2007 New York Rising Star Chef Tim Butler worked at Provinence in Los Angeles and Restaurant Daniel in NYC before becoming executive chef of Bangkok's Eat Me in 2010. It was recently named number 23 on the 2016 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list. See eatmerestaurant.com; theworlds50best.com.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TABLE IN BANGKOK?
My new favourite spot in town is Chef Gaggan Anand and his wife's new restaurant, Meatlicious. The latter is a very low-key spot serving super simple grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables. They also have a huge beer selection, and a killer chefs' counter. The guys there are super awesome really talented cooks, can't say enough about them and that place. See www.facebook.com/meatlicious/
YOUR BIGGEST LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY OF THE PAST YEAR?
Southern Thai seafood, there are a few new – at least to me – spots in town that I've started visiting more frequently, namely Beer Hima, for their insanely spicy live seafood, and Phuket Lobster Sashimi. The lobster soup they make is killer. The restaurant is a bit of a trek from downtown but well worth it. See beerhima.com
WHAT IS BANGKOK'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?
For me, when I have chef friends in town, it's Or Tor Kor market. It's great to walk around and check out what's on offer for the day, then hit the cooked foods section for curries, grilled meats, noodles and more. You can finish that off with a quick walk across the parking lot to Somtum Ortorkor. The grilled chicken and duck laab there are amazing. (Kamphaeng Phet Road, opposite Chatuchak Weekend Market.)
PLACE TO GO ON A DAY OFF?
On days off I tend to keep it low key, head off to Or Tor Kor market and grab some fish or seafood – whatever looks good – then head home, cook and hang out by the pool with my wife and two little boys. Maybe a few friends as well, if we're feeling social.
FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN BANGKOK?
It's kind of funny to say this out loud, but it's pizza. Don't get me wrong; I love Thai food but Paolo Vitaletti's pizza place Peppina is a no-brainer for when I just want to hang out and get fat. See peppinabkk.com
PLACE TO GO FOR A BIG NIGHT OUT?
I'd start with a few late afternoon drinks at the Siam Hotel on the river, tuck into an early Thai dinner at either Nahm or Bo.Lan, then head to the Bamboo Bar at The Oriental for some cocktails, a Cuban, and some jazz. Then a night cap (or a few) on the roof top at Smalls. Toss an hour-long massage somewhere in the mix and you're pretty much golden. See thesiamhotel.com; comohotels.com; bolan.co.th; mandarinoriental.com; www.facebook.com/smallsbkk
BEST TIME TO VISIT, AND WHY, FOODWISE, IN BANGKOK?
Late to mid-January is a great time to come. Not that the food will change much, but the crowds have thinned a bit and if you're really lucky the weather might cool down. It was in the teens for a few days this year and eating outdoors was a pleasure.
WHAT SHOULD A VISITOR AVOID, FOODWISE, IN BANGKOK?
You're almost guaranteed a bad meal in Bangkok if you see a menu spilt with separate sections for "Western" food and Thai food, and god forbid a Japanese and Indian section to boot. Such eateries have no real focus and they're just trying to do a bit of this and that … it's almost a sure thing that none of them will be done well. Madness, I tell you.