• TAX BAR, BANGKOKA sharp Bangkok bar is combining shrimp paste with drinking vinegars‘Nothing is certain but death and tax’ reads the sign above a dimly lit staircase on the fringe of Bangkok’s Chinatown. It marks the entrance to Tax bar, a concrete-clad, paint-smeared loft, which was opened last November by mixologist Niks Anuman-Rajadhon – the brains behind gin-centric Teens of Thailand and the foraged cocktails at Asia Today, both down the street. While shrubs (or drinking vinegars) are becoming more popular in late-night hangouts across the globe, Tax is moving the syrupy mocktails on with a more irreverent take. House-made from stout, Riesling or brut Champagne, its innovative vinegars are meant as a leftfield joke on the killjoys in charge in a country where draconian laws mean advertising alcohol is an offence punished more severely than driving under the influence. Even craft breweries face so many regulatory obstacles that it’s more cost-effective to shift production across the border to Cambodia and import their beers back in. The tongue-in-cheek angle here is that although Tax’s vinegars lose their alcoholic kick in the brewing process, they are at least derived from booze, and lend an umami punch to gin and rum cocktails alongside unconventional additions such as bell-pepper-infused vermouth and shrimp paste. Free of frills – decorations are dismissed as ‘cocktail ketchup’ – and more savoury than sweet, they offer an antidote to the flower-flecked drinks found around town. This envelope-pushing den adds a whole new flavour to Bangkok’s bar scene. By Chris SchalkxWebsite: facebook.com/taxbarbkkCHRIS SCHALKX
  • Lyst, Copenhagen, Denmark
    LYST, COPENHAGEN, DENMARKA bold Danish newcomer pairs elemental dishes with striking architectureCopenhagen has been the restaurant capital of the world for a number of years, but now there are some exciting things happening outside the city, too. Forty miles south of Aarhus, on the first floor of Fjordenhus – the extraordinary gesamtkunstwerk designed by installation artist Olafur Eliasson together with architect Sebastian Behmann – Lyst is a no-expense-spared, ‘build it and they will come’ kind of a place. Constructed at a rumoured cost of more than £100 million, the three conjoined towers also house Kirk Kapital, an investment fund run by three grandsons of Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen – the restaurant was the passion project of one of the brothers, the late Morten Kirk Johansen. With chef Daniel McBurnie, who spent time in a handful of Copenhagen’s top kitchens, at the helm, it’s intended to rival achievements such as Geranium and Noma. The course that perhaps best epitomises it – the name means both ‘desire’ and ‘to be light’ – is, ironically, its simplest: a glass of Krug Champagne accompanied by a slice of sourdough and a rectangle of butter. The Krug (when I dined, a Grande Cuvée Edition) shows that Nina Højgaard Jensen, silver medallist at the 2019 sommelier world championships, is in charge of the cellar; the salty butter is locally sourced, like pretty much everything else on the menu, from the Lyskvad caviar to the Limfjord oysters and the langoustines from the Kattegat strait; and the bread is made with water from the owner’s natural spring. That it comes midway through the 20-course feast adds an aptly discombobulating touch. Diners move from the circular glass-topped bar – having tasted snacks such as a small salt-baked beetroot shattered with a silver hammer cast from the mould of a forest twig – to the dining room with its sail-like table dividers, via the oyster bar and grill out on the balconies. Eliasson has said they aimed to create a restaurant at ‘the intersection of food, architecture, design and people’. Along with a sizable dose of chutzpah. By Michael BoothPrice: Tasting menu about £280
    Website: restaurantlyst.comNICOLAJ DIDRIKSEN
  • Céu Dining, Leipzig, Germany
    CÉU DINING, LEIPZIG, GERMANYHow the legendary architect’s vision turned a factory canteen into an incredible place to eatA year before his death in 2012 aged 104, architect Oscar Niemeyer received a letter from Ludwig Koehne, a German crane manufacturer, requesting he design ‘an intimate yet spacious restaurant with a special view’ in Leipzig. The letter was part of Koehne’s plan to hold on to his brilliant canteen chef Tibor Herzigkeit who was growing tired of cooking for 100-plus employees daily and wanted to move into the restaurant world (he was already drawing an excited crowd of paying customers to the cafeteria set in the factory’s old boiler building). Surprisingly, perhaps, the Brazilian architect said yes and the space-age sphere is believed to have been one of his final sketches. It took almost nine years to create, but now a curved staircase leads visitors from a lower hemisphere bar to the bright, open room in the upper half of the gravity-defying space that looks out over the city. At Céu (sky in Portuguese), Herzigkeit finally has the opportunity to experiment. Using ingredients from a rooftop garden next door, he shines a light on vegetables in his seasonal 10-course menu that spans the globe – hopping from a local allerlei pot stew to a black-bean feijoada in honour of Niemeyer and an exhilarating dish of pear juice with shaved ice and chilli, which recalls memories of summer popsicles. Not only is this the region’s most exciting new architectural landmark but the most talked-about restaurant to open here in a decade. By Florian Siebeck

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