Hybrid Restaurant: A Symphony of Contemporary Thai Flavours

July 13, 2023

Chef Yodying Phoomcharoen

On Bangkok’s very chaotic and continuously evolving culinary scene, a gem has emerged with its modern interpretation of Thai cuisine. Meet Chef Yodying Phoomcharoen, also known as Sasha, a talented chef with a ‘hybrid’ background and a passion for blending traditional Thai flavours with influences from her global culinary journey. Her restaurant, Hybrid, located in Bangkok’s Mahatun Plaza, offers a unique dining experience with a harmonious fusion of cultures and ingredients.
A Journey Shaped by Family and Passion: Chef Sasha brings a decade of culinary expertise, along with a deep passion for her heritage, to Hybrid. Originally from Ratchaburi, Thailand, she started her career as a junior chef at the renowned French restaurant L’Appart in Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel. Her journey continued in Rome, where she embraced the art of traditional Italian cooking. Her time in Rome also exposed her to Japanese techniques, working alongside chef Noda Kotoro at Bistro 64 and later Zuma restaurant. In 2017, she joined Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria hotel, as Executive Sous Chef, overseeing their five dining options, including the prestigious three-Michelin-star restaurant, La Pergola.Sasha returned to her homeland and joined The Peninsula Bangkok as Chef de Cuisine. Her mission at Thiptara Thai restaurant was pushing the boundaries of traditional Thai cuisine.

Lobster Hybrid and Bloody Boeuf

The Birth of Hybrid: Sasha’s culinary prowess caught the attention of the owner of Mahatun Plaza, who offered her the opportunity to create her own restaurant. Thus, Hybrid was born – where she could fully express her modern interpretation of Thai cuisine with a twist. The restaurant’s industrial loft-style decor sets the stage for a sophisticated yet relaxed dining experience, accompanied by an impressive selection of wines from around the world at the wine bar. Offering set menus only, Hybrid’s concept revolves around blending traditional Thai flavours with techniques and ingredients from various culinary traditions. Sasha, through meticulously selected ingredients, tells stories through her crafted plates.

Fish in a Can and Garden of Flavours

Signature Dishes and Experiences at Hybrid: Hybrid’s three set menus feature dishes that highlight her culinary vision. I try the Travel Diaries Degustation Menu, which opens with ‘Garden of Flavours’– steamed Blue Crab (from southern Thailand) encased in a Zucchini Flower with a Tom Kha sauce, Coriander Pearls and Crystal Ice Plant. The sweet and succulent blue crab meat takes centre stage, with jalapeño adding a spicy kick to the dish. The zucchini flower brings a subtle, earthy flavour, while the Tom Kha adds a complex burst of zesty, citrusy, and mildly spicy notes. The garnish of coriander pearls adds a burst of aromatic notes and is a nod to the importance of the herb in Thai cuisine. These tiny pearls are a delightful textural contrast and release bursts of flavour with every bite, while the crystal ice plant, with its innate saline taste, brings a dash of texture.‘Bloody Boeuf’ is a captivating reinterpretation of the classic Isan beef larb. The tenderloin tartare is flavoured with Phak Chi Ha or Sawtooth coriander, known for its stronger and more pungent taste reminiscent of both coriander and parsley. The accompanying sauce is tamarind-whisky: the whisky lending smoky undertones to the tamarind’s delightful burst of acidity. The ‘Lobster Hybrid’, with its tantalising blend of tom yum kung and lobster bisque, represents the essence of her innovative approach. Another creation,‘Fish in the Can’, is inspired by her childhood memories of canned fish salad; reimagined with Italian influences, the mackerel dusted with seaweed powder is served atop tomato risotto flavoured with kaffir lime and aged parmesan. The‘Duck Confit’is my personal favourite: the duck slow-cooked (sous-vide with orange peel and star anise) is then crisped and elevated with a bold and aromatic Thai red curry with compressed pineapple, raisins and macadamia.Star anise imparts a subtle liquorice-like aroma and a warm, comforting note complementing the richness of the duck confit. The pineapple brings a tangy sweetness while the kumquat adds a touch of citrusy brightness. This main is served with rice and extra sauce if you so desire. You will ask for more sauce it is so good. The dessert‘My Favourite Colour’is mango sticky rice reimagined into three tiny domes of mango, passion fruit and coconut mousse served on a thin layer of sticky rice, topped with pistachio-thyme crumble and a thyme-flavoured tuile. Alongside are fresh mango cubes, dots of mango gel and a sprinkling of thyme. Undeniably a beautiful dish but a hard one to execute considering the lusciously overpowering presence of the original. It’s a bit like reinventing Tiramisu. Ignore the mango-sticky rice reference and you will enjoy the dessert.

Dessert: My Favourite Colour

Chef Sasha’s three set menus are:Deju Vu at 1,990 baht++*(with wine pairing additional 1,590 baht++);Day Dreaming at 2,990 baht++(with wine pairing additional 1,790 baht++)*; andTravel Diaries Degustation Menu at 4,120 baht++*(with wine pairing additional 2,190 baht ++)*. Chef Sasha expects to be modifying the menus every two months. To make a reservation email or call +66 81 101 2500. (Hybrid Restaurant and Wine Bar: Mahatun Plaza, 876-878 Ploenchit Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330)

Neetinder Dhillon
With over two and half decades in the media, The Front Row founder Neetinder Dhillon has plenty of stories to tell. As the former editor of several lifestyle, travel, inflight and B2B magazines, she has been in the front row keeping a close eye on news, trends and all things luxe. She subscribes to Pico Iyer’s concept of luxury: In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.

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