Haoma Plants Seeds Of Change
Opened in late 2017, Haoma is on a mission to be waste-free and carbon neutral. Although not a vegetarian restaurant by any means—duck, lamb, beef and pork all make appearances on the menu—vegetables are very much to the fore in the dishes of owner-chef Deepanker Khosla, or DK, who describes his cuisine as “progressive urban-farm dining.”
At Haoma you are down on the urban farm, surrounded by beds of herbs, flowers and vegetables that DK, a self-taught gardener, takes great pleasure in planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. All of which helps to explain the restaurant’s name: Haoma is a legendary plant venerated in ancient belief systems such as Zoroastrianism, the theology of which includes a commitment to protect nature. This is why the restaurant operates an “anti-pesticide, no antibiotics policy using seasonal, home-grown ingredients supplemented by fresh organic produce sourced from farmers, breeders and fishermen in the vicinity of Bangkok.”
Over a year in the making, the garden at Haoma is home to planters filled with certified organic soil. These produce Swiss mint, German dill, French roselle and Mexican coriander among others—almost 40 edible plants are grown onsite. You can even pick your own greens grown from seeds saved by DK and his fellow chefs. And any leftovers from the dining room and kitchen are dried and compacted as pellets to feed the tilapia and barramundi in Haoma’s fish farm—“the only one in Sukhumvit” laughs DK. It runs using water recycled from the kitchen. The same recycling system is also used to irrigate the urban farm.
The restaurant itself is comfortably appointed with lots of wood panelling and brickwork on display. There are a couple of tables for dining out in the garden but greenery abounds indoors too. Here DK’s innovative culinary approach shines forth in the beautifully presented dishes that make up Haoma’s compact menu. Stick to the Roots is a vibrant serving of salt-baked baby beetroot, turnip confit, sous vide heirloom carrots, charred jicama and pickled lotus roots. It has a wonderfully crunchy texture and minimal dressing to allow the flavours of the vegetables to dominate. Duck liver Rediscovered is a pate with reconstituted bacon, brown bread sorbet and a garnish of roselle and orange peal dust. It comes with biscuits incorporating charcoal dust made from an old tree felled during the clearing of the restaurant’s garden.
(More Tatler reviews: La Scala Makes An Explosive Return)
Truly outstanding is a dish of homemade ravioli filled with truffle emulsion. Called Secret of the Woods, it is served with ricotta, morels, wild mushrooms and burnt garlic. The pasta parcels of liquid fungi heaven explode with flavour and leave you craving more. Also divine is Lamb in the Hills, a dish of perfectly cooked New Zealand lamb chops served with nougatine, fermented Himalayan garlic, snow peas, feta and mint dust. To round off an eye-opening meal, recommended is the dessert of creamy panna cotta with blackstone flower and burnt butter. The plate is garnished with swirls of balsamic reduction to add a contrasting tartness.
In terms of drinks, the restaurant offers a solid wine list featuring a mix of Old and New World labels, wines that are either organic, biodynamic or sustainably produced. From the bar there is also a comprehensive selection of whiskeys and other spirits, which can be enjoyed straight up or in a pre-dinner cocktail—as with the food menu, Haoma has a small but innovative selection, each cocktail named for the predominant fruit, vegetable or herb that flavours it. Particularly good is Ginger, an intriguing blend of whiskey, ginger and honey garnished, naturally, with marigold flowers grown in the restaurant’s garden. Also vibrant and tasty is Strawberry, a mix of vodka, strawberry juice, lemon and salak extract that comes with a garnish of leather—actually made from reconstituted leftover strawberries.
231/3 Sukhumvit Soi 31
Open Tues-Sun, 6-11pm
(Hot in Dining: #TatlerTalk: Why Is Charoenkrung 28 So Special?)