We fluttered by Freebird during our latest trip to Bangkok and tucked into a veritable feast of creative, modern Aussie cuisine and stellar wines. Here’s our verdict on the latest addition to the BKK foodie scene
Ten years ago I quit my job in London, sold everything I owned, packed a bag, and left. First stop: Bangkok. Back then it was the most exotic place I’d encountered and I immediately fell in love with the buzz of the city, the temples, the tuk-tuks and, of course, the food. On a traveller’s budget I quickly became familiar with my favourite street vendors through eating my own body weight in fiery curries, zingy salads, and Pad Thai. A three-day stopover turned into a three-week Bangkok-a-thon. And upon moving to Singapore, the fact I’d be mere hours from one of my favourite cities was a massive plus point.
Fast forward to now and my last few visits to Thailand have been spent swanning around various islands knocking back cocktails laced with far too much Sangsom, and lounging around luxe pools and pristine beaches. But somehow, I hadn’t quite made it back to my beloved Bangkok. Feeling the tug of the chaotic hubbub, I booked a spontaneous flight because firstly; I’d been hearing far too much about the evolving foodie scene and had developed a serious case of FOMO, and secondly; why the hell not? Besides that, I’d caught wind of a new mod-Aussie cafe-cum-restaurant, Freebird. Having recently caught up with the quartet behind this latest venture, I was looking forward to a gastro feast at the latest hottest table in town.
Nestled on Sukhumvit soi 47, Freebird and it’s wooden-clad exterior is the height of contemporary cool (minus any whiff of hipster pretension). By day it’s a bustling cafe dishing out Sarnies coffee and creative brunch bites (yup, the founders are also the genius’ behind one of our fave cafe spots here in SG). And by night it morphs into a sleek dining room serving up creative plates of sophisticated Aussie fare and fiendishly good cocktails.
The eclectic decor lends itself to the laid-back atmosphere and upon arrival we were greeted by the hum of tables either howling with laughter or cooing over their latest mouthful: a sure-fire sign this night was going to be a great one. Top first impression? Check.
Though you can sit among the action downstairs in the main dining area, by the bar, or al fresco in the garden, for larger groups there are several private dining rooms to choose from. As a party of 10, we had the pleasure of feasting in one of these. It later transpired we were the first guests to dine in the spiffy room we had reserved. With something to celebrate (the room christening), we had an excuse to plough head first into the exceptional wine list.
Featuring classic Aussie bottles alongside wines from crackin’ smaller producers (and a smattering of highlights from around the world), this is a wine list begging to be drunk. Thankfully, the team here know their stuff: we were recommended bottle after bottle of punchy reds and crisp, vibrant whites. Hats off to GM and sommelier Marcus Boyle; having sampled probably far too much of the cellar, it’s safe to say this wine list is exciting, accessible, and above all else – delicious. Check.
The real triumph here though is the food. Great produce, clean flavours, and unexpected decadent treats intersperse the menu (which regularly switches up to showcase the freshest seasonal produce). Though you can dine a la carte, we opted for the ‘Taste of Freebird’ – a degustation menu (1750 THB per person) that takes you on a trip through the essence of the Freebird culinary experience. Made for sharing (a nod to the traditional way of dining Thai style) each plate was deposited in the middle of the table ready for us all to dive in.
To start, we were treated to the likes of Australian oysters with kombu infused vinegar and apple (which tasted – in the immortal words of OutKast – so fresh and so clean), organic sea urchin with flaxseed cracker, parmesan custard and sea grape (a revelation), and shaved poached squid with oyster cream, cucumber juice and seaweed butter (divine). This powerhouse triumvirate was the mere beginning of our epic feast.
Next up came a deliciously naughty choux profiterole filled with duck liver parfait, and a refreshing dish of ricotta cavatelli with roasted and raw beetroot, marjoram and whey. Two perfect examples of how Executive Chef, Dallas Cuddy, draws inspiration from his global travels and deep experience in Michelin-starred kitchens. Main courses comprised tender Kurobuta pork collar with roasted pistachio, green olive, and fennel, and a beautiful fillet of ocean trout accompanied by mussel escabeche, and a side of tomato and broad bean salad with basil, whipped curd, and gazpacho. Simple concepts that allowed the ingredients to speak for themselves and executed perfectly: my kinda food.
Our foodie journey ended on a sweet note thanks to poached pear with milk chocolate, white sesame, and burnt honey ricotta, and a blackberry ice cream, candied buckwheat, vanilla cream and meringue. Both of which we could have devoured ten times over and provided the perfect ending to this extravagant feast.
The acid test for any restaurant is surely whether it’s worth returning to. In the case of Freebird, it’s been added to my Bangkok must-eat list and I certainly won’t be waiting another 10 years until my return. Go there.
Freebird, 28 Sukhimvit Soi 47, Bangkok. Dinner, daily from 5.30pm ‘til late. Coffee shop, weekdays from 8am – 5pm, weekends from 9am – 5pm. Brunch, Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays, 11am – 3pm.