Situated within The Athenee Hotel Bangkok, the newly opened Kintsugi is a progressive kaiseki-style Japanese restaurant, and Chef Jeff Ramsey’s ode to Japanese fare and tapas.

The American-Japanese Chef with his Michelin-starred Babe restaurant in Kuala Lumpur pioneered what he refers to as “Japas” cuisine; a cross between Japanese and tapas culinary traditions.

A signature foie gras sandwich from Kintsugi

Now with his new flagship restaurant in Bangkok, the chef and his team are serving haute-cuisine food but with a satisfyingly delicious realness to the plate – something you don’t always get from eating out at a fine-dining spot.

Although the full-blown menu for Kintsugi is yet to be released, discerning diners can go ahead and relish in signature dishes from Babe, which helped the restaurant snatch that prestigious Michelin star. Get ready to be wowed with the dining experience here, brimming with theatrical elements and a lineup of dishes (8-12 courses), charmingly spiked with a two-culture cooking heritage.

Recently, we had the privilege of indulging in The Journey Tasting Menu at Kintsugi (a 12-course set menu). Read on for our full review for our low-down on the restaurant.

Ambience

Set in a Japanese-accented setting, Kintsugi exudes a Nippon sophistication and minimalist interiors touched with contemporary charm. This really embraces the Japas menu they serve.

With the goal to create a fun dining – not fine dining – experience, the part-bar, part-kitchen space amid the venue encourages an intimate guest-chef interaction. Aside from the attention and dedication to the food, this lies at the heart of Kintsugi’s philosophy. The bar counter adds a theatrical element to the dining experience, as the patrons watch chefs in action as they whip up their meals on the spot. Apart from the counter, the layout also accommodates 28 seats in the dining section and 20 seats in their two separate rooms.

Ikura and Fromage Blanc

Food

To preface The Journey Tasting Menu, we were first delighted with an Ootoro Tartelette, a tart shell brimmed with a mix of marbled, rose-shade tuna belly, soy gelee and spring onion, followed by a stellar Ikura and Fromage Blanc. The thin, melt-in-your-mouth cracker is draped with a dollop of fresh cheese, bejewelled generously with soy-marinated salmon roe and edible flowers for vibrancy and scrumptiousness. Here’s a refreshing bite that paves the way for the following high-carb, meat-heavy dishes.

Oyster Ice Cream Lumpfish Roe

The dinner culminated as the Oyster Ice Cream Lumpfish Roe was served. Laid before us was a bed of eel jelly laced with layers of lumpfish roe, oyster tartare, and a mini scoop of oyster ice cream. The dish brings about a mental image of a breezy day at the beach.

Nagano Walnut Soba

Next, we tucked into the Nagano Walnut Soba. A traditional dish from Nagano, this comprises of a bundle of buckwheat noodles coated thoroughly in walnut sauce, topped with a sprinkle of seven-herb mixture for herbaceous sensation, and liquid nitrogen walnut oil for a contrast temperature to the dish. Its impossibly nutty and herbal taste hits all the right spots, and is in our opinion the all-star dish in the menu.

Unagi, Sunchoke, Vanilla, Burdock

The menu continued with Unagi, Sunchoke, Vanilla, Burdock – a dish of eel grilled to caramelised perfection, served atop a sunchoke puree accompanied by crispy fried burdock (delightful) and a drizzle of aromatic vanilla oil.

Babe-n-Dazs

Next up was the true showstopper that really turned heads for its culinary innovation. A cheeky nod to the Häagen-Dazs ice cream sandwich, Babe-n-Dazs is a cognac-spiked foie gras monaka; a traditional Japanese dessert similar to an ice cream sandwich. The unwrapping of the entertaining package alone will make you giggle with child-like joy.

11 courses later we cosied up with dessert, which was themed around the seasonal fruit of Japan. At the time, this was persimmon. We took full pleasure in the sweet bowl carved out of persimmon, filled with mascarpone cream and caramelised fig. And if that wasn’t persimmon-y enough, it was then topped off with dried and fresh persimmons for a burst of autumn splendour rendered from the fruit of fall.

Verdict

A blast of deliciousness has descended upon Bangkok city, and without exaggeration, you can find it here at Kintsugi.

Chef Jeff puts forth an ingenious and contemporary insight for commingling culinary tradition through his Japas cuisine. The guest-chef intimacy, an offering of a theatrical yet approachable dining experience, as well as his drool-inducing fare provides a wow-worthy experience far from your typical fine-dining dinner.

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun, 6-10:30 pm.
Recommended Dishes: Ikura and Fromage Blanc, Nagano Walnut Soba and Babe-n-Dazs
Price: THB 2,680++ per person for a 12-course meal
Noise Level: Moderate to quiet
Service: Attentive, knowledgable and very friendly

Kintsugi, 3 Fl., The Athenee Hotel Bangkok, 61 Wireless Road, Lumphini, Bangkok, +6626 508 800.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.