A fresh take on French cuisine
Designed by Antony Scholtmeyer, an earnest Australian chef with a background in French cuisine who has also worked and eaten his way across Japan, not to mention he’s married to a Japanese woman, the menu at the Okura Prestige Bangkok’s upscale-casual restaurant offers a unique coming together of two seemingly disparate cuisines. Consider the soups. Scallops, topped with foie gras and shaved bonito, sit in a deep, shimeji-scented miso consommé. Its counterpart is the classic lobster bisque, but the lobster has been marinated in yuzu, giving the meat a tanginess that cuts through the broth and matcha-powder foam (B410 each).
Appetizers also offer an inspired fusion of contrasting elements. Sautéed white asparagus from Khao Yai joins pickled daikon, dollops of smoked tofu with shiso leaf, and orange pearls of salmon roe (B340). Meanwhile ocean trout, cooked sous vide to keep it fork-tender, really comes together when eaten with some salmon roe, pickled carrot, and a slathering of slow-reduced orange and miso coulis (B370). Even the oysters, which change daily according to freshness and availability, are prepared with Japanese touches, like a teaspoon of tobiko, a dot of ponzu gel, and a hint of freshly grated wasabi (B410 for four).
In the mains, a juicy, soy-marinated duck breast with duck leg confit, pumpkin puree, smoked eggplant with ginger, and vibrant yuzu jus offers perhaps the greatest marriage of flavours on the menu (B890). Yet with all the Japanese overtones, it can be easy to forget that the food remains firmly French in style and presentation. The five-strong Rossini Menu reveals Executive Chef Scholtmeyer’s unique take on the Gallic foie-gras-and-beef specialty, all while staying true to the dish’s roots even when the structure of its components changes. As well as Australian wagyu, the chef tries out a few less-common ingredients as mains, including meaty tuna medallions, which are topped with foie gras, dried cranberries, and truffle sauce and rest on a sort of buckwheat risotto (B1200).
Elements boasts a solid wine list, even featuring a rare variety from the central Japanese valleys, all of which can be explained in greater detail by the young and affable sommelier. Until June, there are a few different sakura-inspired cocktails to choose from, as well, like the Cloudy Skies, which uses yuzu, sakura syrup, and vodka to eye-opening effect (B475).
In a city packed with copycats and fusion fiends, a restaurant like Elements is a fresh reminder that originality still reigns.
The Okura Prestige Bangkok Hotel, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Rd | okurabangkok.com | 0 2687 9000 | Tue-Sat 6pm-10.30pm