafood. We were served the pan seared sea scallops with green mango, chilli and coriander (THB720). This dish, which carries the classic Thai ingredients, was the perfect representation of local flavours in the menu. The scallops were cooked perfectly and went along nicely with the crunchy raw mango strips.
Then we were treated to a beautiful white asparagus and caviar dish (THB770) served with manchego, saffron sauce and jamon. Another perfect starter - and this time from the vegetable section.
And finally, for our last starter from the meat section, we were treated to a spicy nduja sausage tartine (THB375) topped off with a duck egg and parmesan. The tartine and duck egg were amazing together but unfortunately, the toasted bread it was served on was a little too hard for our liking, so we just ate around it.
And then we moved onto mains. For the vegetable, we were served pan seared bluefoot mushrooms (THB620). Now, anyone who's known me all my life knows that I do not readily eat mushrooms, but once I took a bite of this, I was hooked! The chefs expertly prepared this dish so that the flavour of the mushroom wasn't too overpowering and paired beautifully with the hazelnut salad.
As for the fish, we tried the smoked swordfish belly (THB650), served with salsa fresca, nori (seaweed) and serrano ham. The swordfish belly is so carefully prepared that upon every bite, just melts in your mouth and its flavours burst forth with magnificence. And no, that is not an exaggeration.
And of course, for meat + poultry, we just had to have the duck confit (THB690), a weakness of mine. I love duck confit and I loved this rendition of it all the more because it came with a dollop of bacon jam (can I have a what what!) and a four-minute duck egg (which reminded me of Ante's deep fried poached egg). This was easily my favourite dish of the night and I devoured every last bit. This, I would have to say, is a must-try here at Eat Me.
Finally, we were done with mains and moved on to desserts. After such a rich meal, I wasn't sure if I could possibly stuff more food into my belly. But my body proved that it could conform to whatever shape I wanted it to (round... the shape is round). And thus began my descend into a food coma with the sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream (THB320).
Sinking my teeth into the warm and moist dessert, I knew I had reached a point of no return. This would prove to be the best sticky date pudding of my whole foodie career. This is not necessarily a good thing... because now every time I am craving it, I will have to fly to Bangkok.
Thankfully, that was the end of the meal, because we simply couldn't fit anymore food into our bodies. But we did get a sneak peek into Eat Me mixologist's new cocktail menu - inspired by classic Thai dishes, like larb and curry.
The Maeng Khum is the mixologist's take on the starter dish and it even comes with a maeng khum sampler to enjoy with the drink. You would think you're just consuming a liquid version of the food because the tastes are uncannily similar.
Another drink we tried was the Larb Mootini with caramelised ham. This one was slightly spicy and sour - just like the dish too!
According to the skilled mixologist, he plans on taking a dish from each region in Thailand to turn into cocktails. His next idea is to take the Southern Thai fish curry and turn that into a cocktail.
So the next time you're in Bangkok, you have to pay a visit to this restaurant/bar. I promise you won't regret it. Do make a reservation to avoid disappointment. This place gets pretty busy!