Samui Wining & Dining
With A Twist
Food and Beverage Manager, Mark Groh,
explains how everything is not as it seems at Twisted Thai.

 

With A TwistIt’s not every day that Thai food gets dubbed ‘exquisite’. But at Twisted Thai, it’s a daily occurrence. And not only is the presentation akin to fine dining – it also looks nothing like Thai food! Ingredients for typical Thai dishes, a tom kha gai, for example, are put together in a totally novel way here. So, whilst what you’re presented with may taste as you expect – it won’t look as you’d expect. Food and Beverage Manager, Mark Groh, gives us a sneaky peek into the mystical world of molecular dining at Twisted Thai restaurant, beachside of Imperial Samui Beach Resort in Chaweng Noi.

 

CW: Tell us about the concept?

MG: Our name, Twisted Thai, really explains the concept. We use famous Thai dishes and give them a twist! By using modern cooking technologies we can change the textures of food and are able to put dishes together in a totally new way. When you see your dish arrive you think, “Wow, what is that?” but when you eat it you realise, “Oh, I know this taste.” That’s the concept. It’s a modern Thai restaurant and one of the first to have Thai molecular cuisine. Many people have heard of molecular cuisine but we don’t want to announce the word molecular too much because it scares some people!

 

CW: What’s the most special feature of the restaurant?

MG: The food. Its style, texture and taste. We love surprising the guests with the unique presentation. That’s what’s special. You have many restaurants that serve modern Thai food, good Thai food, upper-class Thai food, and fusion food but we are different again. We do not belong to any of these styles. We have a new style. The twisted style!

 

CW: Tell us about the flavours of the food?

MG: The flavours are, of course, Thai-style. We try to use the purest of ingredients and keep them as natural as possible to let their taste, along with authentic Thai spices, come through. And then the presentation. This kicks it up another notch.

 

CW: So what can people expect from the menu?

MG: Very nice surprises! Most people know what a tom kha gai is, but if you get a tom kha gai here you get a crispy chicken skin and a coconut tom kha gai foam! But when you’ve dipped the chicken into the foam you get the same taste as the soup. To experiment with your palate you can try the elements of our dishes both singularly and combined. It’s very interesting – people like to play a bit with the food. It’s not only eating to fill the stomach. It’s eating for your mind, for your eyes, and for your senses.

 

CW: Can you explain what molecular food is?

MG: Molecular food means, more or less, that different cooking technologies are used to change the texture. A simple example is when you freeze something. That is molecular already because you have changed the state of the molecules in a liquid into another substance. But, of course, molecular is much, much more. For example, we make ‘caviar eggs’ from fish sauce that we decorate the plate with. And they taste like fish sauce. Another thing we do is to cook food at a very low temperature for a long time in a vacuum bag. This means the taste does not get lost and the texture becomes very, very tender and juicy. These techniques are all part of the molecular cooking style.

 

CW: Sounds interesting, what’s a really ‘out-there’ molecular technique?

MG: We have other dishes where herbs are dehydrated and things like that. But we also dehydrate prawns to form a powder that is served on peanut ice-cream! That is our prawn satay ice-cream. When people hear what it is for the first time they’re shocked, but when they try it they’re completely bowled over.

 

CW: How do you get started creating a ‘twisted’ dish?

MG: Firstly, you need to have an idea. Then, you have to try many different ways to find what works together. Sometimes it’s about tweaking the amount of an ingredient again and again until you get the perfect result. It can take months. And only when you find the perfect design can you implement it.

 

CW: What is your favourite dish at Twisted Thai?

MG: That’s got to be the panang nua. The beef is spiced with curry powder and made into a burger. And then a ‘burger bun’ is made from sticky rice. We serve it with a milkshake, banana mayonnaise and sweet ketchup. The taste is amazing! Your brain knows, absolutely, yes, this tastes like panang nua, and yet in front of you, you have an American burger!

 

CW: And what is the most popular dish with the customers?

MG: The massaman gai is very popular. We cook the chicken breast in the curry for a long time in a vacuum bag to keep in the aroma, and then it’s served with a nice chili risotto – spicy but not too spicy.

 

CW: Why do people want to try these ‘twisted’ dishes?

MG: Everybody’s always looking for something new and different. The people who come here are not simply here because they want to have a full stomach. They are here because they want to have excitement – they want to have something special.

 

CW: How do customers react when trying the food for the first time?

MG: We always get a positive reaction. People are surprised, but in a positive way. Sometimes when a customer’s dish arrives they are thinking, “Is this really what I ordered?” But then the chef comes personally to explain the dish telling them what has been changed from the original Thai dish, how they did it, and even sometimes how to eat it. It’s very important to us to have good communication with the guests. And we are very pleased by the reactions and feedback we get from them.

 

CW: Lastly, what do you want to say to those who haven’t yet been to Twisted Thai?

MG: Come and try it! You need to try it for yourself. It really is a great experience and it’s not every day you get to have something truly different, truly exciting.

 

Christina Wylie

 


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