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Le Normandie @ Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

oriental

Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok has such a long history, in all its 135 years it has seen numerous dignitaries and celebrities making it their preferred hotel through the years. My first encounter with Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was through its humble bakery counter at Central Chidlom. It was their boxes of white chocolate macadamia cookies that stole my heart years back.

door

Stamp of approval all over.

interior

The Author's Lounge where a leisurely high tea is encouraged, I witnessed a cosy wedding party being held and secretly harboured hopes of a future wedding there! Perfect white furniture and comes with the oh-so-romantic flight of stairs and balcony! Reminds me of that famous balcony scene with Romeo and Juliet.

le normandie

Service is top notch world class from the moment we stepped in. I had the pleasure of having a door man walk me to the lift.

I usually do not eat French when I'm abroad, France not withstanding after the subpar experience in Ho Chi Minh which till this day I question how much influence the French Collonial rule had over the french cuisine. Yet for Le Normandie, I have been dreaming of a lunch or even dinner since yonks ago and finally squeezed in enough time for this despite being in a country where spending beyond 300 baht per person on a meal is extravagant.

Reservations for lunch was done a week in advance, they are closed on Sundays so that rules out the ultimate holy grail of a lazy brunch. They have a no-show policy - sign off a form with my credit card details so in the event of a cancellation without ample notice or no show, I will be charged the full sum of the meal. The caveat being, the base charge of a set lunch at 1050 baht per person before taxes. OUCH. The lengths such restaurants go to ensure attendance is too strict for comfort. I have yet to encounter a Michelin star restaurant imposing such rules. That, was the first brush of distaste.

chandelier

Insanely intricate chandelier!


transporter


I requested for a cosy corner and was conveniently allocated one without their famous Chao Praya river view. Numerous attempts were made to their waiters which naturally fell on deaf ears until a table decided not to proceed with lunch did we get the chance.


chao praya river

Lunching by Chao Praya River is quite an experience, seeing cement being transported on long boats and tourists taking the boats from one end to another...interesting. The waiters did a fine job on explaining the menu though service is a tad contrived. Spotted a fake LV bag somewhere, yet another table had a heavily made up lady in huge bouncy curls sneaking me a smug look as she placed her prized Chanel on the chair. The clientele of Le Normandie stretches both extremes so I figure their service levels are catered mainly for the latter.

mirror

In all its grandeur.

grandeur

Spirits over lunch was indeed to early an affair.

view

Empty tables that were soon filled.

flowers

Even the table posies seemed extra pretty.

plate

Plates with their emblem!

le normandie

Handstitched menus.

menu

Set lunch for most with ala carte having limited options.

butter

Even their butter gets a stamp of Normandie.

rock salt x olive

Rock salt and olive bread!

bread

Onion loaf, butter roll and olive.

bread2

More carbs-a-loading.

bread3

The prettyfully shaped baguette and whole grain bun.

bread4

The complimentary bread basket was great joy - the numerous options available. The more memorable ones were olive bread and rock salt. Both had a lovely crustry symphony and bite. The rest were either too soft or rock hard. They served up unsalted french butter to go with it. Refills were done readily and piping hot, score!

 green

Amuse bouche of celeriac soup.Celeriac's are a form of celery.

celeriac soup

I remember seeing the same design at Pique Nique! The soup had robust flavour - a rich slightly sour and creamy broth. Whets the appetite greatly!

salmon mousseline

Salmon variations, Tartare, Confit, Mousseline, Parsley Jus

Beautifully plated, was the first thought I had. Mildly salted smoked salmon. I thought the quickly seared confit was done pretty well without being thoroughly cooked. The sorbet was amazing! Savoury sorbet hit all notes on the right spot, so did the crispy parmesan chip which was intricately done.

salmon trio

The mousseline was queer though, almost like a thickened beancurd with salmon flavouring. The gravy poured onto it was quite a mystery of its own which the waiter mumbled yet it went quite well as a whole.

It baffled me that there were no soup options for appetizer but with two out of four coming with a separate broth, I finally understood why.

 oxtail

Oxtail Parmentier, Ravigote, Horseradish, Rosemary Jus

Yet another gorgeously put together art piece. The oxtail was done three ways - stewed with parmentier which was essentially mashed potato, stuffed in a breaded ball that reminded me of bitterballen in germany and cured beef. The ravigote sauce gave this a sour acidic touch, nice! You need to like stewed beef to adore this.

duck breast

Roasted Duck Breast, Orange and Carrot Puree, Mandarin Napolean Pan-Jus

Arrived in what looked like a duck trunk, slicing it open revealed an amazing pink. I find it hard to fathom and appreciate the texture of this duck breast though.

duck

Somewhat crunchy and tender passing it off easier as lamb than duck, honestly. Tasted a little like smoked duck. The accompanying mash and puree were exciting on the palette - including the seasoned carrot and zesty tones emphasised by orange peel and slices. This was an in-between sweet and savoury dish.

sea bream

Poached Sea Bream, Stewed Vegetables, Vin Jaune Sabayon

I have not stopped being wowed by the colours and presentation of the dishes. The first thing that struck were the black cubes - turned out to be poached ginger. Fresh as can be sea bream that melted away in the mouth. Well executed dish with an equally delecatable sauce.

pork

Braised Pork Filet in Aromatic Herbs, Preserved Belly, Coco de Paimpol Beans

pork with gravy

The sauce for this resembled the oxtail. Presented in numerous ways once again, the stewed pork belly was quite an ingenious creation! Inspite of the rolls of fat, this was a good take on sio bak without the cackling. Bacon chips were a good replacement of hand cut potato chips.

dessert trolley

My eyes twinkled in such delight!

lemon curd tart

Gorgeously torched, I thought this was a creme brulee tart.

strawberry tart

Fruit tarts are always so pleasing on the eye!

fruit cut

Even the watermelon carving looks great!

choc cake

Chocolate never goes wrong.

Dessert Trolley

This got me all restless in my seat from the very start of the meal. The trouble they take to wheel over the trolley, explain what each dessert is then proceed to plate it with a customized floral design made from vanilla cream and either chocolate, mango or strawberry sauce! Two thumbs up for creativity but this came at an expense of the longer than normal waiting time for dessert.




mango sliced

You can have nearly everything you see on the trolley - fruits included. I was expecting the mango to be served in a mindblowing design of a flying phoenix or a flower at least after all the attention paid to details throughout the meal but nope, sliced in a manner even my father would have no problems replicating. Still warm, the mango was as ordinary as can be - a huge cry from those served with sticky rice or the kilo worth of roadside mangoes that we lugged back which is another tale of its own!

For the light eaters, there are lower calorie options of poached pears and peaches with syrup though I truly do not understand how less sinful is fruits sunbathing in sugar syrup can be as opposed to a slice of cake. The trolley featured a good variety of fudge, mousse cakes and tarts.

rose

An early Valentine's Day gift from Le Normandie - my rose looks so realistic!

fruit tarts

Lemoncurd Tart

The custard was pleasant though lemon curd was too acidic.

strawberry tart

Strawberry Tart

This hot favourite fared alot better than the lemon curd tart though I wish the strawberries were sweeter. Buttery pastry and once again delicious custard.

strawberry mousse x choc cake

Chocolate cake

Decadent multi layer chocolate fudge cake done so right.

Raspberry Mousse

Did not mind the jam-jelly layers that much. To begin with, I am not a mousse fan so this did not convert me.

lemon tart x choco cake


Doubles of the tart and chocolate cake!

lemon mousse

Lemon Basil Mousse

The mousse had a marshmellow foamy texture and basil was mostly ornamental. Not too bad.

macarons

Mocha and Le Normandie Macaroons

macarons stacked

Stacking up macarons is always such joy.

Raspberry, blueberry, pistachio and vanilla were served up. Personal favourite goes to vanilla for dense flavour and chewy innards while the rest were sugary sweet crumbly. Least favourite was blueberry for being too artificially sweet. The non-fruity flavours were more outstanding.

coffee

Coffee.

tea

Tea.

brown sugar

A tray of brown sugar, white sugar and milk gets brought to you for selection.


The sommelier is from France who has worked at Le Nicolas Restaurant in Singapore! He shared tidbits of his life in France and Singapore and was most friendly throughout the meal. 

For once, I sat through a leisurely two hour lunch on a vacation. Hardly do I take things so slow but it was well worth the experience. Credit has to be given for details paid to every dish right down to dessert. Reservations are highly recommended as their full occupancy would sit twenty snugly. A minimum of two hours is expected for lunch with the pacing done so leisurely. Business lunches are definitely out of the question.

Le Normandie has hits and misses. Overall a memorable experience.

macaron

Spied these huge lifesized macarons!

Dropped by the bakery to pick up the cookies I missed so much.

cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies (330 THB)

These used to be large soft cookies packed with white chocolate chunks and macadamia clusters. Now, they are reduced to nearly half the size and double the thickness and much crumblier than remembered. Seemed to have lost some of its greatness.

oriental bakery

Perfect for gifting!

cookies

Chocolate Chip and Cashew Cookies (180THB)

Hard to miss buttery fragrance, these crumbly biscuits were decent yet a tad sweet.

Their cookies have a shelf life of about two weeks and are advised to be consumed upon 24 hours of opening. They have followed in the footsteps of Crabtree and Evelyn for lifestyle products with the packaging especially. Great for souvenirs.

lobby

Loved the decor in the main lobby!

hat

Their bellboy outfits are tres cute!

Mandarin Oriental, one hotel chain regardless of which country continues to wow on alot of levels especially ambience and service. Will be back for their famed high tea someday!


Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

4 comments:

  1. "You can have nearly everything you see on the trolley." Just my kind of dessert! I want everything! But why "nearly"?

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  2. hahaha they limit you to two portions only! and i'm not thaksin's daughter...HAHAHA. else I can even have the trolley!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi i wish to try this when i am in bangkok, can you share how much was the set lunch menu?

    ReplyDelete
  4. @anon: was about SGD 50 each! do make reservations and specify river view! hope that helps~~

    ReplyDelete