Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn has done his share of giving Thai cuisine an uplift, laying it on white table-clothed splendor at Le Du, the one Michelin-starred establishment that beautifully reinterprets Thai cuisine with the use of Western cooking techniques. But in his latest venture Nusara, the celebrated chef takes fine Thai food back to its roots, focusing on intricate flavors served in a sophisticated but still homey setting.
“My grandmother passed away [recently] so I want this restaurant to be a testament to her legacy,” Chef Ton explains. “The best way to describe the food here is ‘colorful authentic Thai cuisine,’ which reflects my grandmother who was a fun, modern woman.” The kitchen is overseen by head chef Nithit Nithikamphol, who is working in a Thai professional kitchen for the first time at Nusara. “I wanted someone with no prior experience in Thai cuisine because they tend to be more open-minded to new ideas.”
The 12-course culinary journey commences with a saeng wa (citrusy and sweet salad) of grouper sashimi cured with sugar and salt, and served with young ginger. This was followed by a squid salad inspired by khao kreap park mor (rice dumplings with seasoned filling); the squid is thinly sliced to resemble rice cake wrapper, and comes with young garlic, tomato and cucumber.
Main dishes are served as a sumrub (Thai-style set) and are designed to enjoy in individual portions. The peanut relish is satisfyingly delicious, made following a recipe found in an old cookbook, while the grilled pork jowls displays contrasting flavors of red chili paste and sweet grape. The pad kaprao (basil stir-fry) with wagyu is extremely spicy but still worth a standing ovation.
The food at Nusura strikes a balance between traditional flavors and creative tweaks. Because of the ongoing social distancing guidelines, the restaurant is now only open for private dining with a minimum spend of 15,000. Once the situation goes back to normal, a meal at Nusara will be priced at B1,990.