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Opposite Mess Hall

Bangkok, Thailand

Young Australian chef shakes up Bangkok restaurant scene

A pop-up turned permanent with communal tables and an open kitchen, Opposite Mess Hall wouldn't raise many eyebrows in London or New York. But for Bangkok the concept was a breath of fresh air when it launched in 2013, offering a fun alternative to the city's slick fine dining restaurants.

Set up by Australian chef Jess Barnes, whose CV includes spells at Grossi Florentino in Melbourne and Quince in Bangkok, the restaurant is tiny with customers rubbing elbows at simple wooden tables and at the kitchen counter, where chefs serve and chat with their guests. The menu ricochets around the world, mixing influences from Europe, South East Asia, Latin America and the US, depending on what the kitchen can source and what Barnes feels likes cooking.

Korean dumplings could be served with rare onglet, followed by steamed buns with Mexican pulled pork and shrimp mayo or a plate of bone marrow ravioli with wagyu corned beef. There's also warmed brie made by a local chef, an intense Vietnamese chocolate tart and homemade charcuterie. Free range, organic and sustainability are key pillars of Barnes' philosophy, as is a great drinks selection with quirky old and new world wines, craft beers and a killer cocktail list featuring heady blends such as hibiscus punch and pomelo margarita.

Images: Christopher Wise

On the pass

  • Jess Barnes

Style of food

  • Casual, global eclectic

Standout dish

  • Bone marrow ravioli with wagyu corned beef