Bo.lan duo's new casual bar-eatery is a winner.
First the fine-diner Bo.lan opened in Bangkok in 2009, based on slow-food principles with an organic shop attached and a monthly farmers' market in the car park; then it moved to bigger premises to meet demand.
Now Bangkok's best-known chef couple, Thai-born Duangporn "Bo" Songvisava and her Australian-born husband, Dylan Jones, have added a little sister to their portfolio, a casual street-food eatery and cocktail bar named Err, meaning "okay" or "yeah" in Thai.
Its location is a big draw for travellers - a former Chinese shophouse on a lane in the tourist district between the Chao Phraya River and Wat Pho temple. Authentic Thai flavours are more the exception than the rule in this neighbourhood, and the couple's trademark commitment to tradition, an "urban rustic Thai" menu and boozy drinks list based on Thai spirits and rice wine have made Err an instant favourite with expats and Thais since opening in the middle of last year.
Err's menu is labelled by cooking method - preserved, pickled, charcoal grill, clay pot, "wok wok" - and dishes are shared family style. Highlights include sai krok Isaan, house-cured pork sausages fragrant with lemongrass served with organic rice, and the charcoal-grilled street-food classics, chicken satay and pork neck. Curries such as geng krau sii krong moo (southern-style pork ribs) and geng kiew wan gai bann (green chicken curry on the bone) demonstrate a penchant for richness and heat. The crowd favourite is nang kai tort, a deep-fried chicken-skin snack nicknamed "chicken movie", shaped like a chook and served with house-made sriracha sauce.
Songvisava and Jones met in 2005 while working at David Thompson's Nahm in London and returned to Bangkok six years ago to open Bo.lan, an early exponent of the city's smart-casual dining trend. Err is a further step in that direction. "It's the sort of place I like to go eat and hang out at on my day off," Jones says. The light-filled shophouse has kitsch-cool décor, street art on the walls, cushion covers stencilled with vintage Thai travel posters, and a soundtrack of Thai covers of Western hits from the 1950s to the '70s.
Err, 394/35 Maharaj Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Phranakorn, Bangkok, Thailand, +66 2 622 2291