Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pop-up at PMQ

I really loved the concept of Taste Kitchen, providing venue and support for up-and-coming culinary talents local and overseas the opportunity to showcase their work as pop-up restaurants in their homebase at PMQ. And my hats off to my friends Joshua and Caleb of Twins Kitchen in making that happens. Recently I was there to check out the dishes by Chef Siam Sattayaphan of Fat Legs’ BBQ, who started as a private caterer of Thai-style grilled dishes and now taking a 2-week residence at the Taste Kitchen, serving Thai lunches and dinners.



We began with a pair of som tam, or green papaya salad, one the simpler version with just tomatoes, long beans and a splash of chilli, lime juice and fish sauce, and one with the salted black crab for some additional sea umami flavor. I personally thought the former was just fine with the refreshing taste, crunchy texture and the slight kick of spiciness. They were followed by a pair of appetizer dishes, the corn fritters and sun-dried beef jerky, both served with dipping sauce. I thought they went particularly well with the cocktails served, all with a Thai flair, either with Thai liqueur or herbs (or both). The Tod Man Khao Pod, or the corn fritters, was the one I like more, with kernels of corn mixed with batter seasoned with herbs to form a loose patty and deep-fried – it’s such a simple dish with great flavor. It's as good a bar snack as it is as an appetizer to our dinner.


As the name of Chef Siam’s venture suggests, BBQ is what he does best, and it showed in the few grilled dishes that were brought to us. We were warned that the dishes served will be spicy, according to the traditional northern Thai Issan cuisine style, but their housemade smoked Chiang Mai sausage had just the right kick when it hit the palate and quickly dissipated leaving just the herbal taste so I didn’t have to reach out for water. The chicken was one of the juiciest I have tasted recently with tender meat and slightly charred and crisped skin, working well with the naam jim jaew spicy dipping sauce. Likewise with the grilled pork neck, perfectly cooked and sliced thin – there were plenty of Thai restaurants that carry this dish around town but this one was memorable.


There were more dishes to come, including two steamed seafood dishes. I loved the steamed clams served in a broth of lemongrass, galangal and Thai basil, and I found myself finishing most of the broth in both of the bowls served. The steamed whole fish – ours is the Chinese seabass – was prepared with scores of seasonings – lime, red and pickled chilies, garlic, lemongrass and vinegar – giving the dish some complex taste.  The last savory dish was a salad with grilled eggplant and half-boiled egg – I wasn’t a fan of eggplant usually but I did enjoy a few spoonful of those.

I felt like the dessert of coconut icecream served in a brioche bun was one that would definitely be a hit in the summer if Chef Siam serves it in a food truck on the street. One just can’t beat the combination of the sweet coconut icecream mixed with sticky rice, mango jelly, peanuts and condensed milk in a soft buttery bun. The icecream was slightly on the icy side but it didn’t affect the overall flavor. I could take three of those in one go even after a long meal.

By the end of the meal, some of us were already talking about going back to check out Siam’s lunch menu, which changes regularly with different and simpler dishes. Did someone mention Khao Soi? Whenever it’s served, I am definitely in.

(The meal was by invitation of PMQ Taste Kitchen)

When? February 9 2018
Where? PMQ Taste Kitchen
Menu Highlights? Gai Yang - Grilled bone-in chicken thighs, charred and served with naam jim jaew dipping sauce
Web:
PMQ Taste Kitchen: www.facebook.com/pmqtastekitchen/
Fat Legs' BBQ: fatlegsbbq.com


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