I love and try a LOT of cuisines that are distinct to different parts of the globe, but… if I really have to pick my favorite, it would definitely be Thai cuisine! After all, it’s undeniable how the bold flavors of salty, sour, spicy, and sweet are perfectly balanced in every Thai dish, making any dining experience a unique ‘adventure’ in and of itself — in fact, it often makes western cuisines seem bland in comparison. (Basil Restaurant).
So whenever I get the chance to visit Thailand, I always make it a point to stuff myself silly with Thai food. And if perchance I stumble into the vibrant city of Bangkok, there is one place that I will never miss out on: the award-winning basil restaurant that’s found in the heart of Sukhumvit Road’s Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel.
From the first time that I’ve dined here, I was completely smitten. All of the dishes that they have prepared for me were not only authentic but also oh-so-true to the great nature of Thai cuisine itself!
About Basil Restaurant
basil is a spacious contemporary setting with high ceilings, tables, private dining areas, and shelves accentuated by well-thought-out decorative elements that wholly exude a warm Thai flair and ambience.
Combined with Chef Kesinee Wanta and her culinary team, this award-winning restaurant is a culinary force to be reckoned with as it offers authentic Thai food that are inspired by Thailand’s 4 distinct regions: North (Chiang Mai), North-East (Isan), Central (Bangkok) and South (Phuket).
With all of these characteristics combined, I would have loved to order everything on their menu — yet I am but just one person, so the best that I could do was to try a few. Anyhow, I can tell you by now that basil surely does NOT disappoint!
NOTE: To see the whole menu of basil, see here)
» From North of Thailand
Miang Kham. From the word miang (wrapped in leaves) and kham (a bite), this appetizer roughly translates to “one bite wrap”. Miang Kham primarily consists of raw bitter leaves (wild pepper or bai cha plu) that are served together with chopped up ingredients of coconut shavings, shallots, chili peppers, lime, peanuts, small dried shrimps, ginger, and garlic.
To eat, you just basically take one leaf, fill it up with the other ingredients, and then spread a dollop of the sauce (which can be palm syrup or a shrimp-based syrup) before wrapping it up and popping it in your mouth.
Like a true-blue appetizer, I loved how every bite brought on a burst of bold Thai flavors thereby stimulating my palate and wanting for more!
» From Northeast of Thailand
Kong Kin Len (Koy Tuna). This is yet another ‘welcome appetizer’ by the chef, but this set is actually the signature teaser dish of basil and it’s basically a raw spicy tuna appetizer that’s made in tartar isan style.
It’s a simple fare but don’t let that factor fool you because its sublime combination of flavors can easily make you wanting for more! Besides, its made of tender sushi-grade tuna loin which has been enhanced by the blend of northeast Thai ingredients of ground roast rice powder for texture, chili powder for heat, fish sauce for saltiness, and lime juice for acidity.
» From South of Thailand
Yum Sapparod Phuket Gai Cheek. I did a trio of appetizers and this is the last of the bunch. This is a unique salad made of shredded chicken and pineaplle (from Phuket) and I simply loved how the sweet taste of the fruit harmoniously blended with the tangy dressing.
Gaeng Kua Nua Yang. For my main course, I had this spicy yet tasty curry that consists of soft Australian beef rib eye, turmeric, peppers, and coconut milk. This isn’t the kind of Thai curry that I would typically order, but it turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise that I wouldn’t mind ordering it again!
» From Central Thailand
Tom Yum Goong. This is one of my favorite Thai food and basil definitely cooked it in its best!
If you’re not familiar with this iconic Thai soup, it’s a hot and sour mixture that’s customarily cooked with shrimp (prawn). An array of fragrant spices and herbs are generously used in its broth such as chili peppers, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, and fish sauce. Oftentimes, some meat such as chicken, shrimp, beef, or pork is mixed in. (FYI: basil’s version has prawns and mushrooms in it).
Now I know some people who would want to eat this as is, but for me, it always goes best with a serving of hot rice!
It’s no news that rice is the staple of Thailand (and Asia as a whole) and it is always served in every meal.
When you dine in basil, you’ll be served with 3 kinds of steamed rice: Jasmine rice for its fragrance, pandan rice for its flavor, and Riceberry rice for its healthy properties. As a rice-loving person myself, it was a joy to have these rice choices offered to me!
Basil Restaurant knows how to perfectly end a meal with the array of desserts that they offer. I wanted to get my hands on all of their ‘Grande Dessert’ selections but I settled with the 2 above — and I’m glad I did because they were delish!
Khao Niew Mamuang. This is one of Thailand’s classic traditional desserts in which fresh mango is paired together with coconut milk and sticky rice. It might seem like an odd combination to you if you haven’t heard of this pairing yet, but I assure you, its combined sweetness is to die for!
Creme Brulee Mapraow Orn. A coconut crème brulée that became my instant favorite in basil! Served in a halved young coconut shell, this had a smooth and delectable custard with a glazed sugar crust. I’ve had my fair share of various crème brulées in my life but this coconut variant of basil has easily reached #1 on my list! You’ll know what I’m talking about once you get a taste of this sinfully-good dessert.
Basil Thai Cooking Classes
If you want to take your basil experience a step further, you could also take part in their special Thai cooking classes!
No matter if you’re a newbie to cooking or an aspiring chef, you can get the exclusive chance to learn Chef Kesinee’s recipes for just THB 3,500++ per person when you join a group class. If you rather want a one-to-one affair, it will be at THB 5,000+++.
There is also a regional set menu for THB 1,600++ per person; however, you’re also free to choose your preferred dishes from their selections. I personally tried my hands on making basil‘s Koy Tuna and it was such a fun and interesting experience! I even had the chance to take home the recipe so you bet that I will try and serve it to my family and friends on one of these days.
Sure enough, this is an experience that I would absolutely recommend especially if you’re coming to Bangkok with friends, family or work mates.
Address: 250 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand, Level 1
Opening Hours: Lunch at 12:00PM to 2:30PM (Monday to Friday), Dinner at 6:00PM to 10:30PM (Daily), and Sunday Jazzy Brunch at 12:00PM to 3:00PM
Contact: +6626498366 / +6626498000 / [email protected]
• • •
Without a doubt, Bangkok’s Basil restaurant in Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit takes on a fresh approach to Thai cuisine. And as it creates delectable food inspired by Thailand’s 4 distinct regions, I believe that a fine dining experience here will even equal a culinary adventure to the whole of the country!
…How’s that for a thought?
All in all, I can guarantee you that a meal in basil is a thoroughly fulfilling affair. Truth be told, I’m already dreaming of the time that I’ll be back in Bangkok so that I can finally revisit them and taste more of their dishes!