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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spice Market Thai Cuisine - Four Season Hotel, Bangkok

The Spice Market Thai Restaurant - Four Season Hotel on Ratchadamri Road, Bangkok

Overall Score  8/10
Taste   4/5
Ambiance  5/5
Service  5/5
Value   3/5

Spice Market Thai Cuisine at Four Season on www.BumRes.com

Spice Market is the official Thai restaurant at the Four Season Hotel on Radchadamri Road.  In this five star hotel, there are three other restaurants of different nationalities, which are Madison Steakhouse as the Western choice, Biscotti serving Italian food, and Shinataro representing the Japanese.   Spicy Market, being a Thai restaurant in a five star hotel where majority of customers are visitors from other countries, their priority to portray the authenticity with class is as important as to adapt the food to suit palate preferences of the non-Thais.  Existing in a five star, raw ingredients must be at its best.  Replacing peculiar local vegetables to a more universal mix is necessary to create a foreign friendly dish.  Levels of spiciness of each menu selection must be clarified, for customers to pick what is best for them.  While the effort is put forth in the adaptation process, Spice Market must preserve the native characters of dishes as much as possible.  This is the new aspect of Thai food found in Luxurious hotels that differs from common Thai dishes.  Spice Market is surely one of the best places to experience the uniqueness.

Pleasant natural setting within the interior courtyard centered among restaurants and cafes of the Four Season Hotel.  Adjacent to the entrance of the Spice Market was a pond full of Koi fish, additional to the lush environment that definitely set the relaxing mood for a fine Thai lunch at the Spice Market.  As entering the Spice Market, oriental wooden construction appeared to be the strongest character.  Designed with the rustic theme to bring back the old-time market vibe, Spice Market’s interior mocked the set up with magnitude of retro elements, such as the rice sacks, spice jars, palettes of artificial fruits and vegetables, and so on (see photos).  The memorable atmosphere of this place expressed Thai tradition with style.  I personally liked the overall ambiance.

Menu of Spice market comprised of top picked dishes; the amount of selections was adequate unlike the expansive menu at most Thai restaurants in Thailand.  Additional special menu was on the Chef Ann’s recommendation.  Among two guys, we chose two from the main menu and two from the special menu.  After we ordered, a complimentary dish was out.  It was a Miang Kam.  Green leafs and a set of condiments including dried shrimp, peanuts, fresh chilies and Thai herbs, and sweet fish sauce.  A great welcome to traditional Thai eating; having to wrap bits of everything in the fresh leaf added a fun participation to the fresh, sweet, and crispiness of the bite.  Our first was my friend’s favorite, a spicy grilled eggplant salad with shrimp.  Served with fewer contexts, the dish still held its Thai taste and original character well.  Next up was the Australian Short ribs, grain fed 150 days in Mussaman Curry with Roti bread.  The high grade imported beef stewed to tenderness in the spicy, sweet, and savory gravy was astoundingly delicious when served over Jasmine rice.  Its authentic taste and the fine meat set itself apart from Mussaman found in common Thai restaurants.   FYI, Mussaman was rated the best menu in the world by CNNGO last year.

Two more dishes to come were from the Chef Ann’s special.  First was the Stir-fried heart of Palm with Sweet Chili paste and Squids.  Appearance was mouthwatering.   But, this one was the least impressive.   The squid was too tough.   The sauce should be more spicy, it was mild that it lacked the distinct flavor of the Thai chili paste.  Our last was the highlight, Deep-fried Salmon with stir-fried minced scallops and black peppercorns.  Good size fillet Salmon steak was so delicious with the black peppercorn sauce.  Minced scallops and the vegetables also match the Salmon; a combo of these goodies in a bite with the white rice was most excellent.

My westernized Thai lunch at Spice Market @ Four Season Hotel was overall impressive.  Authentic Thai flavoring remained while the food was mildly spicy and delicious.  My menu selections would definitely be enjoyable for everyone with milder palates and new to Thai food.  Customer service staffs were really nice.  I was absolutely happy with the five-star service.  Atmosphere was great with the whole retro theme.  At this lunch, we were the only Thai people there.  I am sure that Thai people wouldn’t come here so often, if it weren’t for business or to greet foreign friends.  Since my friend had the 50% discount card, the total price came to about 1,400 Baht.  So without the card, this experience would be too expensive for us.  For the atmosphere and the service, a meal at the Four Season will be quite pleasurable and rewarding every once in a while.

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