As I promised you on my birthday’s mobile update that a full version of my dinner at Le Normandie, Mandarin Oriental, will be coming soon, so here it is! As you may already know, it’s probably one of the most famous restaurant in Thailand and probably one of the last few with a dress code. The hotel’s site describes the restaurant to have “legendary haute cuisine and exceptional wine cellar, impeccable service, and elegant ambience.” What could be a more perfect venue for my birthday dinner than this place since I wanted something extra special to celebrate my first birthday back in Thailand in 5 years. But, mind you, when I said special, I’m not only talking about exceptional food, I’m also looking for amazing unpretentious service, which is probably what makes Le Normandie so special and heads above many other French restaurants in town – their warm and friendly service despite being a very old-school upscale venue.
Every single part of my dinner was perfect, and i rarely use that word. Although I normally dislike having multiple servers serving one table. The Oriental did an amazing job training them to intergrate their service seamlessly into our meals, and although the servers were always there to attend our every need -our chairs were always pulled and our champagne flutes were never empty – but never once did we feel interrupted by them. Special thank you to Mr. Somkid, who was taking care of our table and was probably one of the sweetest server we have ever had. He’s been with the hotel since forever and he just epitomizes what the service mentality of the Oriental is all about.
Our meal started off with really nice assortment of breads – brioche, baguette, rye, garlic, olive – that were offered to us throughout the meal. They were so delicious but I had to exercise some self control in order to be able to reach my main course without having to reach for some pepto bismol. Although the restaurant offers to die for 6-course and 4-course tasting menus. My family does not like to eat too much in terms of quantity, so we stuck with a la carte.
Before our dishes came, there was a little amuse-bouche of cranberry jelly and deep fried cod fish mousse. For appetizers, the menu offers two different foie gras dishes –braised rougie foie gras with raspberry brandy & marbled moulard foie gras with tarte tatin. With foie gras being my mom’s favorite, she could not decide on which one to get. So Mr. Somkid offered to make her a trio of foie gras, so that she could have a little bit of both plus a foie gras tortellini. While the rest of us ordered the velvet vegetable cappuccino soup with truffle oil and greey Puy lentils. My soup was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, not only was it super pretty served in a martini class with pink and yellow foam on top, it was extremely fragrant and flavorful – definitely a must try! My mom also enjoyed her appetizers very much.
For our main course, my parents and my boyfriend all wanted steaks but could not choose from the two choices of strip loin of wagyu sous-vide (yay!) with vegetables puree Parmentier style with pepper sauce or the Chateaubriand of Salers beef with traditional condiments and truffle sauce (for two.) So, again, Mr, Somkid was a dear and offered to portion the two dishes for three people for us which worked out perfectly for my parents and boyfriend. It seemed like the chateaubriand was the favorite of all three of them with the beef being more flavorful; but both were really good. To be a little different, I decided to go with the roasted rack, breaded saddle, and shank navarin of Sisteron lamb which was served with a side of lamb shank and white bean stew. The lamb was tender and flavorful without, even my dad, who does not like lamb, thought it was great.
And then my favorite time of the meal came – the cheese cart and the dessert cart! However, we were all stuffed so my parents decided to skip the cheese course to make room for dessert. But I wanted to try some cheese so Mr.Somkid gave me small portions of the brie, camembert, soft goat cheese, and soft blue cheese to try. The cheeses were served with fruit breads, preserves, and dried fruits. And finally the dessert cart rolled around, my heart skipped a beat at the sight of all the delicious-looking cakes such as chocolate mousse cake, mixed fruit tart, coffee tart, white chocolate cake, Gianduja to name a few. But the thing that won me over was the absolutely stunning square-shaped apple tart, fresh out of the oven. As soon as the aroma from this beauty hit my nose, I was sold! We also ordered the gianduja and the raspberry mousse cake to try.
By the time we finished dessert, as I was busy trying to jot down all the details of the meal into a notebook to share with you guys. Mr.Somkid brought out a cake, as another server carried out a bunch of balloons with cupcakes and my names on them (courtesy of my lovely boyfriend whom had to beg the hotel security to let him take balloons into the restaurant,) while the third server politely asked for our cameras to document the lovely moment for us without us needing to ask. What a wonderful end to a memorable meal! A dish of petit fours was brought out also, but, sadly, I was too full by that time to try some. As we were leaving we also got some baguettes in their own little pouches complete with handles and some chocolates to take home. After all this, you could only think “how could one not fall in love with this place?” cuz I’m sure in love with it already!
P.S.I forgot to mention that the pianist at the restaurant is unbelievably talented. Eventhough he’s blind, he was able to play every single song my dad requested. And trust me, my dad’s taste in music is far from mainstream!
P.P.S. Please take a look at mynew facebook page if you haven’t gotten a chance to: http://www.facebook.com/mysousvidelife Thank you!
48 Oriental Avenue,
Bangkok 10500, Thailand