Update: July 2018
Freebird Bangkok is now an All-Day Modern Bistro. They are now open from 11.30am to 9.30pm (10.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays) every day except Mondays. Here’s a good news for AroiMakMak.com fans. As long as you dine in between 11.30am to 5.30pm on any day (except Mondays as they are closed) and mention that you are FRIENDS OF AROIMAKMAK.COM, Chef Top will give your table a free dessert!
Bangkok is a city with endless dining options, so much so that the Michelin Guide is making its grand arrival this year. However, there aren’t many restaurants that market themselves as serving Modern Australian Cuisine until Freebird came about last year.
But what’s Modern Australian Cuisine? As a concept, I roughly understand it as a cuisine that combines the cooking styles and tastes of the varied immigrant population in Australia with its top-notch indigenous produce. Still confused? Let’s walk through the Chef’s Choice tasting menu at Freebird and hopefully gain a deeper understanding.
Dinner started off on a great note with spiced cashew nuts from Phuket and a comforting plate of grilled house-made ciabatta with an assortment of dips that rotate daily.
Freebird’s Chef’s Choice menu is really a free and easy experience where you open your mind and leave your dinner in the hands of the chef (Omakase-style). He will make decisions for you based on your dietary requirements and preferences. Dishes will be presented in the form of sharing plates. The more there are in your group, the more dishes will be served.
Starters consisted of deep-fried enoki with wasabi mayo for my wife (who doesn’t take raw meat dishes) and a perfect Normandie oyster with Ponzu and Yuzu Kosho for me.
Now things were starting to get REALLY interesting. My Blackmore Wagyu Tartare with seaweed mayo and quail egg was enjoyable, but my wife’s baby beets with lemon myrtle gel, smoked ricotta foam and walnuts was a flavour explosion. It totally stole the show. It was just what we came for, something eye-opening, unexpected and pleasantly-surprising. It certainly made us look forward to what was to come.
My wife’s next cooked course was a hearty barley risotto made with saffron and aged cheddar. Interesting take on risotto, using barley instead of arborio rice.
The boldness of the kitchen team continued with my raw course of scallop sashimi with a unique jellyfish-like seaweed and a shaving of guava wasabi granite. The granite might look like a gimmick at first, but the distinctive refreshing scent of sweet guava permeated through the entire dish.
In this bowl, the slow-cooked hen’s egg was buried under popped barley and rice ‘puffs’ and paired nicely with a mix of 6 mushrooms and multigrain sticks with Australian Brie. Familiar tastes with varied textures in 1 bite.
The alternating between experimental and familiar dishes continued with one of Freebird’s signature pastas, spaghettini with salted fish, local crab, dried chilli, ikura and pecorino cheese. This tasted heavier than it looked, and screamed Thailand. It felt like the chef’s take on one of the long-established fusion pasta dishes here.
Our 2 fish dishes were quite spectacular. On top, salted hake with cauliflower 3 ways, miso butter and prune puree, completely my kind of fish dish. Below, poached salmon with ikura, hijiki, pea salad and calamansi gel (I haven’t seen 1 calamansi in Thailand since my time here and they actually managed to put a dollop of it on the plate).
Both dishes were made memorable by the clever use of tangy fruits to lift the flavours. Chef Top credits this technique to his time working under the legendary Pierre Gagnaire. You don’t get a bland dish here. Every plate arrived looking colourful and consisting of a variety of taste sensations without compromising the quality of the main ingredient. Maybe this is what Modern Australian Cuisine is all about?
And finally, a crowd-pleaser as safe finish to the savoury courses. This duck breast with carrot caramel and and sweet-sour sauce could not possibly go wrong. My kids polished the dish and asked for more.
And just when you thought the desserts would be smooth-sailing, think again. A bite into the meringue that accompanied the passion fruit crumble and gosh, sprinkled with chilli flakes!
Last but not least, not your average cheesecake with strawberry paper and mixed berries compote. It was rich and comforting, with the camambert honey cream at the bottom giving it a unique edge. I will be a happy man having this all to myself.
Chef Top showing his team how it’s done.
Open kitchen concept that allows us to observe how our food is prepared both from inside and outside the restaurant.
Much has been said in the media about how beautiful Freebird is, and that is why I chose to focus this post on its food. Regarding the venue, I can only say that it’s classy yet casual at the same time. There are enough dining spaces, indoor and outdoor for any kind of occasion, and even the menu is a combination of bold, experimental dishes with more straightforward ones.
For those with little kids, a peek into the garden shows me a slide and some lovely animals. Freebird welcomes your little ones too, especially for weekend brunches.
The chef’s choice menu costs only 1750++THB per head. I use the word ‘only’ because I have been to many restaurants charging more than double the price for dinner sets which do not feel half as satisfying.
At Freebird, you might not love every dish, but there will not be a boring one. If you are looking for a restaurant that will give you an unpredictable dining experience without breaking the bank, Freebird has to be it.