Cuisine: Modern Thai
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Seating: 45 incl. Private Rooms
Telephone : +66 829 793 950
At POTONG, Chef Pam delivers a contemporary and exciting experience of progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine. Located near the entrance to Sampeng Market, the restaurant is located in a 120-year-old Sino-Portuguese architectural building and the traditional medicine house of Chef Pam’s great-great-grandparents. POTONG’s fine dining menu is designed to take you on a journey through time, not only culinary but sensorial as well, as patrons progress from one floor to the other, feeling the spirit and vibrations of the building’s history.
The POTONG five-story-tall building has a tale of its own, from one age to another. It was built 120 years ago, with techniques ahead of its time and in a distinctive Sino-Portuguese design; it became one of the tallest and most anticipated buildings when constructed in Bangkok’s Chinatown. For four generations, Chef Pam’s family lived in the building while producing Chinese medicine products. POTONG, roughly translated as “simple, is the key to brilliance” and the name of Chef Pam’s family business, which has been producing traditional Chinese herbal medicine since 1910.
Evolution of Crab, Blue Crab and Mud Crab, Roe Emulsion, Black Pepper Jam, Thai-Chinese Bread.
POTONG consists of five different floors, each with its own stories. The “old meets new” rustic and contemporary design ensures most of the building’s historic structures remain intact. Interior highlights include a 2-man wooden elevator once used by Chef Pam’s family to transfer secret medicine recipes and ingredients between floors.
The first-floor bar is decorated with jars used for fermenting soy sauces and vinegar that evoke the building’s history as a pharmacy and used to be the storefront for the POTONG dispensary. It is now POTONG Sino Bar, retaining the beauty of a 100-year-old wood ceiling.
The second floor, encompassed by lovely old-fashioned dividers, windows, and admittance to a little outside overhang, is the main dining room, and the Chef’s Fine Thai-Chinese tasting course begins here.
The third floor did not undergo any restorative work. There is an amazing featured sanctuary that was perfectly outfitted in the center of the room and enhanced with Guan Yu and Zhang Hui drawings. The room is additionally encircled by wooden dividers hand-painted by craftsmen to portray eight hidden tigers, representing wealth and success. Creating an ultimate dining experience, this definitive space is built for visitors to appreciate the tasting menu while enjoying the history of POTONG.
In the bygone era, the fourth floor was the space for loosening up. When opium was still legal, the space was used to contain a tremendous Chinese daybed placed directly in the center, which was obviously utilized for the smoking of opium. Truly inspiring, this zone has now been transformed into the “OPIUM BAR” using the concept of “Liquid Surreality“, transporting guests back in time. Hidden on the fourth floor is another very private area called “Blackjade“, inspired by the family’s favorite piece of jewelry, the black jade, which represents power, protection, and wisdom. This space is an exclusive space for a private gathering of guests with tailored cocktails and a personal bartender.
Chef Pam’s relatives used to assemble and stargaze on the fifth floor in the evenings. Visitors to the top floor can still spot the legacy POTONG logo. This space has become the most anticipated zone where guests can check out the surrounding buildings, which are the focal point of Chinatown, while drinking exquisite mixed drinks, cocktails, beers, wines, and beverages from the OPIUM Bar.
At POTONG, Chef Pam believes that dining can, and should, happen on a spiritual level; when the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambiance transpire in equal measures: that’s the moment it captures your memory.
The signature dish, “Evolution of Crab“, inspired by Chef Pam’s mother, as Thai-Chinese born, brings the best of the flavors from both types of Thai crab; blue crab and mud crab. Blue crab is famous for its meat, while mud crab roes taste best when cooked to perfection. Chef Pam decided to merge these two and keep the presentation of the sauce hidden in the crab shell, recognizing how Thai-Chinese eat crabs by extracting their roes from the shells.
Chef Pam’s progressive dishes elevate Thai-Chinese cuisine across a 20-course dinner menu. The majority of ingredients used for the multi-course meal are made in-house by the POTONG crew, while others are sourced from sellers in the neighborhood. The journey starts typically with an amuse bouche of what appears to be a plump orange, but it is a white chocolate encapsulating citrus kombucha. Others include steamed black chicken served with riceberry, rice cooked in pork stomach and infused with more than 20 herbs, and a vinegar drink cooked to perfection. Also very popular is Chef Pam’s take on Chinese corn soup, elevated by truffle shavings and a crisp brown butter tuille topping.
Chinese classics like dumplings and roasted barbecue are revamped as a modern-looking lamb tart, accompanied by a house-made white tea broth infused with white mugwort. Desserts like six-month fermented black soy sauce ice cream topped with a translucent blown-sugar filled with fiery mala chocolate, cinnamon, and five spice are not to be overlooked. It is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and spicy.
The wine list menu reflects the chef thought process of choice and selection, showcasing uncommon and distinctive wineries from 15 countries. A variety of kombucha drinks are also available.
Excellent service, delivering expertly the exquisitely sized dishes of the superb quality of food amid stunning presentation.
Tasting Menu: 5 Elements, 5 Senses Menu, 20 Inspiring Dishes at THB 4,500++
Though there’s plenty of interestingly delicious culinary flair on display across her 20-course dinner menu and the desserts can be overwhelming, each dish feels deeply personal to Chef Pam’s heritage and the Chinatown neighborhood. Beyond just the amazing food and its presentation, the history and the architecture of the building and the interior ambience throughout the different floors make the whole dining experience even more special. Set aside about three hours to complete all the delicious 20 courses.
422 Vanich Road, Samphanthawong
Chinatown, Bangkok, 10100