Paste is probably one of Thailand’s most understated restaurants. Steered by the husband-and-wife duo of Jason Bailey and Chef Bee Satongun, this modern dining room offers fine Thai dishes crafted with respect to traditional Sanitwonge recipes, yet also brimming with innovative confidence. Drawing its name from “curry paste,” the centerpiece of Thai cooking, Paste pays particularly attention to the very source of their ingredients. For example, only fleur de sel (that delicate crust of salt that floats on the surface of saltwater) from Nan province is allowed in their kitchen (table salt is not an option).
The menu carries a long list of intriguing Thai dishes with an interesting mash-up of ingredients. The selection of delicate starters includes an interpretation of pla haeng tangmo (฿370), an old-school dish that’s usually eaten in summer. Paste confidently pairs sweet watermelon and salty ground salmon and garnishes the combination with crispy shallot, roasted galangal and caviar. Succulent oysters, meanwhile, are carefully wrapped in betel leaves and served miang-style with flavorful condiments like ginger, roasted coconut, popinac and sweet galangal jam (฿450).
The mains are equally sensational. A colorful Chiang Mai-style salad comes with giant river prawns doused with spicy yum sauce, fragrant nam prik noom (roasted banana chili), smoked shallots, chargrilled tomatoes and seaweed (฿800). Our favorite, however, is the southern-style mud crab in yellow curry (฿800). The curry is characteristically prepared using an ancient technique to give much depth and aroma to the sumptuous dish.