Zeist used to be our neighborhood restaurant. One of those places that is near your home; you might forget about it sometimes but when it comes to thinking where can be have good food at reasonable prices, good atmosphere & decor, reliable & consistent and near the house. Zeist was always the place we thought about. But then...it moved. We were sad.
Owner & Chef Art was a national champion swimmer then decided to learn to cook in a small city in Holland called Zeist. Now you where the name of his restaurant is. Chef Art is a young, charming and very nice person. He always treats you as a special customer. He always comes out of the kitchen to great guest and ask them how their meal is. He is also very open minded; if there is something wrong with the food; he will not even discuss it, he will do something about it.
The new location of Zeist is not the best location for us because of the traffic in Bangkok; Zeist is now on Sukhumvit soi 19; this is an area we have to plan to go. Even planning to go there from our place can be tough due to the traffic.
The new location of Zeist is also not the easiest to find. It is on the second floor of an undescriptive building. The first time we went to look for the place, we could not find it and gave up. The second time we went to look for it; we passed it but eventually found it. The good thing about the new location is that there is lots of parking.
The new Zeist is much much larger than the old one. The atmosphere and decor is about the same. The only difference now is that Zeist has an outdoor loungy area for dinning, drinking or hanging around with some tapas and a glass of wine. There is also an outdoor pizza oven.
The amuse bouche was small slice of fish. I have to admit; I was not paying attention to what the waiter said when they served this dish (sorry chef Art). My friends and I were deep in conversation.
The first starter was toasted baguette with mushrooms. The baguette was of good quality (it is very difficult to get good bread in Bangkok) and nicely toasted. The mushrooms were fresh, plump, juicy and very tasty. Good combination of crispy from the bread and softness from the mushrooms.
The second starter was clams. A simple dish but the clams tasted very nice due to the wine and vinaigrette sauce.
The third starter was beef carpaccio with fois gras shaving. The fresh & very thinly sliced beef was of good quality and had a very nice consistency & taste. Extra flavour was added with the fois gras shaving.
The fourth starter was scallop carpaccio. Unbelievably fresh & thinly sliced scallops. The taste was very nice because chef Art did not try to drown the scallops in sauce. Simple olive oil and some herbs made this dish a hit with everyone.
The white wine to go with our starters was a 2007 Robert Weil Reisling. This is one of my favourite reislings. The wine was nicely balanced between the dry, acidity and juicy peach and lemon fruit. The wine had both intensity and elegance. Can I say this wine was yummy?
The first main dish was grilled fish. I actually cannot remember the type of fish this was. However; it was grilled very nicely, the fish had good texture and it was moist & juicy.
The second main dish was beef cheeks. This is one of my favourite dishes at Zeist. I cannot mention how many times I have had this dish and every time it is so so good. The beef cheeks were so tender, juicy and tasted so good with he red wine sauce. Vegetables accompanied the beef cheeks.
The third main dish was roasted duck. The duck chunks were huge. The duck was roasted perfectly, the duck was still light pink inside. The duck cut like butter and it was tender and juicy. The red sauce added intense flavour to the duck.
The red wine to accompany our main dishes was a 2005 Intriga. The cabernet sauvignon wine was medium bodied with a fine structure, black and red fruit flavors, chili and herbs that added complexity.
We shared the dessert which was hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice-cream. Barely any of my friends eat dessert because either they hate it or they are on a diet. However; when this chocolate dish arrived at the table; everyone had dug their spoons into the oozing chocolate cake. Once you break the top; hot and soft chocolate erupts out like lava. The chocolate is rich, thick and intense. The ice-cream is a nice contrast to the hot cake. Nice ending to a nice meal.
Overall; Zeist is still a very nice place to go for basic & authentic French food. It is not pretentious and the food is hearty and delicious.
The service is inconsistent; it can either be very good or it just can be a disaster. We never know why this is.
The new loungy area is a nice idea as well as the outdoor pizza oven. Of course the smokers will be happy with the outdoor lounge. But with the April heat; it is not my choice to sit outside. I will wait a while.
The one thing I really hate is that there is a TV in the main dinning room with sports on. The dinning room is lowly lit to convey some kind of mood; but the glaring TV ruins any effect chef Art is trying to get through. The TV is useless and a waste of space.
Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit road,