A Feast at 100 Mahaseth.
I met up with high school buddy Bernie Sumayao, who has been a Bangkok resident for the past three decades. His passion for adventurous food is shared by his wife Ta and his sister-in-law Pasnee, and together their trio is well known among the highly rated restaurants and chefs in Bangkok. Bernie decided to introduce me to one of his recent favorites, 100 Mahaseth situated on Mahaseth Road, which is a root to fruit and a nose to tail concept restaurant.
As one is seated, three sauces namely a spicy Jaew with a tamarind base beautifully presented on a stone mortar and pestle, pla- ra or Thai anchovy with roasted tomato and chili chutney, and local herbs or a Thai type of chimichurri, which can be tasted with pork cracklings placed on a woven basket and a plate of very fresh herbs. These side condiments can be used all throughout the meal. They give the diner a participatory free hand in creating custom taste variations with 100 Mahaseth's menu of food items, which are all seasonal and locally based ingredients from farmers all over Thailand.
Dinner with our large group started with seven appetizers, bone marrow roasted and buried in charcoal served with toasted perilla seeds, scallions palm sugar, lime, and lemongrass. The nuttiness of the perilla seed and crisp fragrant lemongrass provided a foil for the rich grilled marrow. We had the pan fried pork jowls served with fried rice crisps topped with an onion and stink leaf chutney. The tender yet bouncy texture of the jowls was enhanced by the nutty crispiness of the stink leaf beans while the airy rice crisps created another texture. We had a rather soupy starter of cassia curry with ya nang salted mackerel and tender braised oxtail accompanied by a hairy eggplant salsa. What followed was an ultra rich and creamy kao poon samong moo or fermented rice noodles with pig's brain in a light coconut curry topped with crispy pork fat, pickled cabbage, string beans, herbs, and dried chili. The mini brioche baguette looked playful in banh style but in a fast food cardboard container, with a smokey Northern style sausage or sai, uwa, pickled radish, garlic, and Northern spices and herbs. Two other good examples of Thai style charcuterie were the beef jerky made from flank steak cured in a very special fish sauce made from tuna with palm sugar and roasted spices, every bite an umami explosion, while we ordered minced marinated beef grilled close to the Vietnam style combined with rice, banana, star fruit, and garlic. My favorite was the tripe (librillo), fried to a crisp under such a low temperature that turned it into delicately thin wafrets, which we combined with the sauces from the appetizer and the sauce nam jim jeow made of hot chilis with tamarind. I loved putting a delicate yum chee salad of coriander, dill, and tomato on these crispy tripe wafrets. All these starter dishes paired beautifully with a Moet and Chandon Reserve from Bernie's stash whose lemony and red tart fruit characters stood up nicely to the spicy, herbal, and citrusy characters. Then we opened another bottle, this time a red Super Tuscan, a Tignanello, also from Bernie's stash. He explained that in his frequent dining he found that certain powerful Italian wines could handle the strong spicy food and its accompanying condiments. True enough the herbal and chili characters enhanced the fruit of the Tignanello.
Overall, the chefs and owners of this restaurant have made a good statement that one does not really need to employ fusion or add foreign ingredients to Thai cuisine. Mahaseth's kitchen has maintained its purity, character, flavors, and what Thai food is all about and the new methods they may develop to produce new and up-to-date Thai recipes.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org