Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bangkok - Le Normandie

Crowned the best restaurant in Bangkok, we saved Le Normandie to the last night of our visit. It wasn't until we got to the place we realised that it's part of the Mandarin Oriental group. While we don't have a problem with eating at the Mandarin (in fact we we used to go there up to 3 times a week when we lived in Hong Kong) we somehow felt a little less excited because we sort of knew what to expect.

The service was top-notch as usual from the moment we walked in, a little cushion was immediately given to me to accommodate my bump. The set up and the menu, however, was very old school - the usual Mandarin approach I guess. It was like going into a time warp, from the menu without prices for the ladies, to a pianist playing live elevator tunes.

Now the food. The little starter bites were pretty tasty, although we couldn't work out what half of them were. From right: some kind of aubergine thing, a spicy shredded thing which reminded me of jellyfish, some kind of pate mousse, and a shot of cream of mushroom soup.

My husband's lobster salad(US$45) was definitely the best dish for the evening. The lobster was fresh and nicely cooked; the sauce matched nicely with the lobster's natural sweet taste.

My crayfish salad(US$38) paled in comparison. The crayfish wasn't particularly tasty and the green sauce (I can't even remember whether it was basil or celery) was too tart and overpowering. It wasn't bad but it was nothing compared to the lobster salad.

For main we decided to share a duck confit(US$85). The hole duck was presented to us before it was carved. It looked like a regular roast duck and we started wondering....

We each got a breast served with a reduction with a mini ratatouille. Cute ratatouille and the duck tasted like a roast duck as we suspected. There was no hint of the meat ever been cured! We didn't particularly like sauce. Basically the dish would have been totally alright if it was a roast duck but we were expecting duck confit.

Then we got the leg with salad. The leg meat was more melty then the breast (and as a result tasted better). Still it wasn't what we were expecting and we were a little disappointed.

Nothing caught our eyes from the dessert menu (no souffle!) so we dived right into the dessert trolley. My chocolate caramel cake(US$17) washed away my disappointment with the confit. It was to die for!

My husband's raspberry chocolate cake(US$17) was very nice also.

He was equally happy with the petits fours (I wasn't allowed any more sweets).
Dinner with a juice and 2 glasses of wine came to US$300. Money wise it's not bad as Mandarin could easily charge more and the place would still be busy. The food was not bad but I guess we went in with high expectations.

At the end of the meal we were given truffles and a baguette to take home. Al little odd we thought but the baguette saved the day when we left the hotel at 6am to head to the airport the next day.
The Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok. Tel: 659-9000

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