Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dean & Deluca

Everyone was talking about the new Dean & Deluca. D&D has brought New York Chic to Bangkok. D&D is famous for their upscale cafés and gourmet food shops. I have never been to the one in New York and I talked to a girl in my office who lived in New York for 10 years and she said that there was nothing special about Dean & Deluca and did not know what all the hype was all about.

But, there are really big fans of D&D. Some of them are in my office; even www.cnngo.com gave D&D 4.5 stars out of 5. This is the place on everyone's mouths. So; I needed to try this place out and see if all the hype was worth it.

The Dean & Deluca is situated in the soon to be built MahaNakhon Project. When we entered D&D; the place was packed with the weekend crowd. The temporary space &architecture of D&D is almost like a modern industrial warehouse. The volume & space of the place is stunning. Due to the enormous windows; the place has this seeming flow of light & space. The main textures are concrete, steel & glass. Nothing like this exist in Bangkok; so I understand why people like it.

There is an outdoor and indoor dinning area.

The concept is a modern deli; you order your salad, sandwich, dessert, coffee, etc. at the counter. You get a number and either your number is called and you pick up your order or someone from the staff delivers your order at the table. I am not sure why there are two systems of service here; but you really need to pay attention because they might be calling your number.

Some of the cupcakes placed strategically at the counter to tempt people.

The first sandwich was the Avocado & Goat Cheese with whole grain bread sandwich. The sandwich was very tasty. The avocado & goat cheese were fresh and had a nice taste. The bread was of good quality as well. The potato chips as a side to accompany the sandwich was a waste of space.

The second sandwich was the Chicken Humus on panini bread. The chicken & humus were dried out. The panini bread was also on the dry side; so put all those dried out ingredients together and what we got was a very dried out sandwich. Oh; did I mention that this sandwich was dried out? I think this sandwich was sitting in the fridge for way tooooo long. On top of that; there was no taste of the chicken or the humus; so not only were the key ingredients dried out, there was absolutely no taste to this sandwich. Very disappointing.

The dessert counter where you can see and choose the dessert you want. When I arrived at the dessert counter; I thought to myself..."why do all these desserts look familiar, especially since I have never been to a D&D?" Anyway; I chose one dessert.

We chose a Mille-feuille to share. The mill-feulle was simply presented. The crust was crispy on top and moist in between. The cream filling was creamy, rich, tasty and not too sweet (which is a good thing).

In the corner of D&D is where there shop is located. Apparently; D&D is famous for selling their own products such as spices, coffee, tea, candy, olive oil, etc. The packaging of D&D products were very nice; simple and elegant. But, I have to say the products are a bit on the expensive side. Since; I do not know much about D&D, I am not sure of the quality of the products D&D source their products from. So, in the end I cannot say if the products are worth the price.

The view of the deli and shop all together. D&D is in this temporary structure until the MahaNakhon will be built. Then D&D will move into their 'true' space. We also heard that D&D will be opening a supermarket as well in the building. So, the fans of D&D will be very happy when all this happens.

Overall; I think D&D is a great concept that has helped the area of Sathorn/ Narathiwas Roads become hip & happening. The area did not really have a 'cool' place for people to hang out. It has given the location a buzz. There is always a vibe when you enter the place because it is always full of people.

But when it comes down to the food; I will have to give D&D a 'B -' in quality. When it comes to value; I will have to give D&D a 'C'. Two sandwiches, one cake, two coffees and two ice teas came to 1,000 baht. That is not cheap! Especially for lunch...I do not see a lot of people doing D&D on a daily basis for lunch.

On top of this; I find out that the 'pastries' that D&D are selling are not even their own. They buy them from Lenôtre; no wonder when I was picking my dessert, the pastries looked so familiar since I often bought my pastries from Lenôtre. I do not care if D&D sells Lenôtre pastries (on the contrary since I like Lenôtre), but they should be honest about it.

Will I go back to D&D? For sure; the place is not bad at all, but it is not my favourite place in town and it for sure is not top of mind.

MahaNakhon Project
92 Narathiwas Road
Chong Nonsi BTS Station
Tel. +662 234 1434

Friday, November 19, 2010

Matthieu de Lauzun & Alain Chabanon Journalist wine dinner at Pullman Wine Pub

We were invited to join the One Star Michelin chef Matthieu de Lauzun & wine maker Alain Chabanon Journalist wine dinner at the Pullman Wine Pub.

I was quite excited to try what the chef was going to make since the Pullman Wine Pub was more easy going compared to the fine dining that the chef is used to doing in France. I was impressed that around 30 journalist showed up for the wine dinner.

The starter was Cold salmon hazelnut crusted, poireau vinaigrette, smooth scrambled eggs. The salmon was cold, fresh, soft, moist and cooked perfectly. The scrambled eggs was between crispy crust. The entire dish was light but heavy in taste and textures. Wonderful dish. The beautifully structured 2008 Rosé Trémier with it's delicate tannins; which is a wine made to accompany food, was indeed a perfect match for this dish.

The next dish was Grilled scallop apple and mint paste and almond emulsion. The scallops were so fresh, plump and soft. Cooked so perfectly that they melted in my mouth. The Apples & mint paste added lovely flavour. The harmony of the sour, sweet and savory in this dish was heavenly.

The next dish was "Poelen" Roasted veal chop, truffle oil mashed potato, red wine jus, Dauphine potatoes. The veal chop was cooked to a perfect pink, the veal was so tender & juicy. The red wine jus added the right amount of flavour without over whelming the meat. Simply devine. The 2004 Les Boissieres with its deep red berries & wild herbs nose, beautifully structured and well balanced tannins was a perfect match for the veal.

The dessert was Textures of pineapple, coconut and rum sorbet, cardamom coulis. The dish was beautifully structured. Each layer had a different texture and flavour of pineapple. A scrumptious dessert with so much thought put into it.

Chef de Lauzun being introduced to the journalist by the General Manager of the Pullman Hotel, Marc Begassat.

All the female journalist (they all seemed to be smitten with the young & handsome chef) being photographed with the chef.

Overall; the food was incredibly delicious! Even though this was not fine dinning; the chef still thought through every element to make each dish stand out and taste wonderful. The dishes were beautifully put together & each dish was composed of lovely textures and flavours making each dish memorable. On top of all this; the wines were so lovely, easy to drink and long on the palette. A delicious evening with two rising stars!

Chef Matthieu de Lauzun will be cooking at the Pullman Wine Pub until 27 November. Go if you can; you will not regret it.

Pullman Hotel Wine Pub
8/ 2 Rangnam Rd.
Bangkok 10400
Tel.: 02-680-9999
BTS: Victory Monument


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One star Michelin chef at the Pullman Wine Pub

I just read that there is a One Star Michelin Star chef coming to the Pullman Wine Pub. Here is the ad that I took from their website:

One Star Michelin chef "Matthieu de Lauzun" from Gignac, France will fly in to show his creations at the Wine Pub Pullman Hotel.

Saturday 20th - Saturday 27th November 2010
18:00 - 10:30 pm

An 18 tapas tree including 4 glasses of Alain Chabanon wine at Baht 2,000 (nett) for 2 persons.

This promotion sounds really really interesting. First of all because I had the good luck to have already tried his restaurant in the south of France. The name of his restaurant is 'Restaurant de Lauzun' (the date of the posting was 9/ 5/ 2010) and the photos of the food do not give it justice. Second I love the wines of Alain Chabanon. So great food and great wine...what a great combo. Finally, the third at 2,000 baht nett...I am there. My friends and I already reserved a table for the opening night. Yeeepeee, can't wait!

Monday, November 01, 2010


Our friends from Switzerland were missing European food so we took them to have Italian food at Rossano's (which was near their hotel). Mr. Rossano used to own the very popular Italian restaurant called L'Opera on Sukhumvit soi 39. He sold that and opened Rossano's.

Rossano's is also a very popular restaurant. No matter what day of the week you go; there are always tons of people eating there.

The restaurant is in an old house. The decor is not the best in town but it is homey & cozy. The main colours are golds, browns and blacks with hints of yellow & orange...like the autumn colours of Tuscany.

We were given the table next to the window that allowed us to see all the action in the kitchen which was very nice.

The first starter was Tuna tartare. The tuna was fresh and the right amount of ingredients & spices were added to the tartare. The tartare tasted very nice. A nice balance of acidity and tangy.

The second starter was Crab salad. The crab salad was nicely presented. There was tons of crab in this dish (which is a great thing). The sauce was light and added the right acidity, tangy and sour flavours to the dish.

The third starter was Deep fried calamari. As everyone knows by now; I am a sucker for deep fried foods. So it was obvious that we had to try the fried calamari. The calamari was deep fried to a light golden brown. The calamari was very crispy on the outside, slightly chewy but tender. With a squeeze of lemon; the dish was lovely.

The first main dish was Osso bucco. The veal shank was cooked to perfection; the meat fell off the bone. The meat was so tender & juicy. One of the 'test' we do at an Italian restaurant is to have an osso bucco. Since this dish is practically in every Italian restaurant in town; its easy to compare & have a barometer on how this dish is presented & taste.

The next main dish was Fillet mignon. The meat was so tender & juicy. It was grilled as ordered (medium rare). The meat did not even need a sauce because it tasted so good on its own.

The next main dish was Veal Milanese. When the dish arrived; I was amazed at the size of the thing. The portion was enormous! The veal was deep fried to a golden brown and was slightly crispy on the outside. The veal was tender but the veal was on the dry side. However; it was still a really nice dish.

The next main dish was Veal liver. The veal was very fresh and it tasted very nice. The sauce was tasteful and it enhanced the dish instead of overpowering it. A hearty dish and big portion.

Overall; the food is very good. Hearty & simple home cooking Italian food. The ingredients are fresh & of good quality. The service is friendly and amazingly attentive. Rossano has staff that has been with him for I think more than 20 years. The restaurant manager of Rossano's (a lovely Thai woman) used to work for L'Opera and knows us very well because we used to go to L'Opera once a week. So, Rossano's is one of those lovely neighbor restaurants that you enjoy going to because the place is inviting, food is good and the staff know you.

When it comes to price...Rossano's is not cheap but it is not expensive. The total bill was 7,500 baht, including a bottle of wine (we split the bill). I think all Italian restaurants in town have pretty much the same prices (price fixing???).

For some reason Italian restaurant prices in Bangkok cost as much as eating in an Italian restaurants in Europe...but that is another story for another time to get into. We actually had this discussion with our Swiss friend. Anyway, the prices at Rossano's are in line with the Italian restaurants in town and we willing to pay for it because the combination of good food, great service and nice ambiance. I can't wait to try their pizzas!

167 Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke)
Bangkok, 10110
Tel.: 02-260-1861, 02-661-7449

Baan Klang Nam

We had friends visiting from Switzerland and they a favourite restaurant they like to go to when they are in town. We always have to take them to Baan Klang Nam atleast once while they are in Bangkok.

One of Bangkok's finest seafood restaurants, this converted teak house sits right on the Chao Phraya River, overlooking the huge Rama IX cable-stayed bridge. Every table has a great view of the river life. Sitting here is just lovely and nice to get away from the concrete jungles sometimes.

The restaurant is open air (no air-conditioning). The decor is very simple with wood table & chairs. The ambiance is very relaxed & easy going. The thing that shines out is the food.

The starter was Fried shrimp cakes. The shrimp cakes were deep fried to a light golden brown. The shrimp in the cakes were plump and fresh. They were crispy on the outside and moist & tender on the inside. Just a lovely way to start a meal.

The next starter was Grilled squid. A very simple way to eat squid. The squid was so fresh; therefore, it was not rubbery. The dipping sauce that accompanied the squid added the right balance of sweet, spicy, sour & tangy.

The next dish was Fried fish in fish sauce. Boy do I love fried fish with fish sauce. The fish was so fresh. The fish was fried perfectly that the outside of the fish was slightly crispy and the meat was tender & flaky. The fish sauce was a great combination of sweet and acidic. Wonderful.

The next dish was Baked prawns cooked & glass noodles. The combination of textures, colours and flavours in this dish was amazing. The huge prawns, & glass noodles were backed in spices, ginger and pork fat. The prawns were plump & juicy, the glass noodles sucked the flavours of the spices & ginger. All in all; perferct.

The next dish was Crab with egg & curry sauce. Crab is already the messiest seafood dishes to eat; but we love making it more messy. So we ordered the crab with curry sauce. This is probably not the greatest for my cholesterol level but so what. It was so worth it. The crab was huge and fresh. The curry sauce was thick, rich and messy. This was truly the definition of finger linking good!

For dessert was Mango sticky rice. No matter how full we were; we could not resist sharing a small plate of mango sticky rice. It is almost the end of the mango season (or is it already?). But the mango was so sweet. The sticky rice was tender, sticky and flavourful with coconut cream. Decadence.

Overall; the seafood at Baan Klang Nam is fresh & delicious. The atmosphere is charming due to the river and the place is cozy. The service is spot on; they know what they are doing, very professional & friendly. The prices are so affordable for seafood on the river. Yes; this place sometimes can be very touristic because the good food and the scenery. But what is nice is that Baan Klang Nam has not made the prices 'touristic'. They have maintained a philosophy that everyone should be able to eat at Baah Klang Nam; which is a fantastic way to think and that is what I support.

288 Soi 14
Rama III Road, Bangkok 10120
Tel.: +66 (0) 2292 2037, +66 (0) 2292 0175