Bangkok Post reviews
A delectable obstacle course
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: July 6, 2012 at 5:41 am
Fireplace Grill has been a trusty destination for 45 years, and with a menu like this it is easy to see why
After a grand renovation in 2010, the time-honoured steakhouse now presents a contemporary, elegant dining room with sophisticated show kitchen.
Despite Bangkok's gastronomy-orientated image, it is never easy to find in this ever-evolving and trend-catching city a fine dining establishment that's been operating for more than four decades.
When it comes to hotel restaurants (we have more than 30 five-star hotels at the moment) you can even count on one hand those that have already celebrated their ruby anniversary.
Yet, humbly in service at the same spot for the past 45 years, though under a few different umbrellas of hotel brand, is one of the country's most respected steakhouses, Fireplace Grill.
A household name among families of discerning gastronomes, Fireplace Grill has for years been a trustworthy destination for those seeking premium charcoal-grilled steak and classic French dishes.
Now under the culinary administration of the hotel's executive chef Leslie Stronach, the menu of the 72-seater blends time-honoured favourites (eg chateaubriand, pan-seared foie gras and crepes Suzette) with modern gourmet.
Pan-seared snowfish with prawn blanquette, steamed broccoli and saffron wafer.
If you're new to the place, it's ideal to go by the restaurant's recommendation.
Or you might want to settle on Taste of Fireplace (4,500 baht), an eight-course degustation menu which offer diners a selection of eight best-selling dishes at one go.
Of the tasting menu, first to be served as an amuse-bouche was demitasse corn and crab bisque with crab empanada (600 baht, if ordered as an a la cart).
The sweet corn-infused crab bisque was served cappuccino style in a small cup. Aromatically soothing with a subtle taste, the piping hot soup came with a Latin American-style bite-size puff pastry stuffed with seasoned crab meat and with sweet and sour cream sauce on the side.
The appetiser, tartar of salmon with soft shell crab, apple-celery remoulade and lemon dust (720 baht as an a la carte dish), assured that the evening was going to be filled with culinary bliss.
An exhibition of two seafood choices, one chilled one warm, the dish proved a smart amalgam of textures and temperature. The fresh and delicate flavours of the salmon and soft-shell crab were complemented perfectly by a refreshing touch of the gourmet-styled green apple and celery-infused remoulade sauce, while the aromatic lemon powder added in an impressive fruity zest.
The white asparagus fondant with mushroom blanquette and cheese crunchie (750 baht a la carte), which arrived next, was as wonderful. The large plate featured two chubby stems of the Peruvian white asparagus, poached in butter and truffle oil to yield a soft, slightly sweet and fragrant chew, laced with light cream made with morel and button mushrooms and a brush of veal glace. It's absolutely one of the most memorable asparagus dishes I've ever had.
Duck ravioli with pan-seared foie gras, lentil ragu and port glace.
The fourth course, pan-roasted scallop with wagyu beef rillette parcels, black pudding, pea emulsion and thyme foam (850 baht a la carte), continued to exhibit the chef's culinary brilliance.
Served on a splash of frothy green pea emulsion, the succulent, supple and naturally sweet scallop intermingled remarkably with a thin dumpling filled with wagyu beef paste and pan-fried blood jelly pudding. Lending a mouth-watering redolence as well as a sweet, brittle dash was crispy shallots, while the thyme-scented espuma gave a herbal finish to the well-rounded creation.
Another dish you don't want to miss if you decide to go by the a la carte menu is duck ravioli with pan-seared foie gras, lentil ragu and port glace (1,200 baht a la carte).
The flying saucer-shaped pasta, stuffed with a tasty mixture of duck meat and foie gras, came stacked over a nice piece of pan-seared duck liver on a bed of properly cooked lentil, and flavourfully enhanced by the intense port glace.
Representing the seafood course was pan-seared snowfish with prawn blanquette (1,390 baht a la carte). A thick, decent-size fillet with silky white meat lightly browned on the outside was given a scrumptious enrichment by supple prawn, caviar, creamy butter sauce, steamed broccoli and homemade saffron wafer.
The main meat dish was presented in two styles with USDA prime-grade beef. Beef connoisseurs will find supreme satisfaction from the duet of wagyu rib eye steak and slow-braised wagyu beef rib (2,700 baht and 1,000 baht, respectively, a la carte), which is served with truffle-seasoned mashed potato, carrot fondant and onion rings.
Three diners at our table swore by the grilled rib eye, offered in three generous pieces and yielding a perfect taste and texture, while the fourth fell deeply in love with the large cube of melt-in-the-mouth and flavourful stewed ribs.
It's a brilliant degustation evening since none of the savoury courses we tried were less than excellent.
And we even screamed "glorious" when it came to dessert.
Mango cremeaux (270 baht) is the restaurant's number one selling sweet and there's no wonder why the guests love it so much.
The big-portioned dessert, served in a glass bowl, played on different tones of yellow, diversity of tastes and a jumble of characteristics. From a full scoop of the icy dessert, an ideal way to eat it, you'll indulge in crusty lime and mint granita, delicate sweet mango cream and salsa, extremely tangy passionfruit sorbet, biscuity chocolate pearls and burst-on-the-tongue carbonated candy.
The restaurant has an outstanding collection of old and new world wines as well as champagnes to cater to its gastronomic cognoscente guests. Eight options of red and white wine by the glass are also available at 430 baht and above.