From high quality eating to consolation meals: How this couple are going again to fundamentals at Samlor in Bangkok | Eat/Drink

From fine dining to comfort food: How this couple are going back to basics at Samlor in Bangkok | Eat/Drink

Samlor is a new back-to-basics restaurant by former 80/20 chefs Napol “Joe” Jantraget and Saki Hoshino. – Pictures by CK Lim
Samlor is a brand new back-to-basics restaurant by former 80/20 cooks Napol “Joe” Jantraget and Saki Hoshino. – Photos by CK Lim

BANGKOK, April 28 — It’s straightforward to take issues without any consideration. The place eating out is anxious, this might imply assuming that your loved one eating places and cafés can be round endlessly, and the high quality individuals who run them.

If there’s one factor the pandemic has taught us, it’s by no means to take issues without any consideration and by no means to imagine something.

For example, once I returned to Bangkok lately, as journey restrictions eased, I found that my favourite spot for pad krapao was no extra and that my go-to bakery-café for buttery croissants and black coffee had shuttered.

Some meals are however reminiscences now.

A staff prepares pineapple and 'krachai' (fingerroot) juice.
A employees prepares pineapple and ‘krachai’ (fingerroot) juice.

And typically we’ve got the nice fortune of creating new reminiscences.

Two of my favorite cooks in Bangkok are Napol “Joe” Jantraget and Saki Hoshino. The married couple had first met in Canada of their 20s earlier than returning to Thailand and opening 80/20, an innovative restaurant that sourced from neighbourhood markets and regional farms.

Joe and Saki have since left 80/20 however fortunately for us followers and regulars, they’ve opened a brand new back-to-basics restaurant referred to as Samlor, nonetheless of their previous neighbourhood of Charoen Krung Street in Bangrak.

You’d be onerous pressed to overlook the nook lot eatery; its signage blares in white neon, with the “O” etched out in purple and taking the type of three wheels. That’s the place the title comes from: samlor is Thai for the normal pedal-powered rickshaw (sam means “three” and lor means “wheel”).

Thai Wagyu Beef Burger (left). Samlor’s take on the French-Canadian dish of 'poutine' (right).
Thai Wagyu Beef Burger (left). Samlor’s tackle the French-Canadian dish of ‘poutine’ (proper).

So there’s loads of the old-fashioned right here: count on consolation classics that take their inspiration from Thai avenue meals, Japanese residence cooking and North American diner fare.

We chat slightly with Joe as certainly one of his employees prepares pineapple and krachai (fingerroot) juice; we focus on the vagaries and complexities of journey these days. Saki drops by slightly later, with lovely child Mia. Life is all about change.

Quickly our Thai Wagyu Beef Burger arrives. The juicy patty and brioche bun are joined by a assassin’s row of remarkable substances: caramelised onions, demi-glace, white cheddar, bone marrow aïoli, chilli tomato paste, dill pickle and fried shallots. (How did they match all of that into one burger?)

As a nod to their time in Canada, Samlor’s tackle the French-Canadian dish of poutine is extra simple than you’d count on: fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. Different sides embrace crispy spring onions and rooster liver pâté.

Classics such as 'khao mun gai' (Thai chicken rice) with white radish soup offer a touch of familiarity.
Classics resembling ‘khao mun gai’ (Thai rooster rice) with white radish soup supply a contact of familiarity.

Joe’s childhood in southern Thailand involves the fore with dishes resembling khao mun gai (Thai rooster rice). The accompanying bowl of white radish soup affords a contact of familiarity; while you develop up in a Cantonese household, as I did, each meal comes with some type of clear soup.

Fermented Thai flavours from nam pla (fish sauce) and nam goong (fermented shrimp paste) utilized in curry pastes are reassuring; this isn’t fusion meals, or at the least, not that fusion. Fried Wings with Fish Sauce Glaze? Inexperienced Curry Hen Fried Rice? It’s all good consuming.

(The rooster wings are additionally accessible as Fried Wings with Mala Powder, for a numbing, Sichuan peppercorn buzz, and Smoked Wings with Jinda Chili Butter Sauce, the place the prik sod provides a nice warmth. Contemplate a trio of each flavour of wings, maybe?)

No meal at Samlor is full with out one thing candy to complete. That is the place pastry chef Saki has expanded her repertoire of refined desserts with Yora, her personal model of artisanal ice cream with comforting flavours resembling Milk & Corn Flakes and the aromatic Coconut & Palm Sugar.

Miso & Kinako Salted Peanuts ice cream 'sando.'
Miso & Kinako Salted Peanuts ice cream ‘sando.’

Utilizing solely all-natural substances, Saki wears her Japanese and Thai influences on her sleeve. Her White Malt & Toob-Tab ice cream is predicated on toob tub, the favored Thai peanut sweet, while Matcha Cookie Dough marries the extreme Japanese inexperienced tea flavour with an American traditional.

There are different adventurous flavours too: Chilli Rocky Street is nice and spicy; the Fish Sauce Caramel is an unlikely flavour pairing carried over from their 80/20 days, the place we as soon as loved it within the type of a palate cleaning sweet; and Thai workplace employees may recognise their lunch time pick-me-up in Saki’s Bitter Mango & Nam Pla Waan ice cream, that mirrors the flavours of the uncooked fruit and piquant, pungent dip.

An off menu dessert of 'churros' topped with ice cream.
An off menu dessert of ‘churros’ topped with ice cream.

Yora additionally has seasonal sorbets, relying on what fruits are extensively accessible available in the market. As Saki, who hails from Nagoya in Japan, places it, “When the fruits are over ripe, they’re very low-cost… the perfect to make jam, confiture and sorbet.”

For a distinct option to current her artistic ice cream flavours, Saki additionally makes Japanese type ice cream sando or ice cream sandwiches. Right here, her personal heritage shines by with flavours resembling Miso & Kinako Salted Peanuts in addition to Matcha Pink Bean.

Different pleasant ice cream sando confections embrace Berry Cheesecake, vibrant like a rainbow, with a sprinkling of fairy mud; campfire staple Choc-Mallow; the wealthy and fragrant Caramel Banana.

Some ice cream sando include choux pastry “buns” such because the Thai Tea Boba and the Espresso Dulce de Leche & Cacao Nibs. The probabilities, Saki believes, are countless as she additionally creates occasional off menu desserts resembling a moderately refined churros topped with ice cream by Yora.

And that’s simply how we’d sum up a meal at Samlor: consolation meals, nice substances, fuss free but refined all the identical. Clearly you may take a chef out of a high quality eating restaurant, however you may’t take the high quality eating out of the chef.

At Yora, desserts can go from a basic cup of ice cream (left) to something more refined (right).
At Yora, desserts can go from a fundamental cup of ice cream (left) to one thing extra refined (proper).

At Samlor, Joe and Saki have confirmed that there isn’t a battle or contradiction on this; the juxtaposition of avenue meals and haute delicacies just isn’t a flaw, however a profitable function.


1076 Charoen Krung Street, Bang Rak, Bangkok

Opens each day (besides Tue closed) 11am-2pm & 5-9pm




1076 Charoen Krung Street, Bang Rak, Bangkok

Opens each day (besides Tue closed) 11am-7pm



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