French flavours with a riverside twist
Looking for a good French meal that won't cost the earth? Check out the newly opened Brasserie 9 at Asiatique
If the thought of a decent French restaurant has your mouth watering but your wallet wincing, you may want to try the newly opened Brasserie 9 at Asiatique where the food is great, the setting casual and the prices friendly.
Open less than a month, Brasserie 9, which is owned by Bangkok Air Catering's Gourmet House, is right on the riverfront of the new al fresco shopping mall Asiatique and just a few steps from the shuttle boat pier. Airy and minimal, the restaurant has an inviting and relaxing theme. Keeping the original structure of the warehouse, Brasserie 9 has a wonderfully high ceiling and the industrial air ducts and supporting cranes are only loosely camouflaged by simple lamps.
There is seating on the ground level, where you can observe the chefs at work in the open kitchen, as well as a more private section on the mezzanine. A few tables are available outside, too, but this time of year, you are probably dicing with downpours.
Classic French cuisine with a modern twist is prepared by executive chef Armin Kellner who hails from Austria but has spent the last 20 years cooking French food in Switzerland and Thailand.
"In Europe, you have to learn French cuisine to become a proper chef," Keller says in fluent Thai. "It's only way, because like it or not, French cooking is the basis of all European cuisine. So here I am, an Austrian chef cooking French food for Thais."
"This is a brasserie, which is a casual dining restaurant. We hope to offer a more relaxing, friendly vibe to Thai customers, along with decent French food that focuses more on the tastes, not the look."
He recommends some no-frill yummies that pair well with wines from France, Italy, Chile and Argentina. A must-have is the Brasserie 9 cold seafood platter (Bt1,600) with imported oysters, half a Canadian lobster, tiger prawns, salmon tartar delight and mussels, served with five different sauces including a spicy Thai-style seafood dip. Less extravagant at Bt220 is the French onion soup with cheese croutons.
French Fine de Clair oysters are available in season and are served with lemon, shallot-burgundy vinegar and spicy Thai sauce, at Bt480 for three and Bt880 for six. Imported mussels cooked a variety of ways start at Bt380. For something more exotic, try oven roasted snails in garlic butter at Bt380 for six,
The kitchen offers two foie gras dishes: terrine de foie gras with Port wine jelly, mango confit and brioche, and grilled foie gras served with caramelised apple wedges and grapes with Calvados reduction. Both are finger-licking delicious and reasonably priced at Bt580.
The main course menu is very extensive. Recommended is the 200 grams charolais beef tenderloin flambe "Bearnaise", or green peppercorn sauce with herb crusted tomato and green beans (Bt1,200). Juicy and succulent, this simple beef dish is very satisfying. Several vegetarian options are available from Bt280.
Don't leave Brasserie 9 without trying their desserts. Rich and addictive warm Valrhona chocolate tart with home-made vanilla ice cream is served at Bt320, and the crepes Suzettes prepared with Grand Marnier go for Bt350. There are French cheeses, too. A three-choice platter goes at Bt320, while five choices are priced at Bt480.
Brasserie is also ideal for chilling, drinking and conversing. Besides the well-stocked wine cellar, the bar serves a refreshing classic mojito that is well rounded and not too sweet, as well as the B9, a slightly sweeter drink with green apple fragrance. Red, white and sparkling wines by the glass start at Bt170. A small local beer is Bt150, and a cocktail is Bt250.
>> Brasserie 9 is at Warehouse 9, Asiatique riverfront. It's open daily from 5pm till midnight.
>> Call (02) 108 4288 or check it out at www.Brasserie9.com.