Bangkok Post reviews
The French concoction
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: September 14, 2012 at 8:35 am
Nicolas Lanaud and Frederic Insisienmay have created luxury in a two-storey villa in Thong Lor
Another culinary oasis just a few minutes’ walk from the BTS station.
Just a few metres down the shaded residential soi adjacent to Thong Lor lies a private alley that leads to a small, lovely restaurant where diners are urged to act like guests at a house.
The luxurious dining concept was created by two in-house gastronomic professionals: Nicolas Lanaud, a wine connoisseur, and Frederic Insisienmay, a professional French chef, to complement the two-storey villa which is tucked amidst a lush green garden.
The interior was vividly decked out in a Rossa corsa red and Persian blue colour scheme, recalling an exotic residence in the 1960s, with its downstairs space divided into a proper dining room, a comfortable living area and a breezy terrace.
The villa's cuisine, under the direction of and prepared by Insisienmay, is French-orientated Mediterranean with a touch of Asian herbs and spices. The regular menu is not big with two dozen options of savoury and sweet dishes on offer. However, discerning gourmands can take greater joy from the seasonal menu which changes monthly.
The Australian rack of lamb with garlic and thyme cream.
First to arrive our table on a Thursday evening was a special platter of three signature appetisers (440 baht): pan-seared foie gras and mango skewer, sauteed French escargot with Thai basil and Scottish salmon tartare and Thai herbs.
Ideal to be savoured by an individual, the bite-size portions of the delicacies were neatly displayed on a rectangular plate. The French snail came nicely tossed with Thai herbs to add in a spicy local touch. While the goose liver offered a tight, crusty skin in which revealed a velvety firm centre (you can cut it into pieces and the liver maintains its stability) that was perfect with the sweet ripened mango. While the orange-pink salmon tartare, leavened with green onion, shallot and ginger, demonstrated a great concoction between the Western fare and Eastern zests.
The next dish, seared US scallops with black truffle sauce (360 baht), proved good to share between two diners. Arriving in a creamy pool of black truffle-infused sauce were two giant scallops, with crusty golden brown face and supple, flavoursome meat that's enhanced by the aromatic mushroom.
Knowing that the chef is French, we could not afford to miss the restaurant's signature onion soup (300 baht). Served piping hot, the clear soup, in which translucent gold strips of onion came bathed in a soothing and tasty broth a result of several hours simmering underneath Gruyere de Comte topping, was a real worthwhile order.
The special platter of three signature appetisers: pan-seared foie gras and mango skewer, sauteed French escargot with Thai basil and Scottish salmon tartare and Thai herbs.
Fish and lamb were our choices of main course and were ordered from the special September menu.
First up, the Chilean sea bass with parmesan and basil sauce (620 baht) presented a delicate fillet of the white meat fish that had been steamed to nicely offer an unaltered quality of the fish silky texture and oily taste complemented by the tasty basilinfused cream sauce. Accompanying the imported seafood were baked tomato, aubergine and sauteed porcini mushroom to celebrate the beginning of the season of Italy's famous fungi.
Equally impressive was the red meat dish: a rack of Australian lamb with garlic and thyme cream (690 baht). Two juicy racks of well-seasoned lamb proved the chef's aptitude. The lamb was served with saute porcini mushrooms, a scoop of mashed potato and grilled capsicum with the herbal cream sauce on the side.
Evenly matched with the gourmet quality of the savoury dishes was the villa's limited yet well-picked selection of desserts. The sweet finale for that evening was magnificently represented by home-made profiteroles with vanilla and black truffle icecream and chocolate fudge (210 baht), mixed fresh fruit soup with a dash of lemongrass and honey syrup (210 baht) and Speculos ice cream with macaroon (210 baht). Made with the Belgian spiced shortbread biscuit, the thick and gooey ice cream was extraordinarily delicious thanks to the unique blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cardamom.
The restaurant also has a decent selection of French cheese and wine on offer. Service was pleasant.