Back in 2018, popular Thai chef and TV personality Chumpol Jangprai gave life to R.HAAN, an elegant eatery devoted to samrub or traditional Thai-style shared eating, but with a fine-dining approach.
Taking its name from the Thai word for food, R.HAAN (pronounced “aa-harn,” not “raan” like we originally thought) is set within a charming white house on Soi Thonglor 9. Inside, the dining room combines pastoral murals with black faux brick walls. Antique cabinets and hanging flower garlands—traditional elements essential to a Thai house—populate the space to portray a sense of authenticity.
After cocooning for some time during the pandemic (and experimenting on takeaways and delivery sets for those in home isolation), Chef Chumpol is now ready to unveil R.HAAN’s “Sustainable Wisdom of Thai Herb Samrub”, a new menu consisting of eight courses that each take inspiration from local, rustic recipes popular in a certain part of Thailand.
The first course gives an overview of the entire meal. It features a huge wooden box containing a Thailand map delicately drawn with salt and chilli powder. On top are five bite-sized morsels that represent the regions of the kingdom.
Following the amuse bouche is an innovative som tum where Chef Chumpol uses molecular techniques to style each main ingredient—green papaya, chilli, long beans—into jelly with spicy-dressing spheres. It’s a dish that’s high on visual wow factor.
The most memorable dish in this samrub meal is the Coconut & Galangal Cream Cappuccino with Squid Ink, which is a play on tom kha gai. The silky-smooth soup has spicy and sour hints, with saltiness thrown in courtesy of a parmesan crisp.
Course 5 is a surprise and is dependent on the ingredients available that day. We were served an elevated version of rice noodles and steamed sea bass with oyster sauce, a stir-fried dish that’s usually served at street food restaurants.
The main course is a medley of dishes, including a soup (choose between prawn tom yum or Kurobuta pork tom zap), shrimp paste with fresh vegetables and fruit, panang curry with Wagyu Angus beef and a bowl of aromatic jasmine rice.
Do spare some room for dessert. You can either go for a reimagined mango sticky rice or Chiang Mai-grown chocolate.
Like previous R.HAAN’s releases, this latest tasting set nicely balances a range of Thai flavors in each course. The restaurant is a good introduction to authentic Thai fare for visiting friends or those not familiar with the cuisine. And the fact that it’s elevated two-Michelin-starred Thai may be a bonus.