Recently recognised with two Michelin stars, Le Normandie offers the ultimate in French haute cuisine
LE NORMANDIE, the French restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, has been receiving the highest accolades from global gourmets for six decades but it was only last two months, when the inaugural Michelin Guide Bangkok was launched, that it finally received the much-deserved recognition of two Michelin Stars.
Le Normandie opulent ambience
A recent visited to the restaurant underlined the superb food and service it has always delivered without the stars and while its Chef de Cuisine Arnaud Dunand Sauthier is delighted with the honour, he admits that he is feeling the pressure. “The bar is very high. My expectation was one star, so getting two stars right from the off is a major feat. But we’ll manage it,” he says with a friendly smile.
Le Normandie is the only French fine dining restaurant to receive this accolade and is among only three establishments in the city to receive Two Michelin stars. This year’s selection also awarded 14 restaurants one star and 35 restaurants a Bib Gourmand, though no establishment received the ultimate three star rating. Nonetheless, the introduction of a Michelin Guide for Bangkok has firmly cemented Thailand’s status as one of the world’s leading gastronomic hubs.
Chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier
Sauthier took over the helm of Le Normandie in 2012, bringing with him more than 15 years of experience in a career that has seen him work with renowned culinary talents worldwide. His menu is inspired by his home region of Savoie in the French Alps and his signature dishes, among them “Caviar Oscietre et Oursin” – caviar, sea urchin and potato with champagne sauce, and “Pigeon Mieral de Bresse” – roasted pigeon, endive, pear and cocoa – speak volumes about his culinary identity.
The kitchen team
Le Normandie is perfect for both lunch and a romantic dinner offering magnificent views over the Chao Phraya River. When it opened in November 1958, the Tower Wing, now known as the Garden Wing, was regarded as an architectural masterpiece and was one of Thailand’s tallest buildings. Atop the building was Le Normandie Grill, a long opulent room featuring a Norman-style chimney piece topped by two rampant lions, the emblem of Normandy.
Caviar Oscletre Oursin
The restaurant underwent a complete transformation in 1969 and was renamed Le Normandie. In 2015, Le Normandie was rejuvenated with a contemporary interpretation of its original grandeur. The new interior preserves the classic elegance of one of Asia’s best-loved French restaurants and combines it with striking new features such as handcrafted chandeliers. A new wine cellar featuring top selections of both Old and New World wines, a customised dessert trolley and Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s legendary tableside service complete the fine dining experience.
Crabe Royal D'Alaska
Our meal starts with a basket of warm house-made breads of different textures and three canapes – Mediterranean sardine with olive oil and mayonnaise, foie gras with mango and coffee sauce, and Chiang Mai strawberry and beetroot Bourbon. Next is traditional soup from Savoie, the chef’s home, made with onion, cream, ham and cheese with sweet crispy potato.
Lunch continues with Crabe Royal D’Alaska, a light and refreshing cold dish blending the flavours of Alaskan King crab with fermented milk infused with chamomile and clementine. That’s followed by the famed Caviar Oscietre et Oursin, which explodes in the mouth as the smooth potato soup mixes with the saltiness of the caviar and the sweetness of the fresh sea urchin.
Turbot Sauvage de Bretagne – poached wild – caught turbot from Brittany – is served with root vegetables including turnip and radish, and a smoked tea Sabayon.
Pigeon Mieral de Bresse
Guests opting for the set lunch menu have a choice of main dishes between Agneau de Lait Dit ‘Allaiton’ – roasted milk-fed lamb with Jerusalem artichoke and black winter truffle – and the famed Pigeon Mieral de Bresse.
“I’d describe our style as contemporary and not traditional French, because we introduce some twists to the flavours,” Sauthier says. “We created the dish with the sea urchin two years ago because we’d been offering the same signature dish of cr่me brulee and caviar since 1980. It was not my recipe and I wanted to create my own dish using caviar. We experimented a lot and the sea urchin is now famous.”
Agneau de Lait Dit 'Allaiton'
“The pigeon dish balances the bitterness of the meat and endive with the sweetness of pear. A lot of people who serve pigeon tend to opt for a sweet dish but I’m personally not keen. This way is perfect. We offer pigeon only during the winter time when the endives are perfect and introduce new dishes for the summer,” he adds.
“French cuisine involves two factors. The first is the product – and in France, we are fortunate to have very nice products. The second is the technique – the way the dish is cooked and finished.”
A MEMORABLE MEAL
Le Normandie is open Monday to Saturday from noon to 2pm and from 7 to 10pm.
Reservations are required. Call (02) 6599000 or email email@example.com
he price for a three-course set is Bt1,600, Bt2,000 for four-courses, Bt5,200 for five-courses and Bt6,200 for seven courses.
A full a-la-carte menu is also available with prices ranging from Bt4,400 to Bt6,300.