Exquisite Gallic favourites create a memorable dining experience
While Bangkok’s restaurant ecosystem has become saturated with Italian and Japanese cuisine, it has always been light on traditional French middle-class fare. Brasserie Cordonnier attempts to right that injustice, serving exquisite Gallic favourites as it tries to create a memorable experience for the diner.
That experience starts with the awning outside, a bright blue beacon for hungry passersby. Inside the high ceilings, low-slung lights, and long wooden bar slyly transport you away from Sukhumvit Soi 11. Cordonnier means “cobbler”, and fashion is a focus at the eatery—from the menu, to the décor, to the drinks.
The one part of Cordonnier that does not tick all the brasserie boxes is the bar’s emphasis on cocktails. A modest wine list is available, but the owners (Soho Hospitality) have brought in their group mixologist Davide Sambo to create cocktails tied to the restaurant’s theme. The effort yields a sublime tangy Lumiere (B390), with house-blended gin, green chartreuse, Mancino Bianco, absinthe, orange bitter, and citrus and vanilla air. As lumiere means “light” in French, the concoction is served in a lightbulb-shaped glass, and because the Lumiere brothers pioneered cinematography in that country, the waitress will take a Polaroid of your first sip and present it as a souvenir. The Moulin Sour (B390) was equally worthy, providing an umami kick through a mix of house-blended scotch whiskey, ruby port wine, vanilla, lemon, egg white and truffles, smoked with cherry wood.
The cuisine is likely to keep this eatery open a long time. Chef Clement Hernandez takes a step back from fine dining and his work at J’Aime to hit the high notes in an ode to French classics. The Burgundy Escargot (B390) is a divine mash of snails, parsley, garlic, and pastis, while the Chilled Ratatouille (B280) is a hearty, zesty melding of three types of tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and mint. And though everyone has their preferred version of French Onion Soup (B280), the lip-smacking recipe here avoids the saltiness trap by using emmental cheese rather than gruyere.
The best French food is known for its savoury sauces so rich you will thankfully dip bread into, and the venerable Beef Bourguignon (B520) is just such a dish. Shredded instead of cubed, the beef cheek and red wine was slowly reduced to a thick elixir. By contrast the Crispy Confit Pork Belly (B420) is a non-traditional concession to the chef’s discovery of a premium supplier, the tender meat slathered in an onion purée.
Rounding off the meal, the Tarte Tatin (B220) was prepared without sugar. Lemon juice was added, but the kitchen allowed the fructose in the red apples to provide the sweetness, allowing a more balanced taste. Finally, the Poire Belle Helene (B230) is a nod to the chef’s childhood, featuring poached pear, almonds, chantilly, vanilla ice cream, and hot chocolate sauce in a gravy boat.
By Robin Banks
33/30, Sukhumvit Soi 11
Tel: 094 970 8599
Open daily: 6pm-midnight