I’m sure many of our readers and Bangkok foodies are familiar with Le Beaulieu already. But if you’re not, Le Beaulieu is a very well known French restaurant in Bangkok. It also has just move to a new venue at the ground floor of the Athenee Tower. Since its soft opening in November it has been the talk of the town. We had to experience ourselves to see what everyone is talking about.
We arrived at a space with free standing rectangular shape lamps with a small logo indicating LB. The space was filled with these lamps which created a strange red tone ambiance with the DJ spinning light dance beat. The general manager khun Qeuntin Fougeroux came to greet us. We’ve met before; he was a restaurant manager at one of the leading hotel in Sukhumvit area. Since then he move to Dubai to work with Jumeirah hotels, now he is back in Bangkok. He is very polite and humble not like any foreign restaurant manager I’ve met. After getting acquainted, Q’s light French accent suggested some champagne.
Amuse Bouche; foie gras terrine and pork belly
After a glass of champagne, we move to our dining table on the mezzanine floor. The dining space is double height with wooden spiral staircase and floor to ceiling glass wall opens out to the lobby of the Athenee Towers.
Jean-Max Roger was paired with the entrees.
The menu is a big one page with 10 entrees, 3 soup, 4 seafood, 7 meat and 10 desserts to choose from. We started with Plancha Britany Scallops salad with Chorizo sauce (1250). Chef Herve Frerard the key person that drives Le Beaulieu to the fame it has today, has the scallops imported from Brittany fresh (not frozen). They are also dive scallops which are hand pick under strong currents. They are tastier than normal scallop from fishing nets. The scallops were perfectly seared with a very distinct sea taste. As you can see from the photo the searing caused a maillard reaction on the scallops that makes the surface dark brown. With perfecting this cooking technique and high quality ingredients makes a big difference to the same menu from other restaurants that did not get the cooking technique skills or the high quality ingredients.
Next was the sautéed frog legs with persillade sauce (850). The frog legs were deep fried; crispy outside moist inside, by itself it was already good. What made it more extremely enjoyable were the fresh herbs (thyme, garlic, parsley) from the persillade sauce and the rocket. To add even more, squeeze in some lemon juice. It was beautiful marriage, the sauce with the lemon made the simple dish complex and intriguing.
For soup we had Bouillabaiss, Garlic Croutons, and rouille sauce (490). The soup was very hot with intense flavors; it shows it from the dark brown color of the soup. In the bowl, there was a big piece of tasty fish. It was satisfying in a way but it was also too salty.
When we were deciding what to have for main course, it was pretty obvious “LB Cote de Boeuf (5500)”. It was the only item in the menu that had the initial of the restaurant Le Beaulieu on it. It was a no brainer even though it came with a big price tag. The steak was very large, 1.2 kg. it was meant to be shared for 2 but for me, I think 4 is more like it. I’m smiling when I think the word “Cote de Boeuf” because it was really good. The beef had a thick dark crust thicker than other steaks I’ve had. It was the tasty part, and it was almost crispy. Inside was red and tender. Chewing on this beef was very sensational. I never had a steak like this. Chef Herve told us this particular menu. “The beef was a Tasmanian black angus. The piece used was part of the rib. It was dry aged in control temperature to make the beef tender. The dry part was trimmed off and cut into smaller pieces, approximately 1.2 kg. From start to this process overall lost of beef is 65 percent. It was Sous vide at 58.5 c for 50 min then put into freezer at – 30 degrees for 1.5 hour. The beef is left to be at room temperature then cooked in low heat at 175 degrees for 45 minutes (this is why there was such a thick crust) then rest for 30 minutes before serving.” The process wasn’t as simple as how the food looks, but the results were rewarding.
the steak came with sauteed potatoes, vegetables and gravy
Ubi Mensa (Lalane de Pomerol) 2009 went very well with the beef
Our experience at Le Beaulieu did confirm the reason why it’s been the talk of the town. It’s the food; simple food, high quality ingredients and cooking technique. The only way to find out; how good? is just by coming here.
Text by: Vasu Srivarathanabul Ph.D.