Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Le Café Siam

We were meeting a friend whom we have not seen for a long time. Our friend who is a fan of Le Café Siam wanted to meet there. So, we decided to meet him at the restaurant for dinner.

Le Café Siam is a beautiful restaurant in a re-stored colonial Thai house (I am guessing 1920s). The decor is classic colonial Thai; even the light fixtures & ceiling fans brings you back in time. However; the atmosphere was quite depressing when we were there because we were the only guest in the restaurant.

Chef & owner Paul Quarchioni is no stranger to Thailand. He was formerly the chef at the Normandy Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He decided to go on his own and bought this stunning house and opened the restaurant.

Chef Paul's cooking philosophy is to be simplistic, yet have meticulous care exerted in each dish's preparation and each and every one of them are hand delivered by Mr. Quarchioni to the table.

Chef Paul wants to have a balance between haute cuisine and bistro cooking. Learning from his experience at the Oriental, that today’s savvy dining crowd are slowly straying away from extravagant presentations and heavy saucing, and are simply craving genuine good cooking at a fair price, and that is what he is trying to deliver at Le Café Siam.

The first starter was Duck rillette for two (680 baht).

The next starter was Iberian ham (680 baht).

The next starter was Ceasar salad with anchovy & aged parmesan cheese (320 baht).

The next starter was Warm goat cheese salad (680 baht).

The next main dish was Sea bass, caviar sauce (980 baht).

The next dish was Imported duck leg confit, red wine jus (880 baht).

The next main dish was Crispy suckling pig, grain mustard sauce (480 baht).

The side dishes that accompanied our main dishes...sautéed green beans, carrots and potato gratin.

The dessert was Vanilla ice-cream with seasonal red berries.

Overall; a beautiful and stunning house (I have to say well done in the decor & atmosphere). As mentioned before; the ambiance was sad being the only table the whole evening we were there. The staff was friendly and professional (bored as well). The price of the food is affordable. The outdoor dinning area is lovely with the view of the well groomed tropical garden, but they will have to do something about the mosquito problem or no one will want to sit outside.

As for the food; first of all; I have to say that the crispy suckling pig is out of this world...simply amazing and absolutely delicious. Though I have read many good reviews of Le Café Siam, I was a bit disappointed in the execution in some of the food. No issues in the presentations; but the details in the food itself was somewhat of a let down. For example; the salads we had, either the Ceasar or Warm goat salad, the salad leaves were limp, soft & no crispness to them.

I have no idea how many previous evenings were as quiet as the evening we were there; but I have a feeling since there was no rotation of customers, the salads were not being used fast enough. Therefore; the lack of life to them. Maybe; I should not even care too much in details like this, but the question is...should we as diners accept this?

The main courses...I felt the duck confit was too dry and lacked seasoning or the sea bass was presented very strangely with the salad in the middle. I am not sure what it was; but maybe the chef was also in a sad mood due to the lack of customers.

In the end; Le Café Siam has so much potential due to the beautiful atmosphere. I am sure that chef Paul can & does make wonderful french bistro food. But, I think something has to improve because the location of Le Café Siam, is indeed off the beaten track. It is already difficult to convince people to go to this location due to the horrific traffic in the area and the very scary parking situation in this area (it is dimly light in an isolated street).

I am no restaurant manager, owner or chef. I just eat & drink. So what will Le Café Siam have to do to convince me (and other customers) to return to eat there? Maybe consistency, maybe more love & care to the cooking, maybe more care in the raw materials....I don't have the answers but hopefully, Chef Paul will.

Address: 4 Soi Sriaksorn Cheu Plerng Rd.
Sathon, Bangkok
Tel.: 02-6116499
Open Monday-Saturday 6pm-11pm

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