Experience authentic Thai cuisine at award-winning Nusara in Bangkok: 5 things to know
Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakjohn's restaurant is ranked third among Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in 2023
This is part of our TableCheck award-winning restaurant series.
Chef Ton, whose restaurants are among the best in Bangkok, opened his most personal project in 2021. His latest creation, Nusara, a 10-seater restaurant, is a testament to his passion for cooking and a homage to his grandmother who influenced him to be the chef that he is today. At Nusara, Chef Ton brings to life his unique interpretations of his grandmother’s cuisine, as well as other traditional Thai family dishes and royal dishes originating since the Rama V period in the 1900s. Each dish is crafted using 100% local and seasonal ingredients from all over Thailand.
In addition to keeping his grandmother's memory alive, the restaurant serves as Chef Ton's playground for experimenting with and creating "colorful Thai cuisine" – a term he prefers to use to describe Nusara's gastronomy. For Chef Ton, Nusara’s dishes are neither traditional nor modern, but “something that’s never been done before”.
After returning to Thailand from his stints at the world’s best restaurants like Eleven Park Madison in New York or Jean Georges in Paris, elevating Thai dishes has become Chef Ton’s mission. It’s a culinary trademark that he carries throughout his culinary journey in Nusara but also in his other restaurant businesses, like Lahnyai Nusara (50 Best Discovery and a sister restaurant of Nusara) or Le Du, where he earned his first Michelin star.
"I had an opportunity to work in many famous restaurants and gained experience for 5-6 years. During that time, I felt that the image of Thai food in the opinion of foreigners is like street food and was rated as simple food, not seen as a luxury or rated it as high-class food like other western food in Fine dining restaurants and as a Thai person, I want to change that idea. Thai food can also be high-class food like other countries,” he told Nationalthailand.com.
A year after Nusara’s doors opened to the public, it solidified its status as a culinary destination when it landed at no. 20 in the 2021 Asia’s Best 50 Restaurant list. The following year, it climbed to no. 10. In 2023, Nusara was awarded third place.
Here are some of the five things to know about Nusara:
1. From casual to fine dining concept
When Chef Ton started thinking of a restaurant concept for Nusara, it was first envisioned as a casual restaurant. But the idea evolved into entirely something else after the loss of his grandmother. From a casual concept, Chef Ton and the other owners decided to pivot to a fine-dining concept. For the chef, the decision to operate as a fine-dining restaurant was the best way to commemorate his grandmother.
“When she passed away, we missed her dearly and decided to keep her close to our hearts; opening this restaurant is our way to do so. Nusara is created from our pure love for her and Thai cuisine," as stated on Nusara's official website.
2. It’s a family affair
Nusara is an actual family venture. From the start, Chef Ton and his brother Tam Chaisiri Tassanakajohn have worked together to create unique experiences for their guests. Both brothers pioneered a way for Thai cuisine to be appreciated as a fine-dining cuisine. Tam is General Manager & Owner and also serves as the restaurant’s resident sommelier, pairing the best wines from the country with Chef Ton’s amazing culinary delights.
United by their love for their grandma, Chef Ton’s culinary craftsmanship, and Tam’s knowledge of wines and personable style of dealing with guests, Nusara has become one of Bangkok’s culinary gems, renowned for its private and exquisite dining experiences.
3. The signature dishes
Guests are greeted with cocktails and local drinks at the Mayrai bar downstairs before they head out to Nusara on the second floor.
At Nusara, guests can enjoy a 12-course tasting menu in an intimate setting. The restaurant serves at least six small savory appetizers like crab curry with local caviar, a paddy field crab roe paired with aromatic rice and Thai chimichurri, or the classic favorite, the Tom Kia soup with Chef Ton’s creative flair.
After savoring the appetizers, guests move on to larger dishes that can be shared family-style or to be eaten together communally. This includes braised and grilled squid cooked with garlic and palm sugar and a delicious take on Beef Wagyu beef with chili and cumin. Three other delectable dishes will be served, using Thai and Indian curries, proof of Chef Ton’s love for Indian cuisine.
To finish it off, there's coconut sago or calamansi popsicle for desserts depending on availability.
Check Nusara's latest menu here.
4. The interiors
As a 10-seater restaurant, it is designed to conjure intimacy and the exclusivity of a private dining room, and the familiarity and comfort of the living room space. The restaurant uses subdued accent lighting through the use of pendant lights hanging from the ceiling and comfortable wooden chairs with rattan backs.
All guests are seated at one long table, making it an exclusive yet communal dining experience. Photographs adorn the walls and a lamp reading light at the corner, completes the tone of this relaxing space where eating and enjoying intimate conversations are all part of the interplay.
5. Exploring the neighborhood
Nusara has moved to a new location is now located on Maharat Road right across Wat Pho temple, one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Thailand. The restaurant’s proximity to the temple and also to the Chao Phraya River are all part of Nusara’s allure as guests can catch a glimpse of the ancient city from the restaurant’s balcony.
“When we found this historic location near Wat Po, we felt it had a very special energy, and we knew it was the right place to honor [our grandmother’s] memory,” Chef Ton told bangkok101.com.
From the exquisite menu, expertly crafted by Chef Ton, to the truly relaxing atmosphere and guest hospitality, every aspect of Nusara is designed to provide its guests with a unique and unforgettable experience. Chef Ton’s commitment to using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients while giving a nod to his grandmother’s memory makes Nusara one of Bangkok’s top culinary destinations.
First published on March 13, 2023, this article has been updated on March 29, 2023.
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