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Spice – and All Things Nice

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There’s simply no Thai restaurant in a local five-star hotel like the Spice Market of The Four Seasons Bangkok.

By Percy Roxas.

Ask many locals what their favorite Thai restaurant in Bangkok is, and most of them will reply: Spice Market. That’s not surprising since this award-winning restaurant at The Four Seasons Bangkok, which this year is celebrating its 30th year, continues to please even the most jaded Thai food lover around. There’s simply no Thai restaurant in the five-star hotel scene like the Spice Market.

Consider the ambiance. Certainly classy – this is a Four Seasons restaurant after all – there’s nothing pretentious about the Spice Market. Unlike many Thai restaurants that are over-designed, this one’s easily contemporary. Inspired by the old-style Thai spice shops, as can be gleaned from the unique décor elements, it has a warm, friendly atmosphere that balances whatever hint of sophistication the restaurant exudes. There is a dress code: smart casual but aside from that, there’s nothing to make you feel “stiffy” here.

Consider the service: From the initial greeting you get as the welldressed receptionist (in fashionable contemporary Thai uniform) leads you to your chosen table, to the parting words of “Thank you’ when you leave, Spice Market offers Thai hospitality at its best: polite, gracious, charming – and characteristically Four Seasons: no detail overlooked.

IMG_9968Consider the food. Of course it all boils down to our personal preferences and prejudices, but at Spice Market, you are assured that the large selection of Thai food from the comprehensive menu is cooked as authentically as possible (although they may be tailored according to individual tastes and wishes too). In general, the dishes adhere to a philosophy of Thai food as culinary adventure – with sensational rich flavors, an amazing symphony of ingredients, delightful and creative presentation, never diminished even when they contain that unique, traditional spicy zing.

Examples: the new dishes the restaurant first introduced in March. One is the “ma hor” – which is caramelized palm sugar, chicken, shrimp, and peanuts sitting on a piece of either pineapple or pomelo. Distinctly exquisite, the delicate blend of sweet and sour tastes whets the appetite indeed, taking the palate into a state of excited anticipation on what’s more to come and delight.

Take this Thai dish that we haven’t tasted before: crab meat salad with grilled river prawns. It’s another proof of how the current chef, Ann, seems to be forever inspired in creating delicious, original dishes from her own yet unwritten cookbook. Crabmeat is always irresistible. Prepared in the Thai way (as larb: with basil, spice, and all) the dish gets more than just an exotic twist.

IMG_9982And you should try Chef Ann’s gaeng massaman nua gab roti (beef massaman curry) and gaeng phed nue poo, a delectable serving of red curry, crab meat and coconut milk served with crispy soft shell crab. As I cut a piece of the crispy crab; dip it in rich, thick red curry; and put it my eagerly awaiting mouth, I begin to really understand what a tantalizing sensual feast means.

Now of course these are just some highlights. A proper Thai meal consists of more than these and there’s so much to choose from at the Spice Market, whether for lunch, dinner, and yes, Sunday Brunch. All the expected Thai favorites are present as are the new recipes introduced by Chef Ann since she first joined Spice Market a few years ago. All are available at very non-Four Seasons’ prices: average price of a meal for two is just around Bt2,100++.

A note: You can walk-in for lunch or dinner but advance reservations are required because they seat only 72 persons at a time, and there’s almost always a cue. The reason for its immense popularity: a total commitment to serving authentic, high quality, fine-tasting Thai cuisine – and even after 30 years, a relentless drive to get better and better. Make a visit and you too will agree!

Contact Details:
Spice Market
Parichart Court, Lobby Level, Four Seasons Bangkok, Rajdamri Road (BTS: Rajdamri)
Tel: 02-126-8866
Opening Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. (lunch);
6-10:30 p.m.(dinner);
and 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.(Sunday Brunch)