Happy Monday! Surely you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this blog is a two person operation. (The dish-washing and taste-testing alone require a team effort.) To kick off the week, Frank is stepping out from behind-the-scenes with his first post on Inquiring Chef. There will be more to come. Enjoy! – Jess
Almost every year since Jess and I started dating, we have bucked the trend of the going out for a big, fancy dinner on Valentine’s Day. Somehow gorging ourselves on an eight course tasting menu does not seem to be the most romantic of V-Day options. Sorry, Cupid, I need an antacid from our deluxe cheese and chocolate tasting. This year, true to form, we stayed in and made pizzas. I would not trade this tradition for anything.
Since a number of upcoming hot spots around Bangkok have caught our eyes these days, and since Jess and I need little coaxing to imagine reasons we should be going out for a nice dinner- From ‘Hey, I got a promotion, let’s hit the gastropub,’ to ‘Nice blog post, wanna go to the Issan joint?’… or even ‘Hey, It’s Friday, hipster tapas?!’ Thus, Jess and I decided to stretch Valentine’s Day over several meals. Excellent.
I first noticed Shuffle one evening as we were leaving Wine Connection, a reliable spot for tasty international small plates and good drinks. Shuffle takes up a large space in the up and coming Rain Hill Center on Sukhumvit and Soi 47. With exposed duct work, filament bulbs, and an open kitchen, Shuffle is industrially-designed to give you the feel that you are in a converted loft. It’s upscale and relaxed at the same time.
In addition to the industrial chic decor, I noticed this string wrapping the dining room from the tambon baan ceremony (a Buddhist ceremony to bless the space). Participating in this ceremony was one of my favorite moments at work last year and brought a smile to my face to see it at the new restaurant- a nice show of the traditional and modern together.
Shuffle is doing new American cuisine. There are lots of great restaurants cooking international cuisines around Bangkok, but thoughtfully-sourced and prepared American cuisine is not well represented. Since the chef from Shuffle comes from Bangkok Burger Company, a great little burger and beer spot in Thonglor, we were optimistic about the possibilities presented by Shuffle.
Jess and I are enjoying the birth of Bangkok’s nascent craft brew renaissance brought on by the guys at Beervana, so we were happy to partake in a few tasty suds. I had a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale and Jess had an Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. There was also a great looking cocktail menu and wine list.
Our meal opened with a tasty surprise. In lieu of traditional bread, Shuffle serves up warm croissants and butter. I loved this tasty, outside the box thinking. I wonder if something a little more American might work as well? As a true displaced Southerner, my mind immediately thinks of biscuits. Hey Shuffle, the biscuit is clearly the undisputed king of American comfort breads and no one on Bangkok is doing it. Think about it!
For appetizers, we chose beer-battered string beans and the roasted vegetable plate. It was tough choice because many of the items looked great. The string beans were breaded and fried to crispy perfection, but light and great with the accompanying roasted garlic aioli. The vegetables were well roasted, charred and great with the accompanying bread.
I could not resist the the burger. It was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. There were are a number of other tempting steak and roasted meat options.
Jess is frequently tempted by simple roasted chicken dishes at new American restaurants. In fact, if the dish is named “Amish Chicken” she is actually powerless to resist it. I wonder why the Amish and their fowl finesse has so captured my wife’s imagination? Jess’ chicken was expertly roasted, juicy on the inside with a crispy skin on the exterior.
We shared a cheesecake for dessert. Shuffle plays with the traditional by serving the cheese cake, which was wonderfully light and smooth, separate from the crust, which is crumbled over the plate. The topping is reminiscent of cherry pie filling. Delicious. I actually took a bite before snapping the picture- a big no-no with Mrs. Inquiring Chef.
While Shuffle just opened and is still in its ‘soft opening’ period, there is a lot of promise here. We are looking forward to going again soon.
Rainhill Complex, Second Floor
Bangkok 10110, Thailand
+66 2 261 6992