Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Macaron by Dhara Dhevi Patisserie @ Central Chidlom Food Hall, Bangkok

Cuisine: French Pastry
Price: THB30-55 per piece
Visited: 9 December 2013
Macaron: 7/10

This week we would not be reviewing a restaurant but a cake shop instead. If you are familiar with Chiang Mai and have sweet tooth, you would probably have heard about macaron at Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. Now you do not have to go all the way to Chiang Mai to taste the popular French snack, there is now a shop located within the food hall of Central Chidlom (next to boulangerie of food hall).

It was my first time with macaron of Dhara Dhevi so I selected only 6 flavours to taste: vanilla, jasmine, Thai tea, yuzu, cinnamon, and white truffle. The texture was rather good: soft and not cracking hard. The filling cream was as well smooth and not too sweet. I would prefer it, however, to have stronger scent and aroma. At the price range of THB30-55, it is not cheap and at the similar range as well as quality to that of Mandarin Oriental shop but at least enjoyable. It may not be comparable to the world famous macaron such as Laduree or Pierre Herme, at least it is one of the top you can find in Thailand. By the way, the white truffle flavour was somewhat weird for me. I was eating sweet/dessert and the truffle scent was beyond expectation really. Well, other people may like this flavour though.

Macaron by Dhara Dhevi Patisserie @ Central Chidlom Food Hall, Bangkok
Floor G, Food Hall of Central Chidlom
Phloenchit Road
Bangkok 10330

Open Hours: daily 10:00am - 10:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 85 048 5251, +66 (0) 84 611 3878

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Felsina Fontalloro IGT 2007

Date of Tasting: 7 December 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Sangiovese
Alcohol: 14%
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Appellation: IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)
Expect to Pay: ~ THB1,750 - THB2,500
Chubby Score: 94/100
Value for money: 9/10
Professional Rating: WA - 93/100, WS - 92/100, FS - 93/100, ST - 96/100, CT - 92/100

Appearance: rich ruby
Aroma: herbs, tobacco, black fruits, and soft aroma of tea, balsamic, and cinnamon
Palate: ripe and dark violet with packed flavours of blueberry, prune, and raspberry, rich and long with silky and refined tannins, medium-full bodied style, elegant, fine, and fresh, balance and crisp acidity

We decanted Felsina Fontalloro 2007 for 3 hours before serving. Just by the aroma, I have already fallen in love with this wine. It was so wonderful. Different bouquets came one after one. So complex and stylish. The sweetness and silkiness were all there. We had this along with creamy base pasta and we did not regret at all. This is an outstanding wine that would live another decade. Enjoy it now. Really good food companion, it is. Raise many more glasses, I should!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Reflexions @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok

Cuisine: French
Price: THB2,600 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 25 November 2013
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Services: 9/10

Often that we give The Reflexions at Plaza Athenee Bangkok a visit, this latest visit was also another exceptional one. Once again that I had to take all photos with mobile phone as this was another unexpected review. Many occasions, the services and atmosphere here are always at the top range and this time was friendly as usual.

At the moment, the head chef of The Reflexions is Chef Daniel Bucher, a talented chef who succeeds Chef Thibault Chiumenti (who now looks after the overall picture of restaurants at Plaza Athenee Bangkok) about a year ago. Menus have been adapted largely from my previous review but at equal quality and taste. See links below for my previous review of The Reflexions:

At that night, I also felt like having a bottle of Burgundy to accompany. I chose Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin 2002 to go along. Unfortunately, there was surely something wrong with this bottle of mine. The acidity was weirdly high and sharp. There was no fruit aroma. Really sad that a suppose to be good bottle turned flaw (T.T)"

bread and butter

Faiveley Mazis Chambertin 2002

As for the start, we were served with seared tuna on hot stone (7/10). This is simply an aromatic piece of lightly grilled tuna to go with fresh spring. The next small portion of starter by Chef Daniel to come along was foie gras with parsnip and lime (8/10). Ok, I like this dish a lot. The parsnip was so smooth. Lime and foie gras balanced out each other. Of course, foie gras was so soft and fatty. Never mind the health and just enjoy it.

seared tuna on hot stone

foie gras with parsnip and lime

foie gras act 2 ^^

For our first courses, we decided to have portabello and truffle cream soup (8/10) and pink trout tartar with tapioca, apple, and sour cream (8/10). For the soup, we often had this as the starter and it has never let us down. It was so smooth and aromatic. The texture was not too thick but creamy. So much of flavours were packed within. For pink trout tartar, this was in fact my first time to give it a go. The dish came in a rather surprising presentation. In the picture below, you can see that there is something like a red lollipop on the right hand side, and that is the sour cream....yes, it is sour cream. The trick of this dish is to have a bit of everything in one bite: trout tartar, apple, apple chutney, and sour cream. I promise it was a nice one to try.

portabello and truffle cream soup (THB450)

pink trout tartar with tapioca, apple, and sour cream (THB600)

After the first courses, a small portion of middle course and entremets were followed. The middle course was scallop and fennel (7/10). The scallop was grilled just to lightly enough on the outside to be somewhat crisp but still maintained its natural tenderness. The quality of the scallop of great; sweet and fresh. The alongside fennel was naturally sweet and the pea sauce balanced out the overall palate. For entremets, this time was lime and nutmeg sorbet (8/10). The unique aroma of nutmeg just paired well with lime. A good one to clean up the palate to be ready for main courses.

scallop and fennel

lime and nutmeg sorbet

As for main courses, there were sole and St. Michel blue mussel with cauliflower with caviar (6/10) and Challans duck sous vide with orange, fennel, and peach (7/10). We would usually like the seafood dish at The Reflexions a lot, especially the lobster dish. However, the sole at this occasion was somewhat tough and perhaps cooked a little too long. Nevertheless, the squid ink sauce did match nicely with the sole, mussel, as well as cauliflower. The duck, on the other side, was really tender on the texture. I love the way that duck is paired with fresh spring and peach. The mousse like texture of orange on top of duck can be new to many. We would usually get used to the orange sauce in other places. Well, this dish is rather creative and savoury from my view.

All in all, this was another pleasant dinner at The Reflexions. We love the way the restaurant keeps its standard rather consistently.

sole and St. Michel blue mussel with cauliflower and caviar (THB1,300)

Challans duck sous vide with orange, fennel, and peach (THB1,500)

The Reflexions @ Plaza Athenee Bangkok
3rd Floor Hotel Plaza Athenee
61 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok, 10330

Open Hours: Mon-Sat from 06:00pm - 11:00pm for dinner

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mario Pelassa Moscato d'Asti 2011

Date of Tasting: 26 July 2013
Wine Type: Sweet White
Grape Varieties: 100% Moscato
Alcohol: 5.5%
Origin: Piedmont, Italy
Appellation: DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
Expect to Pay: ~ THB750 - THB1,000
Chubby Score: 86/100
Value for money: 4/10
Professional Rating: n.a.

Appearance: pale yellow
Aroma: apple and lychee
Palate: fine but minimum effervescence, light and mild, lychee-like sweetness, easy drinking

This Moscato d'Asti by Pelassa can be enjoyable on its own as an aperitif as well as pairing with light dessert such as éclair. To me, the complexity seems to be the missing piece but for a good sunny day, this will do. Though, the aroma and bouquet, as in Massolino Moscato d'Asti, are not quite there, it still preserves its elegance. This is a wine to be consumed now.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Basil @ Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

Cuisine: Thai
Price: THB750 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 6 December 2013
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 9/10
Services: 8/10

People always say that Thai restaurant at hotels is always one of the worst, else only made for foreigners. Well, it is a different story at Basil @ Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. Not only the food is wonderful, services are also at high standard just as its neighbour Rossini's. All staffs are so helpful and friendly. Expectation on good recommendation to your taste can be met. As for atmosphere, the place itself has been established to present a rather modern style of Thai decor. The dimmed light gives a more warming touch (can be a choice for dating too). Anyway, the overall impression is a warm touch. As for myself, I am sure a regular at Basil so I would recommend any of you to give it a go. Unless you are those who thrive for strong and spicy taste, then you may forget about this place. It is more elegant and herbal style.

basil, it is

entrance of Basil

atmosphere and interior

Upon arrival we were served with amuse bouche which was Miang Kham - เมี่ยงคำ (8/10). In case you are not sure what Miang Kham is, Miang Kham is a northern Thai traditional snack with often shallots, ginger, garlic, lime, roasted coconut, roasted peanut, and palm syrup wrapped with chaphlu (piper sarmentosum). This was wonderful indeed: as good as ones from those famous shops.

Another great point here is the range of boiled rice. There are 3 choices available: jasmine rice, lemongrass scented rice, and brown rice. So I didn't hesitate to go for all options, though personally I am one who falls in love with brown rice. To start off our meal, we had moo thord takrai nga khao - หมูทอดตะไคร้งาข้าว (7/10). This is simply deep-fried marinated pork loin with white sesame and served with crispy lemongrass. I do like the tenderness and juicy flavourful loin. The alongside sauces comprise of 2 kinds which are sweet but balance. It was indeed a good start up for a meal.

amuse bouche with Miang Kham - เมี่ยงคำ

ready to be eaten Miang Kham

3 variety of rice available

moo thord takrai nga khao - หมูทอดตะไคร้งาข้าว (THB350)

Now moving on to seafood dishes (for good health ^_^). All four seafood dishes we had during the night were fabulous.

choo chee pla salmon - ฉู่ฉี่ปลาแซลมอน (7/10): This pan-fried salmon in red curry sauce was not bad at all. Not that spicy but filled with herbal touch. The red curry was mild and the fillet texture was perfectly cooked.

phad poh taek - ผัดโป๊ะแตก (8/10): Often that sauteed seafood with lemongrass and herbs are not my enticing dish. But poh taek at Basil is at an interesting pace. The dish came with seafood range, such as scallop, soft shell crab, prawn, and etc., in spicy sauce but such spiciness was from herbs, not chilli. I was sure enjoy the dish.

mok pla salmon - หมกปลาแซลมอน (6/10): I, at first, believed it was some kind of Hor Mok (steamed curry custard) but I sure was wrong. It was instead steamed salmon with chilli paste and without curry. Well, it may not be one of the best dish but enjoyable.

pla kapong sauce sam rod - ปลากระพงซอส 3 รส (9/10): This is one of my most favourite dish at Basil. The seabass in sweet and sour with chilli sauce was so balance. The sweetness, the saltiness, and the hot and spicy weighted out each other. Nothing over powering. The fillet was fried till crisp but inside texture was preserved with moist and tenderness. This is one that cannot be missed.

mok pla salmon - หมกปลาแซลมอน (THB480)

phad poh taek - ผัดโป๊ะแตก (THB620)

choo chee pla salmon - ฉู่ฉี่ปลาแซลมอน (THB540)

pla kapong sauce sam rod - ปลากระพงซอส 3 รส (THB670)

For curry/soup dishes, I went for mussaman gae - มัสมั่นแกะ (9/10) and tom kha gai - ต้มข่าไก่ (7/10). For mussaman gae, it is lamb curry with peanut base and the unique beauty of caraway. It is one of my favourite Thai dish of all time. It went amazingly well with boiled rice. To have this dish, it is perfect with rice so you must must must have rice along with it. The flavour was packed with herbs and rich. The texture was thick but smooth. Just the aroma was already irresistible. Highly recommend dish. Tom kha gai, on the other hand, is a famous Thai soup with coconut galangal as the main players. The plus point is the way it was cooked such that the fat was not broken out of coconut milk. Personally, a bit more of galangal and lime would make this a simple perfect dish.

mussaman gae - มัสมั่นแกะ (THB460)

lamb and potato from the curry

tom kha gai - ต้มข่าไก่ (THB540)

zoom up to chicken

Basil @ Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok
Floor 1 Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit
250 Sukhumvit Road
Khlong Toei Nuea
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: lunch from 12:00pm - 02:30pm Mon-Fri and dinner from 06:00pm - 10:30pm daily

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tenuta Sette Ponti Poggio al Lupo Maremma 2009

Date of Tasting: 3 August 2013
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (~75%), Alicante (~20%), Petit Verdot (~5%)
Alcohol: 13.5%
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Appellation: IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)
Expect to Pay: ~ THB1,200 - THB2,000
Chubby Score: 89/100
Value for money: 5/10
Professional Rating: WS - 89/100

Appearance: opaque red/violet
Aroma: tea, cedar, dark berries, and phenol
Palate: ripe dark fruit such as cherry and plum with spices and herbs notes, mocha and espresso to the background, big, dark, and dense with firm tannins, very dry, full body

This is a big guy that is still shy. I would guess that this lad needs to rest for a few more years before showing the potential for a decade. Need to wait for tannins to integrate and fruit flavour to shine. If you do not like something really big, this is perhaps not the one for you. It will sure need something right to along side such as steak, roasted red meat, and rich flavour cheese.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Le Du Wine Bar and Restaurant @ Silom, Bangkok

Cuisine: French / International
Price: THB1,700 per person (what we paid for)
Visited: 23 December 2013
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 7/10

Le Du or ฤดู in Thai, meaning "season", was recently lauched in November 2013 by two young partners: Chef Ton and Khun Tao. The menu of Le Du is created by Chef Ton and Chef Tae. Both young chefs learnt their cooking skill from the Culinary Institute of America in USA and had a few years of experience in Michelin starred restaurants in USA. In addition, Chef Ton himself is also a certified sommelier and does pick range of wine himself. When I came across this restaurant, I decided that I have to give it a go. What really fascinating is their philosophy of cooking, they try to use ingredients that are available locally and use Thai ingredients and herbs to inspire their dishes. When combining with Western cooking technique, they can be fancy and delicious.

This place is hidden in Soi Silom 7 and is pretty close to Trinity Building. Please be warned that there will be no parking space available for Le Du visitors so you will have to park at Trinity Building. During daytime, Soi Silom 7 will be very busy and crowded with office staffs and street food. However, for night time diners, you may be lucky to get a parking space along the street. Anyway, the most convenient way to come here is via BTS and it is Chong Nonsi station.

Le Du Wine Bar and Restaurant @ Silom, Bangkok

Chef Ton and Khun Tao - the two partners

The restaurant is not large with probably around 30 seats. The kitchen is only parted from dining room by window glass. Hence, you can clearly watch cooks perform their skill. For menu, they are targeting to change every a few months so what I review here might not be available when you visit. The dinner menu comprises of 4 sections: Cold and Raw, from the Reef, from the Ranch, and Sin (dessert). You may also go for tasting menus at the price of THB990 for 4 courses and THB1,590 for 7 courses. Wine pairing for tasting menu is also available at the same price: i.e. 4 glasses for THB990 and 7 glasses for THB1,590. Lunch menu, on the other hand, is different in style. They tend to be more easily approachable and quick such as salads and pastas.

the bar

general atmosphere

relaxing place : can be good for friends gathering

the kitchen

For the night alone, I began with cured wild bass with rose apple, cilantro meringue, cucumber, and lime granita (7/10). This starter was mild and cold. The freshness of sea bass paired well with sweetness of apple and refreshing cilantro and cucumber. Lime granita provided tanginess and mildness of sour. I found that the granita was a bit lumpy whilst it should be finely grated ice. If the taste was a little stronger, I would like it even more. Otherwise, really enjoyable.

cured wild bass with rose apple, cilantro meringue, cucumber, and lime granita (THB200)

top angle of the beautiful presentation

My course was then followed by seared grouper with bacon XO, celery emulsion, compressed celery, puffed rice, galangal nage (6/10). I think this can be a really nice dish. The grouper was delicately cooked with the skin so crisp. Puffed rice gave a good impression and was fun to eat. The infused aroma was the key character here. Nice and herbal bouquet that fused well between Eastern style and Western touch. The bacon XO was, however, too salty. It kind of ruined the overall picture. I wish the dish was less salty and this would be so wonderful.

seared grouper with bacon XO, celery emulsion, compressed celery, puffed rice, galangal nage (THB350)

pouring the broth

again, nice presentation

Lastly, the dessert was chocolate x chocolate x chocolate (8/10). Basically, it was three kinds of chocolate in a plate: baked lava chocolate, crunchy chocolate, and crispy balled chocolate. It gave the all in one touch. Soft and warm chocolate lava was balanced with crunchy and crispy chocolate whilst meringue played the cold role. The chocolate was rich and thick as well as not overly sweeten.

chocolate x chocolate x chocolate (THB270)

SIN with god blood

Along the courses, I also had a glass of white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, to go with fish dishes and a glass of tempranillo base to pair with dessert. The white was Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Marlborough (THB290, 88pts). Price of wine by glass for table wines was not at all cheap but let put that aside. This sauvignon blanc was spicy and herbaceous. It exhibited tangy acidity which infused with grapefruit and lemon flavour. A good table wine, it is. For the red, it was Enate Tempranillo 2011 from Somontano, Spain (THB290, 89pts). I rather like this tempranillo based red wine with some blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It was medium in the body with fine tannins. Sweet and spicy on the palate and showed loads of fruit characters.

Le Du, in overall, is an exciting restaurant that is full of energy and passion of youngsters. Each dish may not yet be so perfect. But I would not be surprise to see its quick development and become famous in the future. I am, personally, looking forward to revisiting this small restaurant, Le Du, in a small corner of busy Silom. Bon Appetit!!!!

Le Du Wine Bar and Restaurant @ Silom, Bangkok
399/3 Soi Silom 7
Silom Road
Bangkok 10500

Open Hours: lunch Mon-Fri from 11:30am - 02:30pm and dinner Mon-Sat from 06:00pm - 11:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 83 073 6860, +66 (0) 81 562 6464
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