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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2017

Category: Bangkok

Marcel, Bangkok

Craving for Gaellic classics with a few creative twists thrown in? Marcel is the place to go to if you want to have a taste of France. Let your palate enjoy delicacies like mussels and duck confit rilletes. All you have to do is book ahead to enjoy that and the atmosphere of the bistro’s first floor.

There’s also no need to shy away from the high tables near the bar, home to a bartender who can serve up a good Baudelaire (spiced rum, ginger, honey syrup and lemon). Or you could choose from a list of 18 or more delectable wines from France and Italy to accompany your meal.

The perfect item off the menu to start with would be a generous variety of “tapas”. Along with a bowl topped with deep fried potatoes sliced into thin, crispy strands, the well-seasoned beef tartar that comes with it gives your taste buds a spin. And unlike the usual calamari most restaurants serve, Marcel opts to stir-fry them with chorizo and pastis, giving them a light crunch.

Although they don’t have the taste of perfection, Marcel’s appetizers and mains still leaves your stomach satisfied. The goat cheese salad gets a thumbs up and would have gotten full marks if more

walnuts and better greens were added. The lamb short loin is also wonderfully tasty with tender meat, save for the stone-cold carrot puree on our last visit.

One dish that is guaranteed to bring Marcel up to five stars (in our humble opinion) however, is the juicy, plump mussels, served up in a pot with crispy, golden French Fries on the side that is tastefully drizzled with a light mariniere cream sauce packed with flavor.

Their food isn’t the only thing there is to be offered at Marcel’s. The French partner/manager stays a vigilant figure in the bistro and the waiters waste no time in coming to your call. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Paris at the height of the early 2000s with the electro house soundtrack driving along the atmosphere as you wine and dine, along with the comforting presence of the central bar.

Unlike the grumpy old men that seemed to be the image of Gaellic restaurateurs in the past, Marcel is often bustling with a mix of local and foreigners, most of whom are Francophones. So if there’s a chance you want to speak French with a new friend, Marcel is the place for you to make your acquaintance.

La Table de Tee, Bangkok

Frequent visitors to Thailand often sing praises of its vibrant streets and its status as a veritable paradise for food-lovers. Past the bustling hawker stalls in the main roads, there are countless hidden gems just out of sight, perfect for the adventurous traveler to uncover. Just minutes away from the BTS and MRT stops on Silom Road; Bangkok, down a back-alley path on Soi Sala Daeng, you will find La Table de Tee. A French restaurant whose culinary works of art marries the best of French cuisine to favourite local flavours and is sure to delight even the most discerning of palates. The best part? It’s unlikely to burn a hole in your pocket.

The setting is simple, yet tasteful with red wood furnishings aside sky blue walls. Photographs showcasing the heart and soul of the city provide a homely touch to the atmosphere. Visitors making their way up the stairs are offered a peek into the world of the team and their craft. The restaurant is named after Tee Kachonklin, the brain child of the establishment. After training in London for six years, the young Thai Chef found similarities in the many rich flavours of the west, and returned to set up his own restaurant which pays homage to both classic Thai and French cooking techniques using locally sourced ingredients. The set menu changes on a weekly basis.

The typical tasting set is a five-course meal and a steal at only 1,150 baht (not inclusive of service charge) per person. Though portion sizes are adequate for the average diner, it is easy to lose oneself in the burst of sensational flavor and freshness. The first course usually starts with a soup and we were lucky enough to try the Tiger Prawn and Cumin Soup, packed with huge succulent prawns accompanied by a serving of Pasta a Riso, teased with crunchy bacon bites in a creamy cauliflower soup. The next course was a perfect combination of thick balsamic dressing drizzled over slices of pink duck, accompanied by firm asparagus tips and sweet char-grilled red peppers. For the third course, we were presented with a choice of either Mushroom Risotto or a Pink Bream with Garlic. I chose the fish. Served in bite-sized cuts, the bream was seared to perfection. With a warming hint of spice, the fish is covered in a rich, smoky tomato reduction and paired with thick cubes of courgetti and aubergine. Finally, the main course which was nothing short of spectacular. Black Angus and Ginger; the fillet is served medium-rare with potato and foie gras purée, mushrooms and needle beans. Simple, yet such a splendor in rich flavors and tenderness. For diners who love wine with their red meat, you will be happy to know that they offer a decent wine menu. With glasses starting at only 240 baht, choose between Thai, French or New World selections. The cocktail menu is short but they make up for it with very decent and strong mixes. And lastly for non-alcoholic fans, their Shirley Temple is a lovely choice.

Every food adventure is almost obligated to end with a sweet note. And it is truly what I look forward to the most at the end of a meal. We were asked to choose again at dessert and I picked a mixed berry parfait. An assortment of colours greeted me as layers of lime ice-cream, shortbread and berry mousse, spilling with sweet frozen grapes and strawberries topped with a crisp chocolate tuille. As I ended the night with an order of their delicious aromatic coffee, a befitting close to a fantastic meal and service, the friendly staff surprises again with fresh fruit jelly and a macaroon. Extremely stuffed and not a crumb left later, I found myself already looking forward to my next visit.

Do take note that La Table de Tee is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 18:30 to 22:30pm.
Reservations are a must, with a maximum capacity of only 20 diners and Saturday night slots often filling a week in advance. So be sure to book ahead of your visit.

Siam Botanicals, Bangkok

We have reached the age where there are options available to us. TONS of options. Chances to exercise our own autonomy.

And in this age of chemically-enhanced products, where chickens are fed growth hormones, and where China consumers are flocking to Hong Kong to purchase quality milk powder, we are also inundated with chemically-enhanced products that might not always serve to nourish our bodies. Instead of seeking to chemically alter fundamentals of products, why not restore it to its original state?

Using natural products not only serve to eliminate artificial chemicals, it also incorporates ALL-NATURAL botanical ingredients with benefits synthetic alternatives can only hope to emulate. Become one with the nature, as they say. Bringing a new dimension to this game is Siam Botanicals’ skincare range. Incorporating facial care, body scrubs, oils for massage and body, bath salts, soaps and shampoos, it offers a one-stop platform to pamper and rejuvenate your body with the spoils of nature.

With natural cold pressed oils and herbs, flower and fruit extracts a key component of their ingredient list, Siam Botanicals prides itself on offering the best of nature—with 100% confidence. Moreover, every aspect of their product is so in line with the ethos of being with nature that they take extra care to manufacture their products with simple packaging to reduce their environmental footprint. With such meticulous detail-oriented care, and such dedication to procuring all-natural ingredients, Siam Botanicals surely is set to bring a new plethora of quality products to satisfy the new generation of consumers.

Harvest, Bangkok

HARVEST:  EMBRACE YOUR “FARM-TO-TABLE” EXPERIENCE

Reminisce the good’ old days where snuggly, noisy homecooked fares were never enough?

I remembered plucking tomatoes and pruning cherries during a summer’s vacation off my grand old dame’s barn. Boy, it was arduous moments of my childhood but oddly fulfilling and pleasurable.

A day at Harvest boasts a memorable re-visit to your grandmother’s house all over again! The bucolic beauty of this venue had once again dawned upon me that food need not be complicated to be good.  Nature is at its best, and if we are attentive to it, there is much to be learned.

This 65-seater, roomy and idyllic restaurant satiates all hungry folks with a kindred touch of passion and care. Nestling between a conventional yet noble (Yes, right. An absolute paradox) menu of mouth-watering and light-hearted dishes, you’ll wish you had made reservations to pop-by sooner.

Aside from the delectable degustation menu, Harvest also has aperitifs that are palatable and visually charming. You can be sure it is no mean feat for the friendly bar personnel over the counter to craft a drink tailored to your taste buds.

The ultimate formula for dining at HARVEST will be to show up at your life’s feast, parting blessed with an open heart and a warm spirit.

Bo.lan, Bangkok

Located in Bangkok’s trendy Sukhumvit district, is Bo.lan, a Thai restaurant like no other. Started by couple Dungaporn ”Bo” Songvisava and Dylan Jones – the name of the restaurant comes from the amalgamation of Duangporn’s nickname “Bo” and the second syllable of her husband’s first name (lan) – the eight year old restaurant has achieved rave reviews including a listing on  S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant.

 

Bo.lan is part of a movement which aims to bring back the authenticity in Thai cuisine. The restaurant’s name is almost similar in sound to the Thai word “Boran” which means vintage, ancient or traditional and despite the contemporary spin of its dishes, the restaurant is able to maintain the authentic “Thainess” which it so prides itself upon.

You might wonder how authentically Thai can a restaurant co-founded by a “farang” (Thai term for a person of European ancestry) be?  Chef Dylan, who hails from Australia, speaks fluent Thai and was already an accomplished Thai chef before setting up Bo.lan. So passionate is he and his wife about Thai cuisine that they even host their own weekly cooking show on Thai TV.

Patrons to Bo.lan are impressed upon its attention to authenticity the moment they arrive. Housed in an old Thai building, the design and décor of the stylish, low-lit restaurant interior takes inspiration from a traditional Thai house. Once inside, guests are warmly greeted and served by Bo.lan’s service staff in a manner of hospitality which the Thais are renowned for.

The restaurant’s menu changes every few months depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients. To maintain the food’s authentic Thai flavour, the chefs’ ensure that only fresh, premium local ingredients are used. Items on the menu includes otherwise rare Thai dishes such as Meang Maprang, an appetizer which is a heavenly concoction of plum mango, toasted coconut, lime, ginger, tiny dried shrimp, and sweet sauce.

All this authenticity does come at a price and the set menu for lunch will typically set you back by around 1200 Thai Baht (USD 34). That will give you a fairly sumptuous meal of a salad, soup, stir fry, curry and dessert (served with a choice of brown or jasmine rice). If you’re looking for a cheap Thai meal, this restaurant is definitely not for you. Authenticity also means that some of the dishes may be a tad too spicy especially if you’re unfamiliar with Thai cuisine.

For those of us who have experienced watered down and adulterated Thai food in our cities and think that’s all that Thai cuisine has to offer, then the restaurant is a definitely must visit. If you’re intending to have a meal there the next time you’re in Bangkok, do note that the restaurant can be quite busy at times. Do call in or go their website to make a reservation at least a few days in advance.


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