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Le Normandie, a Lunch to Remember.

Words and Pictures by Terrence Collins

We were in Bangkok for the wife’s birthday and my son was in town on holiday from the UK. We were looking for a special venue to celebrate in , so where better than Le Normandie located in Bangkok’s prestigious Mandarin Oriental hotel ?

If you didn’t already know they offer a very special set lunch menu that is quite affordable at 1600 thb for three courses or 2000 thb ++ for four courses, we ordered the latter. Along with wine pairing 2 glasses 750 THB 3 glasses 1100 THB ++

First of all, I must state, this is a classy restaurant, one of the best in Bangkok, amazing service, décor and stunning views of the Chao Phraya River and The Peninsular Hotel opposite. But the real attraction is the amazing food, which is French modern, that respects tradition and doesn’t tolerate trendy gimmicks, no wooden plates or French fries served in mini deep fat fryers here, Thank God!

You get a selection of 4 appetizers to choose from and a trio of complimentary amuse bouche to get your palette salivating. We opted for grilled oysters “”David Herve””( a family business who have been supplying oysters in France for 3 generations) served with kabu turnip and kumquat which really added a sweetness to the dish that we all enjoyed.

This was quickly followed by marinated beef and smoked eel with grapes served with a nettle sauce, which was a first for me and although it certainly tasted like you would imagine nettles to taste, it did compliment the dish perfectly by adding a herbaceous undertone. The other choices for appetizers where a Jerusalem artichoke soup with cheese and walnut, plus prawns with a haddock mouse and sorrel bisque.

For main course you have a choice of two fish dishes and two meat dishes, we were in the mood for meat so my wife chose the roasted challans duck breast with gremolata and smoked rutabaga, a type of swede. Whilst my son and I opted for the suckling pig (served rare) with pumpkin, juniper and black pudding, anyone who knows me knows of my weakness for black pudding, so I had no choice really.

Mains quickly demolished we were on to dessert, in fact the main reason we chose this venue was because of the pastry chef here who is, in my opinion the best in Bangkok and his desserts are to die for. So we ordered the chefs two signature dishes, crepe suzette flambéed tableside, plus his real masterpiece, the Grand Marnier soufflé with vanilla ice cream, without a doubt the best soufflé I’ve ever seen or tasted, I say seen as it is a picture perfect example of exactly how a soufflé should look. A real work of art being a skilful dessert that most chefs shy away from as it can be temperamental and inclined to collapse if not cooked through correctly.

Lastly I ordered the Baba with pomelo, citrus and milk ice cream, another all-time favourite of mine because it reminds me of my father, as he could never resist them.

All in all, a lunch to remember and a perfect venue for that special occasion.

Michel Roux (76) founder of Waterside Inn in Bray the only restaurant in the UK to hold three Michelin stars for over 30 years, came to Bangkok earlier in the year to cook at the Mandarin Oriental’s Le Normandie, which on Wednesday became one of only 3 Bangkok restauants that Michelin awarded 2 stars to He advised that without doubt Michelin is the most trusted international guide in the world having been established for over a hundred years and employing more than 70 inspectors world. wide.

A lover of Thai food and especially street food one of Michel’s favourite places to eat when in Bangkok is The Baan Rablang Nam bistro on the river that serves traditional Thai food to literally hundreds of people each night.