Bangkok’s Mavericks of Haute Cuisine

Clara restaurant Bangkok

For a world-class meal in the Big Mango look no further than Mezzaluna, R.HAAN and Clara, all helmed by master chefs who are operating at the top of their game.

The art of fine dining is a well-honed craft that takes years of practice to master at the highest level. It encompasses much more than the sum of its parts, and something quite magical happens when the proper food, wine, ambience, and service coalesce.

In Bangkok, gourmands need look no further than Mezzaluna, R.HAAN and Clara, all world-class restaurants that are helmed by master chefs who are functioning at the top of their game. Each offers its own unique style and approach and have created unforgettable destination dining experiences that elevate the art of fine dining and garnered well-deserved accolades and praise.


Boasting 2-Michelin-stars and an iconic riverside location on the 65th floor of The Dome at Lebua, Mezzaluna is the epitome of haute cuisine in Thailand. With nearly 20 years of experience in the kitchen, Chef Ryuki Kawasaki leads with the talent and skills he has garnered working in Michelin starred restaurants in Japan, Europe and the USA under the tutelage of industry hard-hitters such as Chef Joel Robuchon. “I was trained in classic French techniques, but I love using seasonal Japanese ingredients. I do not cook fusion, my style is French cuisine with a few Japanese accents", asserts Chef Ryuki, “I enjoy the freedom of expressing who I am in the dishes I create. I have a unique style and want guests to experience something different."

Expect nothing but the best from the sumptuous décor highlighted by sweeping city views, to the exceptional wine list, knowledgeable staff and stunning seasonal tasting menus showcasing artisan ingredients that are sustainably sourced, organic and often homemade as evidenced by their infused vinegars, oils and pickled or cured produce.

The beautifully plated Aori Ika Slightly Cooked and the Shirako “Custard" of Cod Milt, Pen Shell, Clams, Salicornia are both seductive offerings that epitomise the definition of “Umami" and are excellent when paired with a white wine such as the Albariño, Bodega Garzon, 2018 from Uruguay. The Riso Pasta “Risotto" Mibuna, Celeriac, Cured Egg Yolk, & Sweet Garlic is the ultimate expression as it features beef that is harvested from a small farm in Japan that produces only 800 cows a year.

“This is very special and only a few chefs in the world serve it. I am the only one in Asia outside of Japan to use it because it comes from my prefecture", shared Chef Ryuki, “I don’t want to use the same products as everyone else. The produce is very important, we fly in ingredients five days a week from Japan. Taste is the most important thing to me, I am not a showman, I just want to make food that tastes good – it’s that simple".


Opened at the tail end of 2019, Clara is the living embodiment of what is possible when dedication, art, and contemporary Italian cuisine converge. Tucked away on an unassuming residential block in the Yen Akart district of Sathorn, it’s a stunningly beautiful Bauhaus-style villa that harmoniously marries sharp minimalist cubic design elements with the contrasting softness and tranquillity of mother nature. A former art gallery with a seductively curved driveway surrounded by a perfectly manicured garden, its spacious and thoughtful interiors showcase floor-to-ceiling windows, multiple levels for dining and eye-catching artwork by famed Thai artist Somboon Hormtientong.

A passion project nearly six years in the making, Clara is owned and operated by the powerhouse husband and wife team of Chef Christian Martena and Maitre D’ Clara Del Corso-Martena who previously collaborated at Opus and Sensi. “This is a dream come true", shared Clara, “It’s finally happening and we could not be more pleased. We have worked so hard and learned so much over the past few years, we cannot wait to share what we have done with the world".

What they are doing is pretty impressive, and they offer 7 to 9-course degustation menus or their ‘3moments’ options which allows you to select three courses from the a la carte menu. Drawing inspiration from the cuisine of his native Italian heritage and sustainable fine dining skills he honed while working as the executive chef for Six Senses Koh Samui, Chef Christian pulls out all the stops with innovative creations such as the succulent Scallop with Fennel Sambuca, the juicy Dry-aged Thai Wagyu Tenderloin Beef served with Daikon & Red Wine Sauce and their signature Caprese which is a smooth and creamy burrata cheese soup with a tart and refreshing tomato sorbet. “What I am cooking now is more technical, and more refined", said Chef Christian, “I am more focused on the ingredients. Local produce has improved a lot and we don’t have to import everything like before. We also have 130 wine labels from well-known and small native producers from Italy and France for guests to enjoy".


Few places are better at demystifying the art of Thai fine dining than R.HAAN and they have 2 Michelin stars to prove it. Hidden in plain sight along a residential soi in Thonglor, it’s an upscale, yet accessible venue devoted to celebrating the evolution and regional diversity of Thai cuisine. Headed up by Chef Chumpol Janpari from Siam Wisdom and Iron Chef fame; R.HANN is the fruition of over 30 years of passion, experience and skill coming together under one stunning roof. Chef Chumpol oversees every detail from the decor to the menu and even the tableware that was once utilized by the Royal Palace during the Rattannakosin era. It is this commitment level which sets his restaurant apart.

“Every square inch of me is in this restaurant". Chef Chumpol proudly proclaimed. “I only use ingredients 100% from Thailand, everything is made from scratch down to the fish sauce. Everything takes a long time to prepare, from curries that take four hours or a soup stock that needs six hours to prepare".

Chef Chumpol has dedicated himself to incorporating the 5 tenets from ‘The Wisdom of Thai Cuisine’, to create authentic dishes that are rooted in ancient traditions and cooking techniques.

Choose from 3-set seasonal menus which have been painstakingly developed to give diners the best possible experience over five courses with an average of 19 different dishes as well as petit fours which can be enjoyed along with their well-appointed wine cellar and a full-service bar. The spicy and aromatic Yellow Crab Curry is brilliant, as is the rich and soulful Stir-Fried Wild Boar with Spicy Curry & Chanthaburi Cardamom Shoots and the Betong Chicken Consommé with Turmeric which is dramatically steeped in a French Press to extract the essence of the herbs and spices and distil it down to its purest flavour.

“This restaurant is the culmination of my life’s journey," insisted Chef Chumpol, “I have been cooking since I was 11 years old and I am now putting all my experience into each dish. I am passing down my knowledge, techniques and wisdom to the next generation. For me, it’s about passion and details on the plate. The best food in the world is not from Michelin star chefs, it’s from mom. That’s why I cook with love and I cook from the heart."

There no need to wait as RHAAN recently added a ‘Home Delivery’ from their new Iron Chef 2 Go Menu which includes tasty options such as the Traditional Tom Yum Soup with King River Prawns & Fresh Thai Herbs and the scrumptious Korat Wagyu Beef Short Rib Green Curry and Fresh Chili w/ Crispy Roti. It’s an excellent way to treat yourself to something gourmet as you shelter at home.


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Published 21st April 2020