I wanted to dine here the last time I was in Bangkok with Precious but I went down with stomach flu. This trip, Le Normandie was the first stop for our culinary adventure in Bangkok.
Since its establishment in 1958, Le Normandie has been renowned as the pinnacle of French fine dining in Thailand, a connoisseur’s dream where the finest cuisine, impeccable service and elegance combine. Le Normandie is located inside the historical Mandarin Oriental Bangkok (formerly known as The Oriental) and offers timeless class where we can feel the beauty from the extolling building.
Built in 1876, John le Carré completed The Honourable Schoolboy during his stay at The Oriental, W Somerset Maugham wrote about his bout with malaria during his stay at The Oriental in The Gentleman in the Parlour and Barbara Cartland named one of the heroines in Sapphires in Siam after an Oriental employee. The Oriental became one of the jewels of the Far East, together with The Raffles in Singapore and The Peninsula in Hong Kong.
Awarded two Michelin stars every year since the Bangkok guide’s inaugural edition, Le Normandie is acclaimed for contemporary French cuisine and its outstanding wine collection. Situated on the top floor of the hotel’s Chao Phraya Wing, through its floor-to-ceiling windows, Le Normandie offers breathtaking views over the magical river.
Since 1 December 2021, Chef Alain Roux from The Waterside Inn took over as their Chef Patron. The Waterside Inn has retained three Michelin Stars for 38 years, the only restaurant outside of France to achieve this extraordinary culinary recognition. The restaurant is renamed Le Normandie by Alain Roux and continues delighting diners with exceptional French haute cuisine.
Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier waved goodbye in 2021 to a long and lauded nine-year stint as head chef of Le Normandie, which he steered to two-Michelin-star recognition in 2017. Taking over and maintaining the 2 Stars rating was none other than Alain Roux and his protege Phil Hickson.
Chef Alain Roux
Chef Alain Roux, son of the late Chef Michel Roux O.B.E., continues and elevates The Roux cooking dynasty. After an apprenticeship in pastry, Alain spent many years working in some of France’s most notable Michelin-starred restaurants. Joining his father’s legendary Thameside restaurant in Bray – The Waterside Inn in 1992, Alain worked through the ranks before becoming joint Chef Patron with his father in 2000. A couple of years later, Alain took over and has led the team until present. Since 2000, Alain has been a Master Pâtisserie in the International Association Relais Desserts, ranking him one of only 100 listed best pastry Chefs in the world.
The late Michel Roux was awarded the honourary O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) title by HM Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his notable culinary achievements. This photo of the legendary maestro was taken in 2014 during one of his many joint food promotions at Le Normandie. Today, the French fine dining restaurant he had enjoyed an enduring love affair with now flourishes with the direction of his son and rebranded Le Normandie by Alain Roux.
Head Chef Phil Hickman is a product of a decade of Roux mentorship. He has more than twenty years’ experience, half of which has been spent working alongside Alain Roux at The Waterside Inn. Chef Phil grew up and began his career in Wales. He staged at some famous Michelin-starred restaurants including Noma in Copenhagen.
Le Menu Gastronomique
This is their standard degustation menu with the classics from The Waterside Inn with a few seasonal items added for good measure. The seven-course menu is available both at lunch and dinner.
Melon With Parmesan Crust And Toast With Chicken Pate, Date Chutney And Hazelnut
The amuse bouche arrived promptly after the first drinks were served. It consisted of two small bites on a pristine white napkin. The sweet locally sourced cantaloupe melon sweetened with a floral syrup was paired with a salty cheesy crust. The chicken liver pate was topped with a slight bit of sweet date chutney and sprinkled with crushed fresh hazelnut. Nice little bites, but nothing that wowed me yet.
The first bread service of the meal was a simple Pain de mie (soft uncrowned sweet bread) with bits of olives, served with unsalted artisan le Buerre Bordier and sea salt from Samut Sakhon, which the waiter warned us they were very salty. The fresh, warm bread was extraordinarily simple and yet delicious.
The best way to enjoy Le Bordier butter from Brittany according to Jean-Yves Bordier is to put a generous dollop on the side of the toast or bread and take a big bite off it to totally fill your mouth with the creaminess. The version we had was unsalted, so we were advised to put a little of the hand-harvested sea salt from Samut Sakhon. Salted or not, the butter with the bread was ab fab!
The second amuse bouche was a cold gazpacho like shot with octopus and sun-dried tomatoes. Very refreshing in the hot and humid weather of Bangkok, the octopus was done perfectly tender and yet not mushy. There was only enough for a tasting portion, this amuse bouche could stand on its own as a course.
And then the main bread for the meal was served, a sourdough made from the same mother yeast brought from the Waterside Inn for that link with the sister restaurant. Crusty but with a pillowy centre, the sourdough was great to mop the sauces from the plate.
Terrine De Foie Gras Au Blanc De Volaille Enrobé De Pistaches, Grains De Raisins En Ratafia
Terrine Of Foie Gras And Chicken Breast Coated In Pistachio Nuts. Grapes Marinated In Ratafia
Ratafia liquor is a fortified wine that is often used as a flavour essence because of the maceration of multiple ingredients. A bit like sherry used in cooking, the ratafia was used here as a poaching liquid for the grapes, reduced and served as a condiment to the fatty foie gras terrine. The sweet, complex flavour of the ratafia went very well with the terrine. The sous vide chicken breasts blended in terms of texture with the foie gras enhanced with cognac, and the mousse was perfect with the tiny piece of toast. I only wished there was another piece of toast.
Queues De Langoustines Grillée Au Binchotan, Sauce Nantua À La Verveine
Grilled Langoustines Tail Over Binchotan Charcoal, Lemon Verbena Nantua Sauce
Nantua is a creamy seafood sauce made with the head of the langoustines, along with cream into a basic Béchamel sauce infused with lemony verbena. This is served with two pieces of langoustines tails, one grilled over binchotan flame, and the other wrapped with shiso leaf and deep fried as a tempura. I preferred the tempura version over the grilled one, as the grilled on was slightly dried out.
Pavé De Saumon Sauvage De L’adour Poché, Riz Pilaf Et Vinaigrette Tiède Verdurette
Poached Fillet Of Wild Adour Salmon. “Pilaf” Rice And Warm Herb Vinaigrette
Saumon Sauvage de l’Adour is one of the last wild salmons that can be caught in European freshwater, in the basin of the Adour; the salmons hatch in the Adour, then live in the sea for a few years, and return up the rivers of the Aquitaine when adult to spawn and thus reproduce. This wild line-caught salmon was specially supplied to Le Normandie and The Waterside Inn by the fishermen of Adour; only fishermen are licensed to catch them.
The salmon has been my least favourite fish in the cooked form as they tend to dry out. It wasn’t the case here as the fish remained moist despite flaky. Served the herb vinaigrette poured over the salmon, the fish went better with the sour cream sauce provided. Unpolished pilaf rice rounded up the plate.
Tronconnette De Homard Bleu De Bretagne Poêlée Minute Au Porto Blanc
Pan-Fried Britany Blue Lobster Medallion With Ginger Flavoured Vegetable Julienne, White Port Sauce
A monumental dish that has stood the test of time, this pan-fried lobster is proudly served as one of the signature dishes. The bright crimson lobster was plated alongside ginger-flavoured vegetable julienne and white port sauce, combining to exhibit tempting aromas and welcoming diners to taste Michel Roux O.B.E.’s famous creation.
You can almost swear that it tasted like a Chinese tzechar lobster dish with the use of ginger and the hot wokhei in the finished dish. Again this was a tasting menu, so the portion was quite small, only a segment of the tail was served. The sauce was so delicious, I mopped it all up with the sourdough bread.
Carre D’agneau De Lozere Roti Sous Une Croüte D’herbes, Bayaldi De Legumes Et Jus Au Romarin
Roasted Rack Of Lozere Lamb With A Herb Crust, Vegetable Bayaldi And Rosemary Scented Jus
Imported from the Lozère region of Occitanie, France, the “Blanche du Massif” lamb is gently roasted until perfection. It is served with a pressed potato terrine and a byaldi of ratatouille vegetables before completed with a white wine jus infused with aromatic herbs that bind all flavours together.
Bayaldi style vegetables is a variation on the classic ratatouille from Provence, and it was really pretty look at. Everything was pretty, but I wished there were more lamb. The single piece was so tender and juicy that I begged for more please.
Tournedos De Boeuf Wagyu Poêlé, Tatin Aux Échalotes Et Champignons Sautés, Jus À La Sarriette
Pan-Fried Fillet Of Wagyu Beef, Shallot Tatin, Sautéed Mushrooms And Savory Jus
Precious opted for the wagyu beef, and thankfully gave me half of it to compensate for my “lack” of lamb in my plate. The fillet of wagyu beef from Australia was done to a perfect medium rare.
Served with three small pieces of mushrooms, a small tart with caramelised shallots filling and a bed of vegetable and some snow peas, the accompaniments were quite underwhelming.
Sorbet Au Basilic Et Espuma Passion
Basil Sorbet With Passion Fruit Espuma
The first dessert combined a palate cleanser with a dessert.
Soufflé Chaud Aux Framboises
Warm Raspberry Soufflé
An elegant dessert to end any special meal, our raspberry soufflé combines well-balanced notes of sweet and sour perfectly presented in every velvety bite. We were mesmerised by the familiar airy rise of this French classic made by their seasoned pâtissiers.
Assortiment De Mignardises
Assortment Of Mignardises
Petit fours were derived from 19th century France as bite-sized tea-time delights. The name comes from the French for “little oven” and, traditionally, chefs would bake miniature pastries using heat from cooling down ovens. Tiny but mighty, these petit fours created from Chef Alain Roux’s patisserie brilliance are served To signal the end of the meal.
This being a lunch date, we decided to go easy and just picked one each to go with the menu.
Grand Vin De Bordeaux Silver Bell 2015 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
The 2015 vintage for Saint-Émilion was, like for the rest of Bordeaux, truly excellent. The 2015 vintage is medium-bodied but rich in flavour. The general profile ranged from intense red and black forest fruit and bramble notes to mushroom, floral and even saline notes. The tannins tended to be smooth, refined and perfectly countered by fresh acidity making for sophisticated, elegant structures.
Josmeyer Riesling Le Dragon 2019
Josmeyer Riesling Le Dragon is a biodynamic white wine made on lees by Domaine Josmeyer in the AOC Alsace (France) with the Riesling variety.
The 2019 s a white wine with citrus notes and mineral touches. On the palate it is flavoursome, fresh and elegant. A wine with a great structure, delicious acidity and a persistent finish.
Le Normandie is a fantastic, and amazingly beautiful restaurant. What makes this place one of the best in the world is the service, the ambiance, and the view. I thanked the entire team for their amazing service, which made this lunch a very memorable one.
Price is not cheap but expected in such a renowned location and place. Things however do add up very quickly with drinks and various mineral water. Le Normandie is currently closed for an annual makeover during the summer, and will reopen in fall (22 Aug 2023). Meanwhile Chef Phil will be back in mothership to work on a new menu, and source for autumn and winter ingredients.
Le Normandie by Alain Roux
48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel : +66 (0) 2 659 9000
Visited Jul 2023
Michelin Bangkok Guide 2 Stars 2017-2023
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