Saturday, March 6, 2010

Superb French Dinner with Pascal Barbot of L'Astrance @ La Scala, Sukothai

After five straight days of meetings and averaging almost three hours of sleep a night the only thing I looked forward to was my flight to Bangkok where May and I have are having dinner at La Scala, Sukothai. This was a special dinner for us because Chef Pascal Barbot and his entire team from L'Astrance, Paris will be cooking at La Scala from the 3rd till the 6th of March.

For those of you who don't know Chef Pascal, he is the chef behind L'Astrance in Paris where his restaurant was awarded three Michelin Stars (the youngest chef to receive such an honor) and is ranked number 11 in the world by Restaurant Magazine's San Pellegrino Best 50 Restaurants of the world in 2009. Seating only 25 people it is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation in Paris where bookings must be made at least two months in advance!

We were lucky to get a reservation on the 6th for 8 pm but had to be seated on the the patio because the restaurant was fully booked. Ironically this wasn't a bad thing. We had the whole patio to ourselves and the weather wasn't hot. The only downside was the dim lighting which forced me to take my food pictures with the aid of flash.

Unlike L'Astrance where Chef Pascal's menu is a daily surprise the menu at La Scala is a fixed Nine Course Dinner with the option to pair the courses with Wine. We opted for just the food since we were not much of a wine connoisseur and waited as our courses unfold through the evening...

Apple Praline Pistachio Cracker, White Truffle Cream with Brioche
1st Course: Apple Praline Pistachio Cracker and White Truffle Cream with Brioche
This was our Amouse Bouche. I loved the earthy smell of the White Truffle infused cream which we spread over our crispy Brioche. The Apple Praline Pistachio Cracker was an intensely flavored mini-appetizer. One is first greeted with the strong Pistachio flavor of the cracker and is then met with the sourness from the Apple Praline that is sandwiched between.

Verjus Marinated Foie Gras Tart, Mushrooms, Roasted Lemon Paste
2nd Course: Verjus Marinated Foie Gras Tart, Mushrooms, Roasted Lemon Puree
One of Chef Barbot's signature dishes the tart consist of thinly sliced mushrooms, apples and two huge slices of Verjus Marinated Foie Gras. One could definitely taste the Foie Gras whose fattiness was cut by the acidity of the lemon paste and thin slices of green apple. It was a very clean and well though out dish.

Jumbo Langoustine, Consomme, Leaves and Flowers from Chiang Mai
3rd Course: Jumbo Langoustine, Consomme, Leaves and Flowers from Chiang Mai
This was one of my favorite courses! The Langoustine was poached in butter and intentionally left a little raw in the middle making it very juicy and tender. It was complemented with the excellent shellfish consomme.

Green Asparagus, Bergamot and Almond
4th Course: Green Asparagus, Bergamot and Almond
The dish consisted of Asparagus, Caramelized Almond and Bergamot. Eaten separately each component had a very strong flavor on its own. But combining them together the sweetness from the almond, crunchiness from the asparagus and sourness from the Bergamot all meld together creating a well balanced dish.

Dover Sole, Coconut Condiment, Pomelo, Prepared with Red Capsicum
5th Course: Dover Sole, Coconut Condiment, Pomelo, Prepared with Red Capsicum
This course showed the ingenuity of Chef Pascal. Combining the crayfish sauce, coconut condiment and pomelo mimicked the taste of mild curry which went really well with the Sole.

Black Truffle Veloute, Celeriac and Parmesan Fondue
6th Course: Black Truffle Veloute, Celeriac and Parmesan Fondue
We were recommended to try each flavors individually before mixing them together. All three were very pungent in flavor with The Black Truffle Veloute tasting like concentrated Wild Mushroom Soup. When mixed together the three flavors mellowed down to create a rich and creamy soup whose flavor I can't really described. May found the soup too thick to drink and decided to have it with bread Fondue style.

Challans Duck Breast, Black Curry, Miso Glazed, Eggplant
7th Course: Challans Duck, Black Curry, Miso Glazed Eggplant
Our main course of pan-seared Challans Duck Breast, Confit Duck Leg, Miso-Glazed Eggplant and a Black Curry that was made of Licorice and Black Olives served with jus. The duck breast was evenly cooked throughout to a medium rare and the duck leg confit literally melts in your mouth.

Chili Sorbet
Chili Sorbet
This was my first time having a Chili Sorbet. The chili flavor was obtained from extracting the oils from the chili and infusing it in syrup overnight. We could definitely taste the flavor of the chili which came with a little heat.

Dessert #1: Petit Vacherin, Cocoa and Honey Ice Cream
Dessert #1: Petit Vacherin, Cocoa and Honey Ice Cream
The Petit Vacherin was our least favorite of our Desserts. The casing was made from sugar and holds a Cocoa Ice Cream and Honey Ice Cream on each end. It was a little too sweet for us.

Dessert #2: Coffee-Almond Tiramisu
Dessert #3: Coffee-Almond Tiramisu
I've had an excellent Tiramisu in Favola and this was another one to remember. The Tiramisu was encased in a sugar crystal which holds a layer of coffee soaked sponge, chunky lady finger biscuit and a layer of almond mascarpone foam. The coffee had a nice bitter accent that matched really well with the light almond mascarpone foam!

Dessert #3: Dark Chocolate "Gaufrette" Biscuit
Dessert #2:Dark Chocolate "Gaufrette" Biscuit
This dessert was as chocolaty as any chocolate dessert could get. The Gaufrette was made from a thick chocolate biscuit at the bottom that is layered with dark chocolate mousse, another biscuit and topped with a dark chocolate ganache.

Petit Fours: Jasmine "Lait de Poule" and Chestnut Honey Madeleine
Petit Four: Jasmine "Lait de Poule" and Chestnut Honey Madeleine
The Lait de Poule (French for Egg Nog)had a wonderful aroma from the Jasmine and was surprisingly light and refreshing. The Chestnut Honey Madeleine was a good accompaniment to go with our Chamomile Tea.

We honestly had nothing but praises for Chef Pascal and his team at the end of our meal. It's been quite a while since I had a tasting menu where I enjoyed nearly every course served. Most of the dishes were focused on enhancing the flavor of the main ingredient through the use of different condiments and sauces. I was definitely impressed with Chef Pascal's ability to introduce his style of cooking back home while at the same time incorporating some of the local Thai ingredients and flavors into his dishes. This meal was definitely a nice way to end a really long week of flying and meetings.

Food: 4.8/5
Service: 4.5/5
Ambiance: 4.5/5
Price: $$$$$ (Nine Course Meal without wine cost USD 300 per person)

Contact Information: La Scala
Address: 13/3 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Telephone: 66 (0) 2 344 8888
Fax: 66 (0) 2 344 8899

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Contact Information: L'Astrance
Address: 4 Rue Beethoven, 75016 Paris, France
Tel: +33-01-40-50-84-40

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"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wow, expensive meal my friend..

Kwong said...

LoL yea... but it was a good experience!