There has never been a better time to unravel the mystic behind the ‘Expedition’ tasting menu at one of Thonglor’s most evocative restaurants. Leading food writer Melissa Richter booked in to Karmakamet Conveyance to find out more.
Hidden in plain sight in a converted shophouse in one of Bangkok’s trendiest neighbourhoods, Karmakamet Conveyance is a cutting-edge fine dining venue that surprises and delights at every turn with an edgy urban vibe. The brainchild of chef Jutamas Theantae, who prefers to be simply be referred to as Som, the restaurant is meant to be much more than the sum of its parts.
Never one to be pigeon-holed, chef Som showcases a seasonal tasting menu that is hard to define, yet can be related to on an emotional level that evokes memories of familiar places and special moments in time. Chef Som said: “My food is really just about the taste. It’s about layers in your mouth which create flavours within.”
Unpretentious, yet elegant, the décor is an evocative mix of the contrasting colours, textures, and building materials that are set against a crisp, white colour palette that gives the place a sense of effortless style. Retro 1980’s glass blocks and rustic exposed brick facades seamlessly co-exist with warm wooden parquet floors, nostalgic track lighting, brassy gold mirrored partitions, rusted industrial hooks and chains, as well as disembodied furniture hanging from the walls.
Asymmetrical lines and minimalist design give the space an almost whimsical feel that is reminiscent of an art gallery installation. Another clever element is the use of a digital media player that projects art house videos of unrecognisable global travels directly onto the wall in conjunction with eclectic, yet sultry music that deftly sets the mood.
Expecting the unexpected is par for the course at Karmakamet Conveyance, and even the menu is a bit of an enigma that is meant to stimulate your senses while being ambiguous enough to be left up to interpretation. Their tasting menus have nebulous names such as ‘expedition’ or ‘appreciation’ and usually consist of 10 courses that do not have names or come with any descriptions of the food. This is a cuisine that is meant to be pondered over, discussed at length, and thoroughly enjoyed on a visceral level.
Chef Som said: “Taste can be very subjective, it depends greatly on each person’s experience, upbringing, and background. People have to think about themselves and have their own moments. It’s food for the soul that people can just enjoy.”
Part of what makes this cuisine so magical is the way that chef Som straddles the line between courses that are simple, such as seasonal fruit or stunning green beans prepared two-ways, and her more complex offerings such as the Asian-inspired beef tongue and French-inspired pan-seared fish. The delectable beef tongue is a succulent centrepiece in a sea of funky fermented flavours, unexpected textures, and mind-blowing spicy sauces that coalesce into the distilled essence of South East Asia in a bowl.
While the elegant fish with buttery potato pave, tian Provençal vegetables, and a rich and decadent sauce made from an unexpected tropical fruit (which shall remain nameless in order to retain the surprise for future diners) can only be described as unadulterated pleasure on a plate. Other notable courses include the ‘cookie’ which is a flavour bomb that is sure to blow your mind and the ‘oyster’ which simply divine.
In the hands of a less talented artisan, this cuisine could be convoluted, clumsy, or confused, yet chef Som always remains in control with an uncompromising commitment to precision and detail. She delivers a thoughtful and cohesive dining experience that is subtle, yet powerfully emotive as it allows you to interpret each dish through a personal prism while simultaneously comprehending its broader appeal.
In a nutshell
Dining at Karmakamet Conveyance is a provocative and delightful experience. Their unconventional methods combine traditional Asian flavour profiles with contemporary European cooking techniques and re-interprets fine dining in a modern and artistic way that stimulates and arouses all of the senses.
Address: 1, 1/1 Soi Sukhumvit 49, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Phone: +66 2004 3997
All images used in this article credit: Karmakamet Conveyance
Follow Melissa’s food adventures at instagram.com/foodfiens2020/