Tag Archives: Thai

Santhai, The Next Generation of Wonderful Thai Cuisine

The interior design of Santhai, Kota Kasablanka.
Feels like having a great summer on the beaches of Thailand at Santhai here. (Pic: Passion Magazine)

For being the most distinctive among all other Thai restaurants, people would immediately refer Santhai as the go-to place in Jakarta. Here’s how they revolutionize the Thai cuisine in the Big Durian.

There’s a local quote saying, “Santai seperti di pantai”. It’s not rhyming in English, but still it can be literally translated as “relaxing on a beach”. For that purpose, Santhai’s design embodies the holiday mood. The theme is tropical, and both outlets apply the always-fashionable neon lamps. Even the staffs are clad in beach shirts. Certain food and drinks are served on floaties and bird cages.

True to its name, Santhai was created in a way that’s playful, or “Instagrammable” – says the millennials. It’s unlike any other Thai restaurants that usually sport formal look. Surely you will immediately notice that most Thai restaurants have all that royal themes with statues, paintings, and the usual classical interior. Santhai is the complete opposite.

However, the most important part of all from a restaurant is always the food and Santhai is not short of surprises there. It boasts nearly 200 types of dishes, with additional a few dozen coming in after the second opening of their outlet quite recently in Pantai Indah Kapuk.

Credits should be given to the visionary owners and the native Thai chefs who have been collaborating closely to present this outlook. Aside from the eclectic designs, the owners also encourage the chefs to create interesting new dishes inspired from other cultures. Authenticity certainly has its values, but Santhai bravely mixes the two worlds to create both appetizing and intriguing lineup of the menu.

Santhai do embrace the classic choices such as the pineapple fried rice or the pad thai. They also offer the boat noodles, albeit the size may be different than the traditional. Expect to see other authentic options such as the Thai mango salad, massaman curry, the red and green curries with prata, and even the tom yum. To end the whole experience, the sticky rice with mango awaits you. The durian desserts are also ripe for the taking.

However, if you are feeling playful, then you should try something different. The popularity of salted egg dishes these past two years encourages the chefs of Santhai to develop their own Thai take which can be seen from salted egg spring beans, crispy salted egg yolk with chicken, also with prawns. The mantou buns proved to be a perfect choice as the starter, since it can be served with Peking duck or soft-shell crabs with Thai basil.

As for our personal experience, we were very delightful when trying the always good fried rice, but this time served in a coconut shell and presented on a floatie. This eclectic presentation was immediately followed by the highly delectable salmon’s head curry. For the desserts, the durian spring rolls awaited us curiously in one corner.

The highlight of the day goes for the salmon’s head curry. It’s not easy to cook a wonderful salmon dish, since I personally think that salmon is only best when served as gravlax or sashimi. Through this dish, Santhai made it clear that they can make salmon as the star of the show. It tasted very fresh, with enough serving for a few people, and the rich red curry’s flavor was out of this world. Simply majestic!

There you have it, a complete package of a playful Thai restaurant with a rich lineup of menu and perfect for the whole family. We have a feeling that we’re going to see great things coming ahead from Santhai in the future.

Kota Kasablanka, Lantai Lower Ground
Jl. Casablanca Raya, Jakarta

Featured on Passion Magazine

The MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018 has arrived!

Michelin is pleased to unveil the first selection for the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok, which features a total of 98 restaurants. This selection highlights how the city embraces international dining without abandoning its own heritage and authentic cuisine – which draws millions of visitors worldwide.

Three restaurants obtain two stars in the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018: Gaggan, where the Chef-owner Gaggan Anand takes Indian cuisine to a level rarely seen, and one that has a truly unique signature. His artful dishes are original and creative, with a wonderful blend of textures, flavours, and delicate spices.

Le Normandie, located in The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, also gains two stars. Opened in 1958, the restaurant offers a sophisticated French cuisine based on superb ingredients, refined techniques, and well executed combinations of flavours and textures. Also awarded two stars, Mezzaluna is perched on the 65th floor of the Lebua Hotel, and the chef and his team deliver European delights with Japanese precision in five- and seven-course set menus.

The first selection of the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok also award 14 restaurants one star, highlighting the quality of local cuisine, as 7 of these one star restaurants offer Thai cuisine prepared by local Thai chefs, like Chim by Siam Wisdom, where the chef revisits traditional Thai recipes to create dishes that strike a balance between the old and the new, and between Thai and foreign influences; Bo.lan; Saneh Jaan, a restaurant offering Thai dishes which are a mix of classics and hard-to-find recipes like kaengranjuan, a hot and spicy soup.

Innovative modern Thai cuisine is also well represented in Bangkok with Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, where the chef respects traditional Thai flavours and ingredients but transforms them to produce something truly creative and original. Of particular interest, one street food vendor also obtains one star: Jay Fai, where the owner-chef insists on staying at the tiny open kitchen with her homemade charcoal stoves, continuing what her father started 70 years ago, making crab omelettes, crab curries and dry congee.

International cuisine is also recognized in the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018 with establishments awarded one star such as Ginza Sushi Ichi, a sushi restaurant where ingredients are delivered straight from markets in Tokyo every 24 hours, or Sühring, where brothers Mathias and Thomas Sühring deliver their very own style of modern German cooking that is sometimes playful, sometimes classic and always prepared with care. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorrain, Elements and Savelberg, both gain a star in this first selection, with these restaurants serving French contemporary cuisine.

This year’s selection also features a total of 35 restaurants awarded a Bib Gourmand, a distinction as popular with chefs as it is with gourmets, which recognize favorite establishments selected by the
MICHELIN inspectors for their good value for money, as they serve a quality menu for a maximum of THB 1000.

On the ground the inspectors unearthed all kinds of delights: from street food like Baan Yai Phad Thai, one of the best place for Phad Thai, or Guay Tiew Kua Gai Suanmali, a long-standing stir-fried chicken noodle shop, to more traditional restaurants offering local and delicious Thai cuisine.

For example, Jay Oh serves local style seafood and dishes in a very local rustic, casual ambience where long queues are seen every night, and also obtaining a Bib Gourmand, Baannai, located in a beautiful Thai style wooden house with a well decorated garden serving traditional and delicate Thai food, or Soul Food Mahanakorn which serves modern Thai food.

Reflecting the impressive diversity of street food in Bangkok, which is one of the most attractive spots for visitors from around the world, the MICHELIN guide selects a total of 28 street food stalls.

View the full selection of the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018 on the website www.guide.michelin.com in English and Thai.

The selection of the MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018 features:
✓ 3 two-stars restaurants
✓ 14 one-star restaurants
✓ 35 Bib Gourmand restaurants

Halal Eat Out: Mufiz Eating House – Singapore

Ah finally, my first time visiting Singapore with my wife and also in full liberty each and every day! Back then, it used to be about work and media trips. It used to be about play by the book and based on schedules.

This time? It’s time to enjoy the finest from Southeast Asia cuisines and some nostalgia.

Staying at Jalan Besar was quite beneficial for us since it is quite strategic – I mean, it’s nearby to Mustafa Center and Chye Seng Huat Hardware’s good coffee. However, it is also near to some good examples from Indian cuisines.

Mufiz Eating House was an eatery I found on accident (and from a recommendation in the internet afterwards), and it’s conveniently located on the intersection of Jalan Besar and Kitchener Road. You won’t miss it because it’s so obvious from anywhere you see it.

One thing that matters most in this trip is to search for halal food as well. That’s why we were having this big breakfast on one fine morning before heading for Chye Seng Huat Hardware.

It’s easy to head here by using bus since a stop is nearby and in stark contrast with Indonesia, even though Mufiz is all about open air eatery, it feels clean when in Singapore. The menu is a large collection of Indian food, nasi goreng, and some from Thai cuisine. Without further ado, we each ordered our own nasi biryani and me with a chicken curry while my wife with the mutton curry.

For the companion, we chose each a teh tarik and iced lychee. One thing that’s actually funny was when my wife, a bit hesitant on which to order, decided initially on a vegetarian nasi biryani. The young man who waited us said something like, “Come on. Nasi biryani is not suppose to be eaten with vegetables. Order something like chicken or lamb at least”. Of course, he’s doing it in a friendly way and I have no objection if it became a mutton curry.

Anyway, the food was okay. It was a big breakfast that me and my wife enjoyed although I found that the food back at Taj near Masjid Jamae Chulia was better, a bit more affordable, and it was air-conditioned.

As some of the Singaporeans said, the food at Mufiz may be quite expensive but it was hearty. However, next time I should try somewhere else as well. I intend to try every halal eatery in Singapore – since it is easier to find than in Indonesia, ironically.

So perhaps in few months from now? See you SG!


Some of the menu are suitable for vegetarians

227 Jalan Besar (at Kitchener Road), Singapore

Opening hours: Daily, 24 hours


Friday Skylight BBQ Dinner (The Media Hotel & Towers, Jakarta)

Ahhh, barbecue dinner! It’s the prized jewel reserved only in special occasions and some can be found in several hotel restaurants in Jakarta for an all-day dining price.

The Media Hotel & Towers quite recently brought their BBQ dinner to light for the public and now you can enjoy it on cool Friday nights just outside its famed Thai restaurant, Sukhothai.

The Media - BBQ Night 1 The Media - BBQ Night 4

Plenty of selections that I picked for my dinner, starting of course, from the beef and the fish. My wife definitely opted for the mussels since all of us are surely the fans of night seafood hawkers. Additionally there are other menu as well from the Thai station, salad, desserts, and all wrapped under the serenading tunes from the live music.

The Media - BBQ Night 2

The sixth floor of the hotel has a wide terrace and is put into good use for this particular occasion. It is quite enjoyable and during the night, the streets around here are also less crowded than those in the middle of the town. Additionally you can still see the skyscrapers for a good change of view. It was a good night and I had a decent smokey stuffs that I’d like to experience again sometime in the future here.

The Media - BBQ Night 5

So if you are interested, be sure to drop by only on Friday nights and for IDR 250,000 nett you can enjoy everything and literally everything from the BBQ dinner night.

Enjoy your weekend, lads!



Jalan Gunung Sahari Raya no. 3, Jakarta – Indonesia

Information: +62.21.626.3001



Foodies Lists: Mango Tree Bistrobar (The Foodie Magazine, Mar 2014)

The recently opened Mango Tree Bistrobar in Plaza Senayan revealed a compact venue with an atmosphere that’s suitable for any occasion – be it for casual lunch, an intimate drinks with friends. The exciting combination between delectable Thai cuisine and intriguingly concocted libations is a must try.

The Foodie Magazine - Mango Tree Bistrobar 6

For many, venturing into the posh Plaza Senayan mall would be reserved for specialty shopping or the cinema, but recently, the top floors of the mall has been playing host to a wide array of restaurants catering to various palates. It’s newest resident, Mango Tree Bistrobar surprisingly feels open and presents great options at a very affordable price range.

The interiors are dark yet welcoming, the left side is lined with round cubicles that offer a private feel, while the right side has banquet seating. The white brick walls are punctuated by bright artwork, which give the dining room a kick of energy. Deeper inside, an open kitchen is positioned face-to-face with the bar and in-between, a huge screen that may probably be used for lively nobar (nonton bareng, literally means ‘watch together’) events on football matches or perhaps, muay thai.

The Foodie Magazine - Mango Tree Bistrobar 1
Spicy papaya salad with salted egg and soft shell crab with mango salad
Deep fried sea bass with tamarind sauce
Deep fried sea bass with tamarind sauce

While you may not feel the traditional Thai atmosphere, common at most Thai restaurants, upon browsing the menu, expect to confuse yourself with a full range of tempting Thai cuisine. During our visit, everyone enjoyed the rejuvenating spicy papaya salad with salted egg and soft shell crab with mango salad, which we had for our starters. Then we continue with the elegantly complex deep fried sea bass with tamarind sauce. For us, this is definitely the wow dish that everyone must not miss while here. And to end, we had everybody’s favorite – the durian panna cotta.

The Foodie Magazine - Mango Tree Bistrobar 3

From the long bar, Mango Tree Bistrobar has brought internationally acclaimed mixologist Joseph Boroski to create a set of Thai-inspired cocktails to compliment the food. Joseph’s concoctions are well known throughout many properties around the world and his know how with Thai culture made his creations an essential addition to
Mango Tree Bistrobar cocktails.

Joseph Boroski
Joseph Boroski

Among some of his best for MangoTree Bistrobar are the Muay Thai Kick that mixes bourbon, lemon grass, gula Melaka and pandan that appears beautiful and fragrant, or can also opt for the Silk Spun Sister made from vodka, Thai basil, mulberry and candy floss. The Mango Tree global signature cocktails with the Thai influence are also of great options while you’re here. The Mango Tree Bellini consists of vodka, schnapps, fresh mango, orange juice, and red wine; while Thai Caipirinha is made from vodka, pineapple juice, lychee juice, coriander, and ginger ale.

A lethal combination just like we told you earlier, right? There’s no need to wait any longer for a visit here then.


Halal-friendly (food to confirm, the restaurant serves alcohol)
Suitable for vegetarians

Plaza Senayan, Jalan Asia Afrika no. 8, Jakarta – Indonesia
Telp: +62.21.572.5217

Website: http://mangotreebistro.co.id
Mango Tree Bistro Indo

Opening hours: 
Everyday, mall opening hours


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict