Chef Pam has become a rising star in Thailand. Having been open for just 3 years the restaurant already has a Michelin star, it is rated 35 on Asias 50 best and she is rated 95 on the Best Chef award. Having dined there I can safely say that it is well deserved.
The restaurant is located in Chinatown, Bangkok in a 5 story building in an extremely narrow and busy street. Here you you wouldn’t expect to find a Michelin restaurant or in reality any clean restaurant with tables and chairs, but you do and that location is just one small thing that makes Potong special. The building use to house a pharmacy and has been in her family for close to 200 years. It is that heritage that Pam uses as her foundation for both Potong and the cocktail bar Opium on the 5 floor.
We started our experience on the 5 floor on the open terrace with some house made charcuterie that was accompanied by each their own little creation to match. These could be either acidic, sour of fruity. An unusual pairing but for that very reason it worked.
Moving down to the restaurant we would have a small crisp made of dear with black chicken and Chinese herbs. A rich dish with great texture.
With the introduction to the history of the place it was obvious that chef Pam at Potong doesn’t just want to serve you delicious food, but to do more. The next dish is a perfect example of that. The dish was called “a tale of a banana tree” and came with a 5 pages comic book to tell the story of the dish. As different parts of the banana tree is often used in religious ceremonies they wanted to honor that. The next serving was therefore 3 different parts of the banana tree including the banana, its flower and the stalk. I loved this approach to use every part of an ingredients and also to showcase the differences in flavor and texture of the tree and naturally all 3 snacks were delicious.
The next dish was called memories and would serve up both mud crab and curry crab. This was served together with crispy brioche bread and jam. A nice and delicious dish.
Pad Thai was next but definitely not in the traditional way. Here a shrimp was covered with a crispy shell of spices before being covered in the Thailand flag. Naturally it was accompanied by the story of how the dish Pad Thai came to life. A dish with great focus on history, product and flavor.
Chawamushi is a popular dish these days. Here it would be served with abalone, caviar and a few crispy croutons for texture. Those small croutons made all the difference to elevate the dish.
Moving on to the main dish we would have catfish with scallop and squid ink. A nice dish but on the whole of everything the dish didn’t leave a big impression.
The next dish would however. To put it simple it is the best duck I have ever had. It was so good that we even asked for seconds which we also got an finished in a heartbeat and had it not been for the fact that it would have been plane rude to ask for a third we would have done so as well. The duck had been aged for two weeks, cooked in vinegar before finishing on the grill. It therefore had the most crispy skin I have ever had, it was still very juicy and naturally cooked pink just as it should be. In true Chinese style they would naturally not serve us just the duck breast but also the brain, a ragout of the innards and different pickles. A dish that has been stuck in my memory ever since.
Corn is often used in desserts as with it you can create both sweet and savory elements that naturally goes well together. Here they would do just that and it really worked. They were as the rest of the meal technically executed perfectly.
Before going back to Opium bar for a few drinks we would finish with a beautiful selection of petit fours and a traditional fortune cookie. Mine promised me prosperity so here is for that to come true.
I always say that I look for two things in GREAT restaurants. The first for me is flavor. After all you eat to give norushiment to your body which is easier if the food you eat is delicious. Secondly I look for the restaurant to stand out in some way of form. Potong serves very delicious food so the first box is easily checked. You feel the family history through the building of the restaurant and it has been restored to do just that – convey history and connection to family. It is that story and dedication to heritage and product that makes Potong stand out. In addition to that every person we talked to in the restaurant were super nice and helpful. Even to the point that when we returned without booking for a cocktail at Opium Sacha the GM spotted us and quickly came with a bottle of champagne and a bottle of Volnay that we have praised to the sky just days earlier.
Potong is therefore a restaurant that should be on the to-do list for any foodie going to Bangkok. Today the restaurant holds one Michelin star but it is obvious that the team is pushing for more which I am sure is possible.
Head chef: Pam Pichaya (Chef Pam)
Menu: 10 course tasting menu for about $150