Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: December 21, 2012 at 8:14 am
Cosy bistro inspired by the City of Lights
The overrated imagery we get of French cafes, at least this one has personality.
Not all of us are born into a mountain of cash, sometimes we must settle for what is considered second best. At Chez Pape, as the name suggests, you can take it easy with French food in the warm and cosy setting of grandpa's home.
Chez Pape looks just how you would expect a Gallic bistro to look, complete with the chequered floor, tall, red leather sofas and a mustard-yellow wall decked out with framed black and white snaps of French movies and comedians. The waiters are also dressed in striped nautical shirts and berets, like how Hollywood always seems to depict how French cafes look like (they don't). Outside, it looks pretty dandy too, with the Parisian-style outdoor terrace thing going on. You'd feel like you were on the streets of Paris if it weren't for the location of Soi 11 where this restaurant is situated.
I started my meal with traditional French onion soup (170 baht) and was surprised to find that my baguette did not come floating on top of the soup. The three pieces of baguette topped with the slightest cheese came in a side dish. It was deliciously crunchy, although slightly over-grilled. Nevertheless, I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to soggy bread overloaded with a generous dose of Gruyere, which really makes or breaks this dish. The soup tipped towards being too sweet but if you are an onion person, you might fall in love with it as there were more onions than soup.
Snails in garlic and parsley butter.
One of the appetisers chosen was snails in garlic and parsley butter (190 baht for six). The snails came hot and soft, and although they were salty enough and you could smell the parsley, the butter didn't quite work its magic. The highlight of this dish is the aromatic and flavourful yellow liquid, so perhaps adding more butter could fix this little glitch.
The other appetiser was Port wine marinated duck foie gras terrine with warm toast and mango marmalade (385 baht). Of course at this price, it was duck liver rather than goose. With it being duck, it won't be as unctuous or silky but the two large slices should be more than enough for you to revel in your share. The toasted bread was also deliciously crunchy and might just overshadow the terrine itself.
The most popular pasta dish here is the fettuccine with fresh tomato, tuna and goat's cheese (340 baht). Although the pasta was boiled way beyond al dente, the combination of tuna and goat cheese was an uncommon one that will delight you with its lightly sour taste. It was a nice change from the usual greasy Italian pastas. The goat's cheese wasn't overly strong and it added a rich flavour to every bite.
The recommended main course at Chez Pape was Chateaubriand beef fillet and sauteed vegetables with green pepper sauce (730 baht). The meat was lean and had a tender texture _ not at all a bad deal for this price. I did choose it to be rare, however, and the crispy layer outside told me the fire grilling it was too strong for too long.
Regardless, I quite liked that crunchy layer and the green pepper sauce had mustard undertones that give a smooth feel to the sauce.
Although I was happy with my steak, I was even happier with dessert: Espresso coffee and three dessert bites (180 baht). What you get is three mini versions of creme brulee, Floating Island and dark chocolate truffles. It was a great choice because you get a little bit of everything and although all were scrumptious, the best one was the creme brulee, with its perfectly torched sugar on top.
While the offerings at Chez Pape aren't the finest the world can give, the snug atmosphere is also good for grabbing just drinks, which makes it worth a visit.
And even if you don't feel like food, the desserts will surely put you in a heureux mood.
Fettuccine with fresh tomato, tuna and goat cheese.