80/20, an experimental Thai restaurant located in Charoenkrung, welcomes its new head chef, Thav Phouthavong, who comes with a new tasting menu this month. Chef Thav is looking to continue 80/20’s philosophy of an innovative take on Thai cuisine but with a touch of his story.
Born in Belgium and raised in the UK to a Laotian family, Thav brings with him over a decade of diverse culinary experience. In 2018, he decided to move to Thailand to hone his skills and knowledge in the local cuisine and ingredients. He joined the Blue Elephant Group as development chef, in charge of creating new recipes for its restaurants, before joining 80/20 as a head chef this May.
In 80/20’s new 14 bites menu, Chef Thav introduces his new creations alongside 80/20’s best-loved dishes. The new head chef’s “fun, bold, and unpretentious” style is evident in the updated menu. He explains, “I want to continue 80/20’s ethos of serving innovative interpretations of Thai cuisine while remaining true to local taste. Obviously, I will also bring my fresh perspective by incorporating my Laotian roots and techniques I have gathered in various kitchens in order to create my dishes at 80/20.”
The 14 bites are grouped into four courses, starting with the Snacks: a savory Khanom Bueng, fragrant Mieng Kham, and a bite-sized Laab Moo Tord.
Next are the Appetisers: a Pla Nam Jim “Ceviche” that perfectly balances spiciness with the mellow sweetness of the pomelo; Khao Soi Lapin “LPQ”, inspired by the famous Laotian style Khao Soi noodle soup, a clear soup from Luang Prabang; and Khao Phad “Jeow Bong” Ped, a star dish from the Laotian chef. The Laotian Jeow Bong is similar to the Thai Jeow Bong but without fermented fish.
Then we cleanse our taste buds with Thai-prese, tofu ice cream served with tomato and basil sauce inspired by Caprese salad, before moving on to the main course, Gap Khao.
Next, served with soft, fluffy jasmine rice are Gaeong Om Beef, Gai Yang, and Pla Tord—a simple yet elevated progression of bites. The herb in the Gaeng Om bursts in your mouth, while the Gai Yang (grilled chicken) is served along with a Melon Acar, giving the course a refreshing touch. The Pla Tord (fried fish) is coated with cornflakes and seaweed, just like how Chef Thav’s grandmother served this dish at his family gatherings.
Heading into the finale, the refreshing Yum Pollamai, or fruit salad, is served jjust before the course ends with Desserts. The dessert journey starts with Suan Maprao, a coconut ice cream with coconut foam that will have your taste buds feeling like they’re in a coconut field, and Khob Khun Krub, an assortment of Thai desserts, from Babin and Foy Thong ice cream to seasonal fruits.
If you are in a mood for some red, white, and sake, 80/20 has a wine pairing option for this tasting menu.
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