To be truthful and loyal to its tradition when comes to Thai gastronomy is always something that all Thai Chefs shall be proud of. Indeed, traditions are great and with a decent surprise twist and yet not losing the old charm is even better. The witty Thai Chef de Cuisine, Chamnan Thepchana at Thipata cooked and amused mylifestylenews a 9-course honest and comfort Thai food during our recent visit to The Peninsula Bangkok…with lots of laughter of course.
Thiptara is a Thai feast for all the senses. Surrounded by majestic Banyan trees and lush tropical gardens by the scenic Chao Phraya River, the legendary Thai lifestyle of days gone by is restored in all its glory at Thiptara not only through its elegant décor but also in its cuisine that is authentic Thai style cooking.
Dark wood décor, mood lighting or upbeat atmosphere is not what we look for in Thiptara but its alfresco dining is the only way to enjoy the authentic Thai food by the Chao Phraya river, which is the preferred choice watching the boats and the world go by.
We met Chef Chamnan Thepchana over a little educational tour of Herb Appreciation Class by walking through the herb garden in the hotel and highlighting the health benefits of herbs that are regularly used for Thai Cuisines before adventuring on our authentic Thai dinner quest. As Thailand is known as the land of flavors, spices and herbs, The Peninsula Bangkok garden is about sharing the knowledge about Thai herbs and their medicinal power, allowing you to appreciate their herb garden and inspire you to consume and cook with the right ingredient and learn a few more useful Thai words to take advantage of reading the Thai Menu in your future Thai dining experiences.
Herbs commonly used in Thai cooking are no stranger to Holy Basil (Bai Ka Prow) as the holy basil helps heal flu and colds as it warms the body. Lemon Basil (Bai Maeng Lak), according to local wisdom, when suffering from cough, Thais traditionally eat lemon basil by having it cooked in a clear soup. Lemongrass (Ta Krai) is found in many Thai specialties including Tom Yum, which is a traditional hot and sour soup, with the lemongrass helping reduce high blood pressure and improve digestion. Sweet Basil (Hora Pha) is one of our favorite herbs. Rich in antioxidants, sweet basil can help detoxify and improve the digestion system and is also beneficial to the heart and can help to prevent heart disease. We love Ginger (Khiang), when feeling unwell and suffering from nausea, dizziness, headache, stomach ache, cold and vomiting, drinking ginger tea can heal these symptoms of being unwell. Ginger has the medicinal power to lessen intestinal contractions.
One of the elevated Sala's dining corners in Thiptara
The witty and cheerful Chef Chamnan Thepchana preparing Miang Kham after our Herb Appreciation Class.
The Main Entrance of Thiptara
We adjourned to the elevated and beautifully designed Thai Sala (Pavilion) to sample Miang Kham - “Thai-style” bite size treasures filled with roasted coconut, lime, ginger, shallots. Peanuts and dried shrimp top each bite with an aromatic tamarind sauce wrapped with betel leaves. Chef Chamnan Thepchana shared with us in his great sense of humor about his roots from the southern part of Thailand near Hat Yai where the place he was born and raised nurtured him in becoming an culinary enthusiast. Hence, his style of cooking can be really spicy in comparison to the usual Thai level spice that we are all used to having for which the southern part of Thailand’s culinary region is known for.
Thai spirit is certainly encouraging here, not only the food that we were anticipating with joy, but the ambience and the romantic surroundings that entice our mood by wanting to embody the delightful setting at once especially when you arrive at dusk.
Contemporary Thai style Salas are scattered around with a mini Thai village resemblance by the river side. Plus the lush green foliage and majestic Banyan trees wreathed around the area with fire torches add a more fairy-tale atmosphere juxtaposed against the picturesque backdrop of the city skyline. Whichever Salas or seats by the riverside you prefer to sit at, the surrounding ambience gives you a different mood from different vantage points.
Majestic Banyan trees and fire torches adds different mood in Thiptara
It is not just the décor and ambience by the river that is romantic, the food in Thiptara is pretty too. We started with the unquestionable Tom Yum Goong Lai Sua with traditional hot and sour soup with tiger prawns, mushrooms, lemongrass, chili and lime juice to entice our palate. Fresh medium size river prawns are used and a decent small bowl is ideal for the evening for us to further proceed with the remaining dishes.
The spicy Yum Ma Muang Goong green mango salad with prawns followed and further opened up our palate. We always prefer mango than papaya for its semi raw texture and sourness as well as not turning soggy that quickly. Chef Chamnan Thepchana got the message that we can really take the heat and spice during our Herbs Appreciation session and every dish is done in “Khun Thai” way – a Thai flavor ensured with no compromise on the level of spiciness a normal Thai would enjoy.
Our favorite steamed Pla Ka Pong Neung Ma Nao fillet of sea bass in spicy lemon sauce, steamed cabbage and ginger was long in anticipation. Despite the whole steam fish is preferred for more authenticity yet filleted and deboned flesh gives you bigger mouth full with each morsel to enjoy.
The Moo Phad Kraprao was next brought to the table and this classic home comfort wok-fried minced pork with Chili and hot basil leaves was created to everyone’s liking. Like it hot or not, it is up to your very own desirable heat intake.
Almost a Sichuan style inspired dish, the Ped Phad Prik Heang stir-fried barbecued duck with dried chili, cashew nuts and Thai herbs is another all time favorite to add on Chef Chamnan Thepchana’s menu. High heat wok fried dishes creat a slightly burnt and exotic flavor is best accompanied with ice cold beer. Cheers!
The rare Gaeng Khua Pla Kra Pong Bai Yee Rhaa is not regularly being seen in a Thai restaurant and not even many Thai Chefs know how to get it right. This southern influenced specialty is no doubt one of Chef Chamnan Thepchana childhood memory home cook dishes. This thick rustic yellow curry with sea bass, turmeric, coconut milk and fennel leaves from The Peninsula garden creates the aromatic and pungent flavor and is a must try in Thiptara.
No one would say no to Phad Thai Goong Sod. Stir-fried flat rice noodles with fresh shrimps, tofu, garlic, chives, bean sprouts and peanuts is Chef Chamnan Thepchana’s version of herbal tamarind sauce wrapped in an egg net and garnished with banana blossom and lime. You can’t go wrong by ordering a Phad Thai dish.
We can’t resist Khao Niew Ma Muang, a classic Thai mango and sticky rice with coconut cream to round up the evening for another delightful enjoyment.
Thai classical music occasionally played live by a young solo musician fills the air, lingering with the fresh lushness of green after the afternoon shower and soothes the mood and takes us back to the nostalgic Thai Kingdom momentarily. Still yet to finish, Tab Tim Krob was the surprised add on - one of the most famous Thai desserts made of cubes of water chestnuts in syrup coated with red food coloring. This desert is known as “pomegranate seeds” or “rubies” because of its appearance and is served in coconut milk and syrup. Now that we are sweetened in all aspects of the hospitality dedicated especially to the attentive and cheerful well-spoken staff, they know when it is best to retreat and yet keeping an eye on what’s going on.
With culinary delights awaiting our discovery, incredibly vibrant and culturally rich, Thiptara serves everything “Khun Thai” that will eat your heart out. There are plenty of other authentic Thai dishes on offer if you’re after something more substantial in the food department. With some many outstanding restaurants and choices to choose from in this exciting City of Angels, we would happily award Thiptara restaurant one of the Thai best dining experiences in the region. At least it is in Bangkok and by the river, without any doubt and with great expectation.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Value For Money: 5/5
Signature Thai Dishes
Khet Khlong San,
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Tel: +66 2020 2888
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.