Bangkok is not short of unique dining experiences, cool concepts, classic fine dining and the list goes on. There truly is something for everyone and can be found in the least expected of places. So we were intrigued about this location and what uniqueness it brought to the table, as it were, as they do have the catch phrase “Make every day an occasion at J’AIME”. Well, we certainly wanted to make an occasion of it, as the dining room has a chic cool interior style that gave off a vibe that it was not your average dining space. Jean-Michel Lorain is actually the owner of the Michelin stars Côte Saint Jacques restaurant and hotel in Burgundy and is recognized as one of the most highly respected chefs in France.
Naturally, we had high expectations for our dinner with all this knowledge at hand. We had changed our original reservation which was not fully communicated, which created a little confusion on arrival, but we were promptly seated and so the fine dining experience began. Given that so many new dining destinations are trying to be too clever in their culinary execution, we were looking forward to some beautiful food that would resonate with us because the ingredients will speak for themselves.
A chestnut soup with sherry vinegar and romaine lettuce was incredibly delicious. This dish is all about textures, with the chestnut bread and romaine lettuce providing a beautiful contrast to the soup itself.
Next was a scallop and sea urchin tartare, clams. Local pickled chanterelle, cauliflower and black winter truffle. The presentation was ambitious but visually may not be as “sumptuous” as it looks. But hey, do not judge the book by its cover too soon, such a crafted creation was being thought through and it was a very delicate dish with distinctive flavours that perfectly blended into a homogenous presentation that had so much to say on the palate.
As one of us was not into shellfish, we were served foie gras with radish puree and toasted bread. A total classic French dish with a twist – the radish puree – with rustic and impressive flavours.
It was wonderful to see a pasta dish on the menu: Pennywort pasta gratin, frog legs and declinaison of cabbage and shallot. Pennywort is from the spinach family (a local ingredient) and was the perfect foil for the rich and tender frog legs and the pasta gratin is a great foil to the rich meat and sauce. A triumphant dish!
Steamed Umemadai served with celeriac julienne and truffle butter is another delicious discovery. Umemadai is a white fish akin to sea bass and is very delicate and with a hint of sweetness from its flesh. The other ingredients played a crucial part in creating a very special dish, including a rich sauce that was not too heavy. Unfortunately there were fish scales in one of the servings, but other than that, a superb combination of textures and flavours.
Pan-seared Kamui beef fillet, smoked paprika sautéed potato, capers, tomato confit and black garlic spume was most anticipated. The cut of meat is British Angus beef raised in Japan with lots of TLC and raised very sensitively. The lemon zest and black garlic foam were crucial to elevating this dish. The meat had a superb flavor and we could not get enough of this dish, as the flavor was so moreish!
Before dessert, we were served a taster of olive oil and brown chocolate which piqued our taste buds, with a delicious texture and flavor. Lastly, a dessert of sweet potato, black cardamom and white chocolate to round up the evening with an interesting combination and well executed. There was a richness that was counterbalanced with the other ingredients which we savoured to the last spoonful.
The front of house is helmed by Marine Lorain, the daughter of Jean-Michel and she provided a seamless experience that was to be expected from such a Michelin starred heritage. The service team had a great knowledge of each dish and the food rises above all other considerations with the unmistakable wine pairing that was perfectly judged and we had a memorable evening.