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Dusit Thani Benjarong Restaurant: Bangkok, Thailand

Guest Writer, Sandy Kaye

The famed Thailand- based hotel chain Dusit International has reworked its popular Benjarong Royal Thai cuisine restaurants, taking the brand from its deep, classic roots to give it a contemporary flavour as well as plenty of romantic appeal. Spearheading the shift is the company’s new Group Chef of Thai Cuisine, 39-year old Morten Boejstrup Nielsen. The award-winning Danish Chef specializes in combining modern techniques with traditional flavours to produce contemporary dishes that are distinctly Thai at heart.

From his base at the Dusit Thani Bangkok, Chef Morten has literally been cooking up a storm, employing over a decade of experience in Thai cuisine to turn out some of the most creative and sumptuous dishes we have ever experienced. In sampling his offerings, it’s easy to see why in the space of a relatively short period of time, Morten has risen to the top of the hierarchy of western practitioners of traditional Thai cuisine.

The Location and Décor:

Located on lobby level of the majestic Dusit Thani, right in the heart of bustling Bangkok, the Benjarong Modern Thai restaurant is a warm and welcoming space befitting royalty. Large mahogany tables sit spaciously apart to provide an intimate and private dining experience. Even if the restaurant is full, as it is on most nights, it doesn’t feel crowded allowing for plenty or romance. All tables face the glass wall that leads out to an impressive patio flanked by a tropical garden and cascading waterfall. The room radiates tranquility and the heavily timbered ceiling, typical of traditional Thai architecture, envelops diners in radiant warmth. The hot pink walls and mix of traditional and contemporary Thai silk paintings further enhance this experience. The service is outstanding. Wait staff are accommodating and caring and able to entertain all dietary requirements.  When we dined, I hadn’t expected the air-conditioning to be quite so efficient. At first shudder, I was brought a selection of beautiful Thai silk wraps to choose from. Nothing was too much for the staff. Each one was totally attentive and very friendly, displaying the hospitality and smiles that embody Thai culture.

The Menu:

The new menu showcases traditional Thai flavours using modern cooking techniques. It includes the Aromatic Journey (four courses) and the Benjarong Signature Tasting Journey (six courses) as well as a full à la carte option. We were lucky enough to sample the Benjarong Signature Tasting Journey with wine pairings and full explanations from Chef Morten for each course. Our first offering is a trio of amuse bouche; deep-fried cuttlefish with fresh turmeric, spiced scallop and papaya in coconut milk, and roasted pork leg with smoked chilli tomato jam. Each was a taste sensation with the mix of sweet and sour tantalising the taste buds.

Chef Morten’s food philosophy centres on fresh herbs and spices. His famous hot and sour tom yum soup with prawn and galangal is testament to this and is presented uniquely to ensure the optimum mix of flavours. As clear broth is poured over at the table side, flavours are beautifully balanced and sumptuous.

Our final savoury course is sous vide duck breast with aubergine, Chinese chives and crispy wonton. An accompanying sauce comprised of Thai basil is served at the table, as well as choice of steamed jasmine or gaba rice. The duck is cooked to juicy perfection and tastes every bit as decadent as it looks. Crispy wonton is packed with rich, braised duck meat filling. Accompanying vegetables of Chinese cabbage, deep-fried chives and aubergine mash all marry well against the taste of Thai basil and duck. Wine pairing is Cave La Suzienne, Mistralou (Coutes de Rhones, France 2012).

To complete the meal we are offered dessert, an interesting mix of basil ice cream with fresh pineapple and salty meringue. The flavour combinations here are nothing short of sensational. Wine pairing for dessert is Monsoon Valley Muscat (Thailand 2011). A visit to the Benjarong Modern Thai restaurant is a must if you’re in Bangkok. You’ll be wined and dined to the hilt and looked after by attentive, smiling waiting staff, as if you were indeed royalty.

The Dusit Thani Bangkok is located at 946 Rama IV Road, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand, +66 02200 9000,

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