Le Normandie Bangkok : Review of 6-course heaven

WNFdiary @wnfdiary
· September 2018 · 9 min read · Thailand · #review


Le Normandie review with amazing photography might be our top selection for this month. We are happy to include this latest restaurant in our food reviews: a two-star Michelin rated restaurant that we believe really deserved to make it to the Michelin list: Le Normandie. It is located on the top floor of the Mandarin Oriental's garden wing, which offers a view of Bangkok’s always-so-busy Chao Phraya River. After the elevator, we stepped into the luxurious neoclassical restaurant, and we took a few minutes to admire the bright space with floor to ceiling windows. The elegance is presented not only by the interior itself but also in the floral arrangements and table settings. It is not a secret that we were very excited to experience the creations of chef Arnaud Dunand - Sauthier: his contemporary approach to French cuisine with his own personal touch sounded intriguing.

Amuse-bouche


Right from the beginning, the chef revealed a strong connection to his roots. As in a typical French lunch, a set of canapés, bonbons, and paté was brought to the table by a very knowledgeable waiter. The waiter presented every dish as well as how it's meant to be eaten. Our first single-bite was a lemon carrot bonbon with cumin and parsley. The liquid inside burst to the surface with the gentle touch of a tooth and quickly filled the mouth with complex flavors, like an explosion of vegetable soup.

Le Normandie Amuse-bouche

Le Normandie Amuse-bouche is generous

The second amuse-bouche was a canapé, topped with Buffalo cheese sorbet and trout caviar. This savory piece had a good crunch in its citrusy crust, which put this canapé on our list of top canapés ever. It also prepared us for the light foie gras mousse, with the classic addition of raspberry jam. We liked that the serving metal container had a bump that enabled us to dose the combination of mousse and jam topping. Here I would compliment a nice pearl shell spoon, which makes this experience unforgettable. The creamy texture quickly melted away and caressed our taste buds.


Chef truly knows how to pamper his patrons. They served us another amuse-bouche, a mushroom tea with a bacon foam. The shape of the bacon foam was surprisingly deceiving and the mushroom consume matched the flavor intensity. All our compliments to the chef for this amazingly clean and tasty soup with extra bacon cubes.

Butter and bread

Contemporary cuisine leans towards the healthy, low-fat cooking and here in Asia, butter is more a delicacy than an average item in the fridge, but French cuisine without butter would be a complete nonsense. At Le Normandie, they spoiled us with premium butter. A scone shaped seaweed butter, which transported us right to the seaside. The addition of red algae added the saltiness and taste of the sea. Our seaside journey took a turn back to the mainland when we had a taste of unsalted butter. This modest looking cylinder had a beautiful ornament on top and it was rich in flavor. Its deep color says one thing: grass feed cattle. Next to it, we choose the homemade baguette and sour bread made of a 9-year old starter. The in-house baker chefs know how to handle the dough and the crunchy crust on the bread was just insane.

Starters

First on the tasting menu was a slightly sour marinated mackerel from Brittany, accompanied by fennel, dill and licorice. It was amazing how the combination of those strong flavors made the mackerel shine, and each component in this dish helped develop the others. The sweetness of the licorice complimented the roasted fish and the fennel to perfection. This dish might look simple, but its flavors are complex and great connected.

Le Normandie - Marinated mackerel

Le Normandie - Marinated mackerel with fennel and licorice

Fera fish


The Fera du Lac Léman was another dish that celebrated the ingredients in a way that only contemporary cuisine could. There is no point in stating that the chef uses ingredients of the highest possible quality when you can taste it in every bite. In order to assure freshness, the team here goes beyond borders and urges for quick transport from every continent. Fera fish is one of the tastiest French freshwater fish. Here at Le Normandie, it was imported from Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), which is considered to be the best source for it.


Foodies will know that this is not a real Fera fish, as Fera fish from Lake Geneva was extinct in 1920, due to overfishing and non-sustainability. Later on, they inhabit another variety of whitefish imported from Lakes of Neuchâtel, which has a similar taste and also doesn't tolerate overcooking, of which they are very well aware here at Le Normandie. To pay their respects to the ingredients, the fish was roasted to perfection. The deep red color of cassis provided a vibrant contrast that we could taste with the currant. This combination went amazingly well with the warmth of Piedmont hazelnuts and the roasted leek, which were left still a little bit crunchy. On the side chef served a celiac purée, which linked everything together nicely. Every ingredient on its own had a strong flavor and when mixed together, they were all still there. The fish was always very present, no matter the combination and we liked it all mixed in, in every bite.

Le Normandie - Fera fish

Our second starter at Le Normandie, Bangkok - Fera fish

Caviar Osciètre et Oursin

I think Le Normandie review got to its climax right here. This is Arnaud Dunand - Sauthier's signature dish. Another dish that we liked mixed with all the ingredients was the Caviar Osciètre et Oursin: sea urchin from Hokkaido with potato foam and champagne sauce. This is chef’s signature dish and now we know why. We could taste the sweetness of the sea urchin, with the creamy potato foam base. The champagne sauce served as a delicate seasoning, which enriched the dish and made it creamy. What about the caviar? Champagne, caviar, and sweetness: need I say more?

La Normandie - Caviar Osciètre et Oursin

La Normandie's signature dish - Caviar Osciètre et Oursin

Wine

How can you have such a great 'French' dine without a French wine? Ian had a craving for a glass of great white wine, and a quick chat with the house sommelier offered him a great choice: a full-bodied white wine from the Rhone Valley, the Viognier Le Plan GT-V, vintage 2015. It is a macerated white wine with an aromatic tropical palate, blossoms, honey and spicy notes of citronella. The aftertaste was long enough to and the buttery texture elevated the dish to a higher level.

Main dishes

My main dish was a roasted milk-fed lamb with zucchini and basil, seasoned with a touch of cardamom. The perfectly cooked lamb was spot on with the warming touch of cardamom and crunchy zucchini. Ian’s dish was the distinguished pigeon from the Pornic region, which deserves all the praise. It was tender pigeon meat accompanied by an aromatic and sweet Japanese melon, which made for a tasteful and healthy combination. The Chef's creativeness was evident by his use of seasoning with the rare Timut pepper, its vibrant aroma of grapefruit complimented the watermelon and pigeon greatly. Tender, juicy and tingling sensations in every bite was a great finale before our desserts.

Le Normandie - main dish

Le Normandie - Pigeon from Pornic region.

Desserts

In Michelin restaurants are well aware of the importance of dessert. Our Le Normandie review is not short here, for sure. Our first dessert was a nice combination of crunchy layered biscuits with carrot confit and famous Bronte pistachios quenelle. This pistachios from Etna have a distinguished flavor due to the volcanic soil and altitude where they grow. A rich and balanced taste with a long aftertaste is a component for a great ice cream. This ice cream was creamy, denser and more buttery than your average kind, but it was still light. The flavor of pistachio paired well with a delicate carrot taste and a bit of a stronger Bronte pistachios sauce. A job well done. My only complaint is that I couldn’t buy a pint of the ice cream to take home with me!

Le Normandie - dessert 1

Le Normandie - biscuits with carrot confit and Bronte pistachios

Thankfully, there was a second dessert to help me put out my sorrows. Inside a coconut husk, we found a neatly presented chocolate-inspired dessert. A milk chocolate jelly offered a clean look and smooth base for the sour cherry puree. The chocolate sponge cake was perfect for soaking up the melted coconut ice cream under the jelly covering. The sponge also allowed us to play with the spoon and admire the perfect coconut husk. The cocoa originated from Chang Rai which is a great tribute to Thailand.

Le Normandie - Cocoa bean dessert

Le Normandie - Cocoa bean dessert

At the end of this fabulous meal, they treated us to mignardises! The caramelized Kouign Amann, a dessert from the chef’s childhood, brought us once again a display of the French’s love of butter. As a child, the chef loved this puff pastry and now he has perfected it. There were also coconut candies and rich Bonbon au Chocolat.

Le-Normandie-Bangkok (23).jpg

Le Normandie review Conclusion

Le Normandie review is our first of its kind. It is not in our habit to visit French restaurants here in Asia. Our belief was that such an establishment must be visited in its country of origin, not where it is possibly only imitated. However, our experience at Le Normandie showed us how wrong we were. The food was more than amazing and Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier brought France to our table. As a matter of fact, the maître d’hôtel is from France and his speech, with his lovely French accent, was the cherry on top for the evening. For a moment, we thought we were looking at the Seine River instead of the Chao Phraya River. Amazing!


Le-Normandie-Bangkok (14).jpg

Le-Normandie-Bangkok (17).jpg

Anyway, there is only one suggestion. Some plates could be a little bit more colorful. Pigeon dish would be more catchy with the addition of deep violet Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). Not only that, it's citron taste would be a great match for Japanese melon.

Price and location

Six-course degustation menu without wine pairing will cost you about 215 USD per person, and a glass of wine we had is 20 USD. If you would like to pamper yourself with amazing French cuisine in Bangkok, here is a location to Le Normandie.

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