Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: November 25, 2011 at 9:25 am
Le Normandie offers a culinary winter wonderland for festive diners
Le Normandie head chef, Carlos Gaudencio.
From now until Dec 15, the long-cherished French restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok offers a very special "Culinary Winter Delights" menu created by the restaurant's head chef, Carlos Gaudencio, to celebrate the upcoming festive season.
Available for both lunch and dinner, the promotional fare features a three-course menu for lunch and four-course menu for dinner, and is priced 999 baht and 1,999 baht respectively.
Guests entering Le Normandie are treated with five-star courtesy that never omits Thai cordiality. The restaurant's front of house is under supervision of French maitre d'hotel, Quentin Arnould. While chef Carlos Gaudencio, a former assistant to world-famous Guy Martin, masters the kitchen and award-winning sommelier, Tiwa Yenwattana, takes care of wine matters.
The special main course for dinner: duck leg confit with Lyonnaise potatoes, and chive-oil drops.
We made a reservation for two for Monday evening and were pleased with the elegantly set table graced by a bird's-eye view of the glittering Chao Phraya River.
Upon being seated, we were presented with a wide variety of complimentary bread. My friend and I took a few minutes to casually enjoy the warm bread and exquisite atmosphere before the amuse bouche arrived. That evening, the chef's choice was a lovely portion of rich, creamy and velvety truffle-infused parmesan mousse, which offered us a tasty hint of how great the night was going to be.
Our "Culinary Winter Delights" dinner officially kicked off with a specially created appetiser.
Beautifully representing the winter harvests is jardiniere d'escargots et grenouilles, oeufs de caille poches, jeunes pousses, or mixed diced vegetables with pan-fried snails and frog's legs, poached quail eggs and garden greens.
Arriving on a large rectangular plate was a sumptuous exhibition of shapes, colours and textures that may be interpreted by an artist as a fruitful wintery garden. A variety of mushrooms and legumes, which were nicely cooked and seasoned, encircled the succulent pan-fried French frog legs and snails while fresh baby vegetables and microgreens gave a crisp zest and parsley garlic sauce added a creamy herbal finish. So, not only was the menu an ingenious amalgam of many different ingredients, it also provided great palatability.
Mixed diced vegetables with pan-fried snails and frog’s legs, poached quail eggs and garden greens.
The magnificent appetiser was followed by a bowl of warm bisque de crevettes, salpicon et legumes confits, or frothy prawn bisque, salpicon and confit vegetables.
Bathing in the subtly flavoured Cognac-leavened bisque were podgy morsels of tiger prawn and petite cubes of potato. The hearty soup, that was as pleasantly chewable as it was soothing, offered a true delight to the last drop.
For main entree, chef Carlos chose cuisse de canard confite, pommes Lyonnaises, huile de ciboulette to represent the traditional French dish of the season. Confit of duck leg was displayed on a large porcelain plate with Lyonnaise potatoes, ratatouille and chive-oil drops.
The imported duck was perfectly cooked until the meat nicely absorbed the flavour and became juicily tender and the skin very soft and mahogany in colour.
An extra portion of the gravy-like sauce, was then poured onto the poultry at the diner's table. It gave an intensely salty and sweet perfection to the delicate duck meat and accompanying vegetables.
The dessert, red berries meringue sphere and raspberry sorbet, was for me like a Christmas snow globe. Hidden inside the tennis ball-sized white sphere ringed by berry sauce and coulis was the refreshing tangy sorbet which intermingled wonderfully with the sweet and brittle meringue shell.
The promotional dinner was wrapped up with a choice of coffee or tea and luxurious assortment of Le Normandie's mignardises.
Lunchtime’s promotional main course: seabass with mushrooms and preserved vegetables.
At lunchtime, the three-course "Culinary Winter Delights" set menu (999 baht) starts with cocktail de gambas, chiffonade de laitue, mousseline au Cognac. Served in a crystal martini glass, the tiger prawn cocktail with lettuce "chiffonade" and fine Cognac mousse was a beautiful concoction of supple prawn meat and creamy fruity orange-coloured mousse.
An excellent menu item the French chef has chosen for main course is bar en croute de champignons, confit de legumes. The cottony white fillets of seabass, which were served stacked together in a medallion shape, amid a creamy garden of mushrooms and preserved vegetables, offered a wholesome pleasure thanks to its refined appearance as well as its marvellous taste.
The meal finishes with Tahitian vanilla millefeuille with raspberry compote and strawberry sorbet. Before your choice of coffee or tea and assortment of mignardises are served.
An equally special set menu, yet with a different culinary approach, is also on offer at the hotel's Lord Jim's restaurant until Dec 15. It's a three-course set dinner priced 1,499 baht and available Wednesday to Sunday.
Tahitian vanilla millefeuille with raspberry compote and strawberry sorbet.
The haute atmosphere overlooking the Chao Phraya River at the five-star French restaurant.