‘Vegetarian in Bangkok’ is a no-go said my friends and peers , well they were right only if one wishes to try the local cuisine as vegetables are only adjuncts in the main dish which is seafood or meat. Nonetheless I didn’t give up on the hunt for local Thai food and my friend Chef Indrajit Saha’s advice or rather a 3 word Thai language Class, ‘Mai Me Nam Pla’ meaning No Fish Sauce came in very handy for me communicate and thus try vegetable versions of Thai food. When I travel it is all about street food and local cults. And happy high exceptions come up just like this bar and restaurant L’Appart; located on the 32nd floor of hotel Sofitel in Sukhumvit. It caught my attention because of the open-air seating and the restaurant design, French cuisine and very reasonable beverage pricing including one on one cocktail for sundowners.
Thankfully it did not rain that evening and it was quite breezy up there. I watched the Bangkok traffic and the tail lights bejeweling the city whilst I sipped the Franco Thai (290 Baht) a cocktail with Thai flavours presented the French way. It had a sublime finish to it. The evening started well until I was in for a surprise, the food menu had hardly anything vegetarian but the view and the atmosphere was irresistible to move to another place. , Chef Jerome Deconinck from France seemed taken aback more than me, he did suggest me the all day diner which offered a better spread for vegetarians but was equally happy to rustle something up a la minute. I didn’t mind the latter one bit. Could imagine the chef’s plight when he should have rather got orders of Wagyu beef tartare and Foie Gras coming through, ‘Vegetarian in Bangkok’, I said to myself.
The restaurant goes by its name L’Appart and is designed like a 19th century apartment with a library, a lounge, studio kitchen-dining area and the outdoor; it is replete with debauchery and hedonism making it more chic and modern than a fine diner. My first course had arrived a Burrata with tomato compote, pinenuts and basil, Aragula salad with some crust bready and olive tapenade. The dish though not characteristic French was bursting with flavours and the ingredients did shine through; the pan dehydrated tomatoes were delightful. For the mains an unassuming risotto with a crunch of baby carrots, asparagus, onions, pearl onions and zucchini came in, it looked artsy and it was complimented with a Rhone Grenache-Viognier blend. ‘Why not have a few vegetarian items on the menu?’ I asked Chef Jerome who has been on the French Prime Minister’s Chef brigade. ‘No demand, once in a blue moon that we would have vegetarian guests coming in. However we have done elaborate vegetarian meals if we get prior reservations, a 4-5 hour notice helps. Next time you let me know and I will create a special menu for you.’ he promised.
I finished with a classic mille feuille with raspberry sorbet and a luscious Chocolate fondant. A three course vegetarian meal with a glass of wine will cost you around 1500 Bahts but ensure you book in advance and the Chef will be eager to serve, he owes me one 🙂
P.S: The drinks are very well priced and their gentlemen nights on Thursday are cool, one on one drinks all night… I could have had 4 for the price I paid for one at the Lebua State tower, the only difference I was on the 64th floor at the latter but sadly indoors!