Posted: May 06 2014
Tailor On Ten visits the New Zealand fish restaurant Snapper on a Monday night and it’s bustling as usual. Still, it’s not crowded. The space is large, with high ceilings, concrete walls and fish-inspired decoration. It’s done in a modern, understated way, rather than the tired nautical themes of the past. We sit down for a beer with manager Ben Bennett, himself from the small New Zealand town of Hamilton. You might have heard of the area – yep, it’s actually ‘The Shire’ from The Lord of the Rings. We order one of the imported Kiwi brews – the Tuatara Pilsner, which has a bottleneck that looks and feels like lizard’s skin – and we’re surprised to see Ben going for a standard Heineken.
I like to stick to one beer, it just makes things easier. As I travel a lot, I go for Heineken since it’s available worldwide.
Makes sense. We still prefer a beer that takes itself lightly enough to make the tagline “Snap, crackle & hop”, but whatever. On the food front what would you recommend from the menu?
The Tuna Tartare is my favorite. It’s great, do you want to try it?
Ben quickly orders one from the attentive staff, while we’re nodding excitedly.
The tartare is made from Japanese yellow fin tuna. It’s something a bit unexpected, as most people expect raw fish to be sushi. Our most popular dish is the fish ‘n’ chips, as it is our signature food. We have various types of fish, all imported from New Zealand, as well as different cuts of chips. The Southern Hake has a nice subtle flavor, while the Tarakihi is perfect for those looking for a more distinct taste.
This is such a nice little street. How has the vibe of the street influenced Snapper?
The place has come a long way. The whole premise we now occupy actually used to be a brothel! Now, given the quality and variety of our neighbors – there’s Italian, Mexican, French, tapas, BBQ, all very atmospheric – we went for a stylish interior, with cool hanging lamps and understated art on the walls.
What do you think of the bar scene in Bangkok?
I love it! It’s so much fun, but you have to keep your wits about you… I’m lucky to know a lot of people in the business so there’s always places and people to visit.
What’s you favorite thing about Bangkok?
I like the people and the culture. The culture is really in-your-face, they hold on to their traditions, while all the art and architecture is very present in the city.
Any travel destinations to recommend in Thailand?
Kanchanaburi. It's a beautiful area, less than two hours from Bangkok, meaning you can go for a weekend. There are several national parks, cool temples and it’s the location of the famous multi-tiered Erawan Waterfalls. The River Kwai runs through the area, providing plenty of interesting history and accompanying museums. I usually stay at the Dheva Mantra Resort, which is beautiful and quiet. Just a great place to relax.
Ben gets up to fetch the Tuna Tartare. Of course, it’s amazing. The colors of the fresh ingredients are beautiful and set the expectations high for the first bite. The meat melts in your mouth, while spreading a subtle taste of Thai lime and chili. Bits of perfectly ripe avocado blend with the refined flavor and the mango topping adds a sweet contrast. Crispy bread complements the delicate texture perfectly, creating an elegant dish with appreciative nods to the essence of Thai cooking. The craft of the chef reminds us of another high quality product we have a penchant for…
You’re a customer of Tailor On Ten. Do you wear your shirts to work?
Yes, all the time. I get lots and lots of compliments. Good clothes really get you noticed.
What would your dream suit be?
I like the Mandarin collars, the ones standing up at your neck. I’d get one in black wool. Or maybe one of those big Matrix overcoats, but that might be a bit warm for Bangkok.
What piece of clothing do you find essential?
A well fitting shirt. I always wear shirts. Black ones are great since they look the part both for work and going out. I like the extra little touches on shirts. Details like contrasts, double collars or hidden button plackets. And a pocket is very convenient.
Ben was clever in letting us try the tartare – after that we can’t resist ordering dinner. We get the beetroot salad (which Ben attributes to our co-founder Nike, who wanted more veggie options and was presented with this savory delight of a salad and loves it), green-lipped mussels in tomato sauce, braised lamb shanks with mash and of course fish ‘n’ chips (red gurnard with thick cut chips) and garlic aioli. Guess what? It was all delicious!
Ben hit the nail on the head with the tuna tartare. And even tough it’s mainly a fish restaurant, don’t shy away from the meat either.
For veggie options we recommend the Kiwi classic salad and the Kumera fries. And don't forget to ask for their home-made ketchup.
Snapper is now also open for lunch on Fridays – a great way to start the weekend.
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