Le Bouchon is a small bistro, the type you would expect to find down a tiny alleyway in Paris. Small, dimly lit, filled to the rafters with expats and young Thai people; it has an unusual ambience for Bangkok. Located in a shop-house, it has a long bar, small dining area and even smaller bathroom and kitchen. Diners sit more or less cheek by jowl but they certainly dont complain as this is a place you are lucky to find a table, even if pre-booking on the weekend.
The owner, Serge Martiani is often to be found propping up the bar. He is happy to chat with customers and tell them about the history of his restaurant. Opening ten years ago, it is one of the favourite haunts of the French expat crowd and is now advertised in most travel guides and magazines.
The food is the draw here. There is an abundance of choice, and it is all laid out on two large blackboards that are brought to your table by the serving staff and propped against the wall. This typifies the down to earth nature of the place, and so it is no surprise to find that most of the menu items are hearty and simple. This is French cuisine at its best with no flowery or pretentious descriptions and no fancy ingredients.
For starters we had both the duck terrine and the liver pate and they were delicious. A basket of different breads was placed in the middle of the table and was promptly replaced when the contents had been devoured. We also ordered the goats cheese salad and the generous dollops of cheese were superbly accented with a variety of lettuce leaves and succulent cherry tomatoes.
The three of us were hungry so elected to order meaty main courses which promised to fill us up. I had the lamb shank with white beans and was not disappointed. The meat fell away from the bone and melted in my mouth. My friends chose the scallops and the steak respectively. The scallops were drenched in garlic and cooked to perfection. The rib eye steak covered most of a large plate and beat the best efforts of the man attempting to finish it. Ordered medium-rare, it was exactly that and came with an assortment of roasted vegetables.
Unfortunately, after the feeding frenzy we couldnt fit in any of the desserts, but they all looked delicious, from the crème brulee to the chocolate mousse. We all promised ourselves that next time we wouldnt be so greedy with the savouries and would leave room for dessert. Mind you, I always say that .
There is a good selection of wines, generally slightly pricier than I am used to in Bangkok, but all good French brands from different regions of the country. We went for a medium priced Sauvignon and were so pleased with our choice that we ordered a second bottle. There are also a large variety of digestives on offer to accompany dessert.
Le Bouchon is a lovely little place for a romantic meal or to fill that desperate yearning for hearty Western food. Once inside you would never know that the red light district of Bangkok is on your doorstep and would swear that it is the artsy lights of Montmartre reflecting off your wine glass through the window. This is a Bangkok experience not to be missed.
FOOD and PRESENTATION 9
DECOR and AMBIENCE 8
Restaurant guide rating for ALL categories is out of 10:
Very Good 7-6
Our highest score is 10
For a restaurant to attain 10 points it would have to have maintained the score of 9 for at least 1 year.
For restaurants that have been recommended by others but have not been
rated yet I have put TBR (To Be Rated) against the name.
Open for lunch and dinner 12pm-12am Monday to Saturday. 7pm-12am on Sunday
Ph: 02 234 9109
Address: 37/17 Patpong Soi 2, Surawongswe Road, Bangkok.