“Because this place was taken over by the Central family in 1949, opened in 1950, and it was a bookshop, I thought I should place this whole operation on my collection of cookbooks in the 1950s to 1970s.”said the legendary chef David Thomson.
Aksorn sees volumes of ancient recipes brought back to life in the kitchen that respects Bangkok’s flavours from times past.
The savoury journey sets off with hors d’oeuvre, including Ma Hor, spiced pork galantine, and Miang Bai Miang (smoked catfish wrapped in wild tea leaves). For starters, it’s Goong naaem (seasoned river prawns with pickled garlic, kaffir lime, and peanuts) with a hint of mild spiciness, served with Tong laang leaves.
“I’ve never used that era [the 1950s to 1970s] in my research. What I found is that Thailand was in transition from Siam to modern Bangkok. Everything was beginning to change, and you can see it in the food with the end of old Siam.”
Main dishes are served family-style, for sharing, and of course with steamed jasmine rice. It’s a sumptuous feast with that strong feeling of nostalgia. The grilled tomato salad, Aksorn’s most-loved dish so far, surprises you with a sour and spicy taste yet pleasantly aromatic. The red curry of beef with peanuts, Asian citron, and Thai basil will just melt in your mouth.
Chef David also shared that “of course the food is from the past, it doesn’t mean that our practices are. We’re responsible for trying to use any local stuff, organic stuff, and so on. I think that we’re morally bound to do that.”
While you enjoy flavourful braised marble goby with wild ginger soup, make sure to leave some room for stir-fried chicken with spring onions, and fermented bean curd with minced pork and prawns.
The journey winds down with Thai desserts comprised of glazed breadfruit, coconut candies, ancestor biscuits, and sweet Thai pretzels, which is one of Chef David’s most favourites.
“When I was planning this operation, I’ve never intended this to be for tourists. I’ve always intended it to be for locals. What we try to do is to reinforce the style from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. It’s a small little restaurant with a set menu that I hope would please.”said Chef David.
Aksorn aims to present to its guests a regularly changing menu for today’s ever-changing tastes. We’ve heard that Hor Mok, but not the fish one, might make it to the menu soon enough!