Art and Food in Bangkok

First image...
The Jim Thompson House.

Thai Takeaway

Teak meets chic in Bangkok.

Servers at Hyde & Seek.
Salad days at Issaya Siamese Club.

By Elaine Glusac
Photography by Alvaro Leiva

Bangkok’s design scene has exploded, producing a collection of new retro-chic restaurants, hotels turning Thai to the core with an emphasis on authenticity, and a growing gallery scene where colonial-era romance meets work by emerging artists. For a vintage-to-modern venture in the famously frenzied city, art aficionados can tour The Jim Thompson House museum, a compound of six traditional teak homes where the silk magnate once resided, then round the corner to the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre to explore nine floors of art-focused shops and lofty exhibit space.

Thai celebrity chef Ian Kittichai recently opened Issaya Siamese Club (4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chue Ploeng Road; 66-2/672-9040) in a walled villa evoking a 1920s private club. Creative presentations such as whole fried bass draped with herbs highlight the modern Thai menu. Le Dalat (57 Soi Prasarnmitr, Sukhumvit 23; 66-2/259-9593) channels colonial Indochina, serving the city’s best Vietnamese food amid potted palms and period decor.

Swedish mixology team the Sorum brothers have made Hyde & Seek (65/1 Athenee Residence, Soi Ruamrudee, Wireless Road; 66-2/168-5152) a find for classic cocktails paired with gastropub favorites. At night, the brilliantly lit Wat Arun (“Temple of the Dawn”) across the Chao Phraya River backdrops The Deck at Arun Residence (36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road; 66-2/2221-9158), ideal for alfresco nightcaps.
Bangkok’s side streets, or soi, burst with shops. Sukhumvit Soi 23 houses a trio of interior-design boutiques: Incredible (116/4 Sukhumvit Soi 23; 66-2/260-9690) deals in unusual accents such as mounted fossils and boar’s hide rugs. Neighbors Eligible and Unforgettable carry art deco and modern furnishings. Local collectors prize House of Chao (9/1 Decho Road, Surawong; 66-2/635-7188), which restores Thai antiques and sources regional folk art.

Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, March 2013.

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