Review: Thai Molecular Gastronomy at Sra Bua in Bangkok

Must-read Earlier Installments:

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin at the Siam Kempinski hotel is quite well-regarded. It’s Copenhagen sister is the second restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin star cooking Thai food. (The first was London’s Nahm, and I ate at Nahn in Bangkok on this trip as well.)

I’ve done plenty of the world’s best molecular gastronomy.

  • The since-closed El Bulli, arguably then the best (and certainly toughest to get into) restaurant in the world.
  • The Fat Duck in Bray near London Heathrow. This is Heston Blumenthal’s place, and the ‘magic’ was impressive though the courses didn’t work nearly so well for me as ‘food’.
  • Bo Innovation, which is Chinese molecular gastronomy, and my most interesting meal of the year prior to this trip.

Sra Bua would introduce me to Thai molecular gastronomy.

I had a second fitting at a tailor shop before dinner, and I was late arriving there so I was late leaving as well and was cutting it close for making it to Sra Bua to begin with. So I rang the restaurant when I was leaving the tailor shop to make sure they’d still be able to accommodate me even though we were blowing our reservation time completely. They said they could.

Upon arrival at the Siam Kempsinki I walked towards where it seemed like the restaurant would be, walked completely past it, and to a dead end and turned around. Walking back I ran into a staff member who saw me looking confused. She smiled and said, “Mr. Leff?”

I don’t know how she knew, but I had just called and perhaps they had everyone else turn up for their bookings already so I was the only person missing.. and I was mere feet from the front of the restaurant.

We were seated in a bar area where they begin the evening. A welcome drink is given and menus presented. In addition to a la carte choice they have a limited tasting menu and a full one, for 2200 and 2700 baht per person respectively.

I decided I wanted to taste the full range of what the restaurant offers so went with the eleven course offering.

Still at the bar we were presented with ‘Nibblings’

Followed by ‘street food’

Then there was a deconstructed Tom Yum soup with mushrooms and tomatoes

The early course street food continued before we moved to the dining room.

We moved to the dining room, where courses were delivered, or sometimes prepared tableside.

We were served three courses of dessert:

  • Koh Samui
  • The flowers of Thailand
  • Snowball with plum sorbet and ginger ice cream

In the end, this was a phenomenal meal. It was fun, and fascinating. And at ~ US$80 per person, expensive for Bangkok but an incredible value to do this meal at this price. But it didn’t come close to being my best meal in the five days I spent in the city on this trip, as you’ll see as I continue the report.

So is it worth going? Yes, I think so. Would I go back? Sure, although I would wait quite awhile because I’m sure they don’t change the menu that frequently, which is fine because it’s hardly top on my list.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Looks amazing! If this is a favorite cuisine type of yours, I recently ate at Masala Library in Mumbai (which is Indian molecular gastronomy) and it was fantastic. Give it a shot if you find yourself in Mumbai.

  2. You have a good tailor in Bangkok? I’m planning a trip to HKG and BKK February and would like a reference.

    thanks!

  3. I’ve never tried molecular gastronomy. My instinct STRONGLY tells me that it’s a gimmick, but being an open-minded individual I certainly want to try it once to be able to say for sure and out of personal experience. My money is on reconfirming my gut feeling, though. The whole “aura” around El Buli was just plain funny. People really become hysterical when something “blows up” like that. 🙂

  4. I have lived in Bangkok for 44 years. I can’t tell what of kind of Thai food You had. I can guess some of them which are labeled as street food

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