My gal and I recently had the opportunity to try Karmakamet Conveyance’s (official Facebook page) latest 10-course tasting menu. This restaurant is helmed by Chef Jutamas “Som” Theantae, who is famous for layering flavors like a painting to create unique dishes that are framed in their presentation with stylish tableware.
Once seated my eyes were immediately drawn to the flatware–what would we be eating tonight?
This current 10-course “APPRECIATION” tasting menu runs until February 28, 2021, and is specially priced at 1,990 baht ++ per person. Chef Som’s experiences in India heavily influence this line-up of dishes. She artfully blends the bold spices and flavors of both Indian and Thai cuisines often in unorthodox ways…which just have to be experienced.
Let me show you…
It’s all about the experience…
Have you ever experienced a tasting menu sans menu? This was a first for me. I don’t consider myself a control freak, but I do like to know what I’m eating. Instead of a menu, they offer sheets of art. I found myself shuffling through them to see if maybe they provided clues about the dishes. They don’t.
Karmakamet Conveyance’s lack of menus is intentional. The tasting experience is meant to be fully experienced. By not providing menus your perceptions are not polluted with the knowledge of what you’re eating or forewarned about the tasting line-up. Instead, you’re more mindful as you taste each dish–dissecting the flavors and forming your own impressions from the experience.
Rather than plotting the meal’s course with a menu you are instead journeying along never knowing what lies around the corner. Of course, reading this article now provides you with a “roadmap”. If you don’t want to lose that element of surprise STOP READING NOW.
For this article, you’ll read some general descriptions of the dishes, and a few of my own personal reflections from my experience. I don’t want to dissect them too much because these are dishes that are best experienced. I’m not being lazy, I simply don’t want to lay down any groundwork that could steer your impressions. In a nutshell, with this menu each must take their own journey.
Let it happen.
Coming out of the gates our first dish broke every typical serving norm of what you’d expect from “sushi“. The smoked cod eschewed all of the fresh flavors of the sea normally associated with sushi.
Served nigiri style, this pad of “rice” is also not what you’d expect. Forget wasabi–this heat is all chili.
This first dish set the menu’s tempo. We were to expect the unexpected…
I’ve got to hand it to Karmakamet Conveyance, they really get creative when it comes to serving their dishes (no more hand puns, I promise). The second dish, also bite-sized, was this pineapple biscuit of crackers with a creamy pineapple curry filling.
It reminded me of my young adult days of going to school and having more access to knowledge than calories. If I could go back in time and talk to “broke and learning” me, me who was thankful to discover Ritz crackers and peanut butter, I’d tell him he could elevate his snack game.
Switching gears from the complex and intense flavors of the first two dishes, this pork broth centered my palate. This collagen-rich elixir is pure medicine for the soul. I don’t care who you are or what your background is, sipping this will transport you to a happy memory. For me, it was a winter moment with my grandmother.
There’s more in the little receptacle so make sure you finish it off to the last drop!
This Chinese chive dumpling blends crispy and chewy textures together with creamy and spicy flavors. It’s a tasty dish that inspires debate at the table. When it comes to the ingredients of this dumpling, whatever you think it is, it probably isn’t.
Diving into this salad is like taking a bite of a rainforest. It’s intensely earthy.
Each bite offers varying combinations of sweet, herbal, tender, and crunchy. The labor-intensive chlorophyll dressing is the glue holding this greenery together. It’s like condensing a week’s worth of salads into one little serving.
This fish thali combines several Indian samples–most of them ranging from spicy to very spicy.
The curry/chili heat can be tempered with the egg custard dish with green sauce. Unless you’re a seasoned eater of spicy Indian cuisine this dish is going to make your eyebrows dew up.
After the spicy Indian food, this lassi was well received. The little ice crystals in this sweet yogurt drink helped to put out the fire.
This next dish was a combination of two dishes: a noodle dish and an oyster in a half shell dish. The noodle dish was also an introduction to a new kind of spicy. As soon as the bowl was placed on the table I was immediately reminded of my walks through Bangkok’s Chinatown. The thick curry has a strong herbal perfume that’s almost medicinal. Take a walk around Chinatown and you’ll know what I mean.
Chef Som uses 50 different spices to make the curry. The result is a different level of spicy compared to what you’d get from chilies. It’s intense.
Paired with the noodles is this oyster in a half shell with bean sprouts on ice. It is a welcome chilled respite from the curried heat of the noodle dish.
Dish #9 (Pork or Lamb)
For the ninth dish, you are given a choice between pork or lamb. My gal chose the lamb and I got the pork. We wanted to be able to try both. She won this round.
The lamb chop is exceptional. The dish is served with saffron rice, mint sauce, and a “banana ball”. In comparison to the pork option, this is more substantive and has more flavors.
Putting my lamb envy aside, I did enjoy this Chia Pet looking pork bun. The pulled pork is tender as it should be. While the bao bun is slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
The meal was finished with this dessert dish of cardamom ice cream, creamy custard with beans, topped with toasted sweet bread. It was a sweet finish to a delicious meal.
A chat with the chef/co-founder.
During our visit, we had the chance to chat with Chef Jutamas “Som” Theantae, the co-founder and Executive Chef for Karmakamet Conveyance. As a young woman, Chef Som always had a passion for art and food. In India, she pursued an art degree focusing on lithography while simultaneously advancing her culinary skills from “knowing how to boil” to being able to serve up more advanced Indian dishes for friends.
After completing her schooling she attempted to have her work exhibited in New York and San Francisco but when it wasn’t working out she decided to switch gears and follow her food passion. She started at the lowest rung of the kitchen ladder scrubbing grills and worked her way up the ladder gaining experience in some of San Francisco’s most notable restaurants.
Her “Aha!” moment came during a meal at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry where she was suddenly inspired to utilize her artistic talents to create food that created powerful emotions. Rather than adhering to conventional cooking styles that pair ingredients in particular cooking methods, she would use a palette of flavors to create dishes layer by layer like a painting. Each dish, similar to art, would be unique as it’s appreciated by each individual’s interpretation of it.
Chef Som explains that “Like a painting at a museum, when you really look at it and absorb it, you experience it in your own way, with your own interpretation, this is using your visual senses to stimulate the art, but in this case, we use taste as a form of experiencing art.” Working with her childhood friend, Khun NatthornRakchana (Edge), founder of Karmakamet, her vision and philosophy found a kitchen and home.
In November 2019 Karmakamet Conveyance opened its doors. Understanding Chef Som’s philosophy transforms dining into a mindful experience similar to visiting a museum. The table becomes an exhibition where the dishes become the art. You’ll also notice that similar to a museum, diners put their phones away and actually talk to each other about their impressions.
If you’re looking for a menu to experience, Chef Som’s creativity will make impress you!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Karmakamet Conveyance is located a 5-minute walk from the Thonglor BTS station (exit 1) on Sukhumvit Soi 49. The dining area is located on the second floor accessible by the stairs on the left.
The quirky architecture blends mirrors and walls to create an open dining space that somehow also feels private. As soon as you walk in, you’ll understand completely what I’m saying. It, too, is a part of the experience.
Their first 10-course tasting menu was influenced by French cuisine. This current tasting menu which runs until the end of February is influenced by Indian cuisine. The next tasting menu which begins in March will be influenced by Chinese cuisine. I recommend following their Facebook page to keep up to date on what Chef Som is dishing out at Karmakamet Conveyance!
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Karmakamet Conveyance I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie gems). However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!