Only four more days left to try this one-of-a-kind dining experience!
By Shaan Bajaj
Every year, Thailand observes a nine-day jae (vegetarian) diet as part of a religious tradition followed by people of Chinese descent. As someone who is a lifelong vegetarian, this time of the year is a food haven to me. Coincidently, this jae festival also falls at the same time as Navratri, where Indians around the world follow a vegetarian diet. Therefore, the options available have truly been endless, from food courts to dedicated jae menus. With such a huge variety, it can be a little overwhelming to choose what’s worth dishing out the cash for. After being invited to IGNIV Bangkok for a vegetarian fine-dining menu, I can confidently say that their four-course sharing experience is not one to miss this season.
IGNIV Bangkok opened its doors in 2020 and received its first Michelin Star in 2022. It is under the restaurant family of Chef Andeas Caminada, a three-Michelin-starred chef and receiver of a Michelin Mentor award, who also conceptualised Oz by Andreas Caminada. Switzerland-based Oz is a ten-seater vegetarian fine-dining restaurant, focused on using ingredients harvested on the same day. The plant-based tasting menu at IGNIV offers a rare opportunity to try vegetarian dishes created by IGNIV’s head chef David Hartwig and Oz’s head chef Timo Fritsche, both of them renowned Michelin-starred chefs in their own right.
Hidden behind curtains, the entrance of the restaurant welcomes you into a lounge. An arm chair and table with a stack of coffee table books are the first thing I noticed, along with the red neon sign of IGNIV’s logo. As I walked in, a sleek counter with a number of stools had our name written all over it. On the opposite side of the bar sat a table with a variety of candies, chocolates, jellies and more, with a chance to pick whatever our heart may desire after our meal. After crossing another set of curtains into the main dining area, I was greeted with floor to ceiling windows with a variety of seating options to choose from. The hall is bathed in green, from the leaves outside to the chairs inside, arranged in a way to re-enforce IGNIV’s focus on creating conversation and shared experiences. The space is chic and playful, reminding me to expect the unexpected.
Food and Drinks
Their vegetarian four course menu (THB 4000++ per person) starts with two snacks from Oz, followed by two snacks from IGNIV. We started with their refreshing Cucumber, topped with calamansi and nori, a light yet flavourful dish. Up next was one of my personal favourites, Taco with a cabbage filling, a crunchy, bite-sized taco that had a rather strong spicy kick. After, we were served the Sunchoke, onion macaron along with a Mushroom cornetto. The former had a strong tangy taste while the later was creamy on the inside of the crisp cornetto cone; both melt-in-your-mouth and delicious. The presentation of the latter dish was especially delightful, as I felt like I was eating a mini ice cream.
Moving on, Chef Timo bought out an amuse bouche, a vibrant green plate of Thai basil, ceviche and jalapeno. Not only was the dish incredibly herbaceous but was also aesthetically pleasing to look at. After having my fair share of snacks, it was time for starters. Chef David bought our three colourful sharing plates. First a plate of Cucumber, tomato and dill, which was rather replenishing. The second plate showcased Snow-peas, green-peas and mint, which was surprisingly sharp at first taste. My favourite of the the three plates, was their Carrot, crème fraîche and red beet. It accurately showcased the different cooking techniques and textures of a carrot in an innovative way.
For our mid-course, we tried the Egg, ponzu and morning glory first, an elevated take on the humble egg, which had incredibly strong umami flavours with the addition of ponzu and miso. Next, we tried the Tomato ice cream with a tomato salad. The ice cream itself was savoury and paired well with the plate of fresh tomatoes.
Moving on to the main course, we sampled four different dishes. As soon as Chef Timo bought out the moreish plate of Broccoli, gremolata and tomato, the aroma of the dish fills up your surroundings. Next we took a bite of tender Eggplant, dressed with peppercorns and mole, an earthy and well-seasoned dish. We then rounded the mains off with the Cabbage kimchi, which was a balanced dish of spicy and sour flavours; and the final main course, the Butternut squash, radicchio and hollandaise, which tasted like a hug on a plate.
Although I was stuffed by then, I could not say no to an array of desserts. Starting with a rather dramatic frozen Passionfruit and rice mochi, plated on a fragrant stone mortar of genmaicha and kaffir. The aromas filled my senses as I took a bite of their mochi, which was incredibly satisfying. A beautiful plate of Melon, mint and pomelo salad was also noteworthy, along with their decadent Coconut sorbet.
To drink, we had four juice pairings, one with each course. Each flavour was incredibly innovative and enhanced the dining experience of each dish. We started with a spicy basil – jalapeno juice before moving on to a revitalising Beetroot – yuzu during our mid-course. To pair with our mains, we were served a glass of Cold brew black snake tea with juniper, a more mellow flavour to highlight our main courses. Last but not least, we enjoyed a cooling mixture of Coconut – genmaicha tea to sip along with desserts.
The warm Coconut soufflé was reminiscent of the popular Thai dessert, khanom krok. The custard-like flavour was indulgent and heartwarming all at once. A lovely end to our meal.
Ground floor of The St. Regis Bangkok
Open on Thursdays to Mondays; from 12pm – 3pm, and from 5pm – 11pm
Tel: 02 207 7822