Back Alley Bistro Extraordinaire
When sitting at one of the al fresco tables in front of the handful of bars and eateries along the narrow, pedestrian-only alley off Sukhumvit 11 – let’s call it Soi Cheap Charlies for convenience’ sake – if you squint your eyes just right, the alley takes on the general appearance of a bohemian Paris neighbourhood.
Chez Papé fits nicely into that fantasy with its dedication to traditional French bistro fare matched by an archetypical bistro décor. The latter starts with walls dotted with photos of mid-20th century Paris scenery, plus French icons like Zinedine Zidane and Brigitte Bardot. The ambience extends to a zinc-top bar and outdoor terrace where most chairs face the alley, just as they would in any old-school French café or bistro. Plentiful wood accents and a black-and-white tiled floor complete the picture.
Chef Laurent, who has lived in both Lyon and southern France, completely re-designed the Chez Papé menu last year with an array of dishes that cleave closely to the bistro’s Gallic roots.
Each Friday the restaurant takes delivery of fresh seafood flown directly from France, while most of the sausages and pates are made fresh in-house. When fine de claire oysters (B600 for 6 pieces) from the Charente-Maritime region are available, they make an excellent pre-dinner choice supported by a glass of Pastis.
Also highly enjoyable is smoked salmon and eggplant caviar wrap as an appetiser (B230), along with quenelle lyonnaise, a poached, oval-shaped fish dumpling served with a classic Nantua crayfish-cream sauce (B430). A ramekin of warm Saint-Marcellin cheese (B390) from the Rhone-Alpes region also goes down well with a glass of Cotes du Rhone, as does the plate of nicely seasoned steak tartare served with Provence-style mustard (B590).
The southern French-style lamb shank (B590), braised for five hours and served with greens and pureed potatoes, makes a stalwart main suitable for sharing.
Chez Papé offers a three-course set lunch daily (including weekends) for a very reasonable B380. Weekly specials are listed on the chalkboard as well on the restaurant’s website. A range of classic French desserts is available. If you’re having trouble deciding, go for the Café Gourmand, which matches a cup of espresso with a trio of sweet delights: chocolate mousse, moelleux au chocolat (melting warm chocolate cake) and crème bruleé.
The wine list boasts a carefully collected selection of wines from France, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, including seven wines available by the glass.
Book your reservation instantly with Chope, click below:
Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2255 2492 | chezpape.com | Dinner 5pm-11pm, Lunch 11.30am – 2pm