It's hard to book: started with only 1 table in the beginning and still only serves a maximum of 4 tables per meal (the same as 2011). If you thought Gaggan was tough, this was tougher, and is still as tough on most weekends.
|Our tables, the only 2 tables of the night, specially on Monday night as it would be impossible to secure a weekend.|
It's hard to find: Most of my friends who visited for the first time struggled to locate it. I am not ready to tell you exactly where it is, because turning around in circles and waddling through the same damp dark alley makes the whole experience all the more unforgettable.
|This is the biggest clue I am willing to give you.|
|It's interesting how now we are bringing 2 little kids to this dodgy alley with us.|
It's a pure Omakase experience: You eat what Jok cooks. He buys the stuff that catches his eyes the same day/day before and the most you can do is to state your preference on the cooking style, though I don't even recommend you control what he does. Giving him complete freedom to wave his wand over the food completes the experience.
I didn't plan to revisit Jok's Kitchen. It was out of my mind for years. Thanks to Retty Thailand, who never fails to dig out the most obscure of dining locations for the local foodie community, I had to chance to go back (this time with my family, we have multiplied in numbers) without lifting a finger.
So, the food:
|First starter, fried gingko nuts. Salty, sweet, succulent. Best with beer.|
|One of my favourites, who knew pairing pickled mustard green with fresh chilli padi would be such a delight?|
|The Jok's Kitchen staple, shrimp dumpling with an insane about of fried garlic, still just as good.|
|Deep-fried cod with fish sauce. Evokes childhood memories, a couple of my companions said. Must be good!|
|My favourite dish 7 years ago and still is, large shrimp just scalded with salt, only 1 per shrimp per head.|
|Thai curry crab, only peeled pincers served. You will leave with your hands clean.|
|The only vegetable dish, I didn't eat enough of it to give a verdict.|
|Another staple, claypot yellow noodle with gooseweb, with equal ratio of coriander to noodle!|
|Still the similar fried rice to 7 years ago, but this time served in a peculiar way, with lotus paste salapaos.|
|The ultimate dish of the night, grouper and plum soup. Top quality fish in a fruity savoury broth, 10/10.|
|Deep-fried yam dessert that many regulars love. It was just ok for me.|
If you are wondering whether Jok's Kitchen has remained consistent for 7 years, wonder no more. In my years of eating in Bangkok, Jok's Kitchen is clearly one of the most demanding in terms of ingredient selection and most stringent in terms of rules for their guests. There is just 1 cook, 7 more years of practice will only have strengthened his skills further.
Not every dish was a win for me, but I have grown to appreciate Jok's Kitchen as it is, and my 2nd visit gave me arguably more satisfaction than my first. Don't miss it if you ever get offered the chance to visit!
PS. This meal cost us 1,000THB per head for food and hot tea.