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In Chef Ian We Trust

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The Silom area is finally starting to reach its foodie potential, but its status as a dining destination has been secured with the arrival of chef Ian Kittichai and Namsaah.

by Richard Mcleish

103-Namsaah-2620Opening recently to much fanfare and hype in Silom is Namsaah Bottling Trust (401 Silom Soi 7, Bangkok; 02 636 6622;, the latest addition to the growing Kittichai empire. The foodies of the city follow Kittichai’s every move, and this latest venture is no exception. The assembled team for the occasion includes Fred Meyer, a long-time Kittichai collaborator, and Justin Dunne of KU DE TÁ and Bed Supperclub fame.

This new restaurant sees the team take a playful punt at a more contemporary scenario, something that is made possible as a contrast to their more traditional venues. If Issaya Siamese Club is the grand dame of Thai cuisine, then Namsaah is her playful young niece who enjoys a night on the town as much as the flavors it beholds.

So does Namsaah serve Thai cuisine? Western? The dreaded “fusion” confusion? Such labels are typically the work of journalists rather than chefs themselves, and it seems that Chef Ian is ready to have a little fun on the menu rather than conform to a cuisine canon to make himself (and ourselves) feel better. And bartender Dunne’s liquid creations are equally on show, quite rightly so. The result is a fresh take on what’s already been done well, in a great new setting.

118-Namsaah-2639Our evening visit to Namsaah began with a cordial cocktail in the downstairs bar section of the house. The wonderfully restored room with full-color walls is set off with savvy lighting and décor, creating an inviting backdrop for the F&B showcase. On page one, the drinks menu states its intentions in manifesto style. Jars, cherries, mixologists, and Prohibition cocktails are all immediately outlawed. Popular at the bar have been the Negronis, both deluxe and roasted tangerine-tinged for the sweet-toothed—both are excellent aperitifs with broad appeal. But further exploration of the list reveals its considered depth, including infused gin and tonics.

Bar snacks such as the moreish Sriracha-aioli popcorn shrimp and salmon tartare wanton tacos will keep many visitors content, but the culinary curious can venture upstairs to a more committed dining scenario. The venue is still finding its balance between food and drink, but the steamed fish (sea bass) in a chilli lime broth will help settle that debate, as will the pink krapow burger with delicate potato wedges and Sriracha mayonnaise.

The Silom area is finally starting to reach its foodie potential, with the likes of Vesper, Le Du, and Lady Brett now on its radar. But its status as a dining destination has been secured with the arrival of Chef Ian and Namsaah. And judging by the busy tables all week, the place is already ringing true. With a team of such a caliber involved, was there ever any doubt? In Chef Ian, indeed we trust.

Open 5 p.m. to midnight.