There is be a lot of attention focused the grand French restaurants in Bangkok with their Michelin star association. Now we have selected those, many of whom are standalone restaurants who produce affordable quality French Cuisine. Some innovative, some traditional but all upholding the values of the French way of dining.
By Luxury Society Asia team & Laurence Civil
Le Normandie, Michelin Star Restaurant
For the past 40 years Le Normandie with its sparkling chandeliers, antique furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows has been Bangkok’s culinary hub. Occupying the entire fifth floor of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s Garden Wing it has the most stunning view looking out over the Chao Praya River. This 12-table restaurant, the culinary playground of Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier, has worked for renowned chefs such as Georges Blanc of Vonnas, Marc Veyrat of L’Auberge de L’Eridan, and Emile Jung of Crocodile and has welcomed countless Michelin-starred chefs including the likes of Michel Roux and Christian Bau.
It’s an institution with old-fashioned values that have evolved. Dining at Le Normandie is a special occasion to be celebrated and dress up for as if attending your best friend’s wedding, which is why gentlemen are required to wear a jacket for dinner.
The food is the hardware, the software is their flawless service, it just happens without notice. It’s all in the detail from fresh flowers on the table to the stool beside the chair so that a valuable bag doesn’t have to sit on the floor. And an attentive eye that misses nothing that anticipates what has yet to be thought.
Savelberg Thailand, Michelin Star Restaurant
Dutch Chef Henk Savelberg has the distinction of having had four restaurants across the Netherlands that were each recognized with a Michelin star. Having previously delighted with his exquisite culinary creations as a visiting chef he decided to open Restaurant Savelberg Thailand, his first overseas, in front of the main Oriental Residence building on Wireless Road, opposite to All Seasons Place. A gourmet, modern French restaurant with a Dutch touch, that strives to serve the absolute in quality dining focusing on luxury details.
What distinguishes the best from the rest lies in the details, the little things that most guests won’t even notice. It’s his meticulous attention to those tiny details that built Henk Savelberg’s reputation. Every detail was made to measure and custom fitted, every wine poured is served in the finest Riedel Crystal, the culinary creations are presented on specially designed German tableware finished with platinum, the first of its kind in Asia. And orange, the national colour of the Netherlands, is subtly incorporated into the design a reminder of where they are coming from.
It’s a warm friendly and accommodating experience, modern comfortable luxury rather than the stiff fine dining. The service has a classic European approach, engaging with the guest to give a rewarding and memorable dining experience. They use the finest imported ingredients and is the first restaurant in Thailand with a Michelin heritage to use Marou chocolate from Vietnam. A delightful destination.
J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, Micheline Star Restaurant
In 1986, Jean-Michel Lorain of Cote Saint Jacques in Joigny, Burgundy, France, was the youngest chef in France to be awarded the coveted three Michelin stars. When he opened J’Aime at U Sathorn to ensure the authenticity of his food he put his protégé Amerigo Sesti in charge of the kitchen and his daughter Marine Loraine front of house as Maitre d’.
He was sensitive to many Asians feeling uncomfortable with the traditional way French cuisine is eaten, so he made the radical decision to serve his food Asian family style with zero compromise on its authentic French taste. Individual dishes for each course are placed in the middle of a rotating glass ‘lazy susan’.
This gives guests the option to either put an individual portion on their plate or share collectively. Another gesture he made was to add a pair of black lacquer chopsticks; the silverware is replaced course by course. This was done so that his style of French cuisine would to be more accepted in Asia. He doesn’t make the same concession at his flagship in Burgundy.
The interior is also unique with its ‘upside down’ concept including a grand piano hanging from the ceiling. This Asian friendly, classical French dining experience is serving their style of food in a way that is appropriate to its location.
Elements, Michelin Star Restaurant
French cuisine with Japanese influences in a relaxed, informal setting with menus that reflect a remarkable blend of textures, temperatures, flavours and colours.
With impressive Ploenchit city’s views during sunset time, the restaurant is set in a great location, easy and very convenient access to BTS. Working with seasonal Japanese ingredients, combined with fresh and organic local produce, which are painstakingly prepared and cooked with an exacting precision.
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A hidden gem tucked away down Soi 1 off of Soi Saladaeng. The restaurant is set in a grand villa that was once a diplomatic residence with a lush tropical garden in a walled compound with ample safe parking. The Thai owner Nunteera (Jum) Cox is a graduate of Leith’s School of Food & Wine in London and created the menu herself which is mostly classical French with some Mediterranean influence. It reflects her passion for good food and wine where the emphasis is on quality and value for money. The right choice for classic French dishes with a slightly modern twist served in the most delightful setting.
Chef Phiippe Peretti from Corsica first came to South East Asia to set up and train The Palace food and beverage team for Prince Ranariddh Sihanouk of Cambodia. Always dedicated to excellence in the French culinary art, in 1998 he opened his restaurant in Bangkok. Full length glass panels and a French door frontage open to a quiet tree lined street. Inside the restaurant is divided into the ground floor and mezzanine with a total capacity for 70 guests. The menu highlights the use of the freshest produce and the skill of bringing out the natural flavour of the food. Classic country dishes and slow cooked casseroles are his signature.
Over the years they have pioneered and refined the modern French dining movement in Bangkok and have hosted exceptional wine dinner. The team both back and front of the house provide a passionate and personalised service, focusing on the discovery of taste and the connection between food and art. Chef Mark Ian Jones has recently taken over running the kitchen and brings his wealth of experience from working with Michelin Star Chefs. He creates intense and satisfying dishes, working only with the best seasonal produce. His culinary creations are beautifully executed and plated with both style and creativity. Their extensive wine list includes some exceptional boutique wines. Silent movies are projected onto a big screen to frivolously enhance the dining experience.
The steak frites bistro culture started at Café de Paris, at Geneva Railway Station in 1940 servings a one main course menu of L’entrocote steak served in a secret butter sauce with fresh fries. As a child David J Perrot, Managing Director of Crepes & Co would dine their with his father, who was a friend of the owner. A couple of years ago through that connection he became the guardian of the secret recipe of the butter sauce. He brought it to Bangkok and makes it in his kitchen at home to project the secret. He shares the taste in this bistro in the conservatory in front of Mayfair Bangkok, Marriot Executive Apartment on Soi Langsuan. To suit local taste he has added salmon and lamb chops to the main course menu. His frites are crisp on the outside and soft inside, simply perfect.
The owner Jean-Pierre (JP) has lived in Bangkok for the past 30 years during which time he has run various French restaurants. Being passionate about simple French regional cuisine he opened his own restaurant. He believes in offering a good quality dining experience, despite 80% of the produce he uses are imported. Menu items include classic dishes such as St Jacques gratinee, Tuna a la Plancha, Beef en croute with Sarladaise potatoes and the classic Tarte aux Pommes for dessert. To complete the dinning experience he has a list of quality affordable French regional wines. The complete simple French dining experience, classic regional dishes, attentive service and a comfortable bonhomie.
To view full list Top 9 Thailand’s Culinary Masterpieces