Naphalai's Diary: September 2-8
Yay! The reconstruction of the overpass at the Petchburi-Asoke intersection is finally complete and open to traffic. I live in the Thonglor area and to get to work, I have to take either Petchburi or Rama IV, two major Bangkok arteries. So when the Petchburi bridge was closed in March for building work, followed by the one at the RamaIV-Klongtoey junction (which will take much longer, until 2021) you can imagine the disaster. I am sure that is why we have had horrendous traffic jams during the last few months but now with at least Petchburi passable, I am hoping the congestion will ease somewhat. It doesn’t hurt to hope, you know.
Janesuda Presents The Northern Heights
Anyway, it was nice to be transported over the weekend to a serene, green place where I hardly saw any cars. This was the Raya Heritage Hotel in Chiang Mai, right on the Ping River. Opened just a year ago, it is part of the Tamarind Village (Chiang Mai) and Rayavadee (Krabi) group, both also eco-friendly and using materials that help to support the local communities. I was there for the presentation of Janesuda’s The Northern Heights collection. You wouldn’t think the designer, Janesuda Panto, was eight months pregnant (how was she able to fly?) as she untiringly directed the arrangements. Husband Paulie Sirisant (as well as their young son) was also there to act as DJ.
The persistent rain desisted for the half an hour of the fashion show, which was held around the alfresco courtyard. The collection of 30 outfits showcased local Thai fabrics produced by villagers turned into chic fashion creations. Following the show, Janesuda’s guests from Bangkok had a brief rest after which they were treated to dinner at the hotel’s Khu Khao restaurant. The cuisine was a unique experience influenced by the crossroads of Yunan, the Shan states and northern Thailand.
World Gourmet Festival
Last week was Anantara Siam’s annual World Gourmet Festival, now in its 20th year of gathering some of the world’s leading chefs for seven days of demonstrations, workshops, lunches and dinners. I was able to attend only one dinner, prepared by chef Angel Zapata Martin of Barrafina in London. Being Spanish the chef, who is known for his tapas specialties, used Iberian pork as his main ingredient for his creations.
Omnimeat Officially Arrives In Thailand
Speaking of pork, it seems vegans in Bangkok are getting their own version of the minced variety courtesy of Omnimeat. Created by a Canada-based R&D team, the Omnipork is being launched in Thailand by social enterprise Green Monday next week. We got to pre-taste the faux pork produced from shiitake, peas, non-GMO soy and rice made into popular Thai dishes such as krapow, larb, stir-fried and red and green curries. They were prepared by award-winning chef Ton Thitid Tassanakajohn at Baan restaurant. The verdict? Since I am not vegan I prefer to go with the real stuff.
The Athenee Reintroduces Its Restaurants With All New Looks
Also food related was the reopening of The Athenee’s new-look restaurants on the third floor. The four eateries have been totally revamped and in some cases have a totally new identity, with The House of Smooth Curry (Thai), The Silk Road (Chinese), Kintsugi by Jeff Ramsey (modern Japanese) and The Allium (European). Long-time general manager Choo-Leng Goh introduced the new food and beverage offerings to the press and trade members who were then able to wander around to try each one’s specialties.
Launch Of KIS Beauty Store
The Central Group, meanwhile, has entered the multi-brand beauty store business with the opening of KIS Beauty Store on the fifth floor of Central World. Managing director Tapida Norpanlop hosted the opening which saw a huge crowd checking out the 800 beauty brands on sale including some not available at other beauty stores. In-store are also a Live music studio and Gaga bubble milk tea counter.
Sisley's Phyto-Teint Ultra Eclat Foundation
Sisley also held a small event to introduce its new Phyto-Teint Ultra Eclat oil-free foundation. Rujitr Suthanaseriporn, Sisley’s Thailand subsidiary manager, was at Siam Paragon to brief guests on the new product.
Bangkok Independent Watchmaking Exhibition
Over at Gaysorn Village was the launch of the Bangkok Independent Watchmaking Exhibition organised by Singapore-based Art of Time. It was the largest gathering of independent watchmakers in the country together with their timepieces. A total of 18 brands were present at the exhibition which ran until Sunday. Kudoke, Naeschke, Atelier de Monaco, Ballouard, Azimuth, Christophe Claret, Kerbedanz and Perrelet created unique pieces to honour His Majesty the King which were auctioned by Christie’s to raise funds for HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati’s Kamlangjai charity project.
A Rosewood Bangkok Housewarming
Rosewood Bangkok finally held its “housewarming” event to celebrate its opening which was in April this year. Sisters Paetongtarn and Pinthongta Shinawatra, owners of the 159-room luxury hotel on Ploenchit, were joined by Sonia Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotel Group, to welcome the guests. Spotted was the mother of the two sisters, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejr, who has kept a very low profile and rarely appears in public.
Uniqlo X Disney
To celebrate its eighth anniversary in Thailand, Uniqlo unveiled its UTme Mickey Go campaign at Central World of limited-edition T-shirts featuring Mickey Mouse in Thai settings. Uniqlo’s Khemjira Thesprateep and The Walt Disney Company’s Preecha Archamongkol introduced the collection.
Every Child Can Read
There were two other events at Central World, the first being the Every Child Can Read campaign by UNICEF and Tops. This programme aims to raise 17 million baht to increase children’s literacy in the next three years, with donation boxes placed at all Tops supermarkets around the country. Attending the launch event were Anand Panyarachun, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Stephane Coum, CEO of Central Food Retail and Thomas Davin, UNICEF Thai representative.
The Colours Of Africa
The other was The Colours of Africa, an art gallery and exhibition of products from the continent organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies of the African states led by HE Abdelilah el Housni, ambassador of Morocco. In addition to products, there was also food and a fashion show of African costumes.
Aston Martin Opens Showroom At Siam Paragon
There were also two car events, with Aston Martin opening a showroom at Siam Paragon. According to general manager Pornsek Parksuwan, this is the first store in Southeast Asia for the marque and is a stylish location for members of the Aston Martin Owners Club and the public to check out its latest products.
Audi Shows Off Fine Premium Sports Cars
And finally, a lunch hosted by Audi’s CEO Grisnagorn Sawettanan to meet lifestyle editors and introduce its imported premium sports cars. Held at Central Embassy was an exhibition of the new TT Roadster, TTS Coupe and TT Coupe. Lunch was at Harrods following the viewing of the cars.
Previously: Naphalai's Diary: August 26-September 1