A combination of artistry mixed with an understanding of the seasons.
The most exciting thing that I ate at this newly-anointed Michelin-starred restaurant is the simplest: a river prawn with pork belly jam. A new take on kao khluk kapi, it is authentically Thai, with generous quantities of sticky-sweet piggy jam and a noticeable nose tingle from the pungent shrimp paste. This is no-messing brilliance.
Le Du is located in a Soi of affluent, common-flanking charm between Silom and Sathorn. It has none of the creamy linen napery evident in other so-called fine dining institutions; the interior here is more industrial design than French fabrics: bare bricks, filament light bulbs and ants on the menu.
Thai food has been gaining purchase for some time, and I don’t mean the clichéd staples of pad Thai and som tam, packaged and presented in as wanky setting, but widening appreciation of its versatility and regional brilliance. Le Du though is taking things further; it’s a green curry-free zone with food wandering restlessly from north to south. It is a deliriously fearsome bash of fire and sour and salt and smoke; of the high ethereal waft of Thai basil and lemongrass, with mint and coconut creams lending soothing depths where needed. But then, just as quickly, your palate can be attacked by pungent fish sauces and mod dang—the eggs of red ants.
Chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn and business partner Rungroj ‘Tao’ Ingudananda opened the restaurant in 2013, naming it after a Thai word meaning “seasons”. They set about using the seasons to influence menus, implementing where possible regional ingredients. Chef Ton’s international kitchen experience—he trained at the Culinary Institute of America and worked at The Modern and Eleven Madison Park in New York—lends an undeniably old-school French influence to dishes; however, core ingredients remain rooted in the Thai kitchen.
Menus do indeed move with the seasons and dance effortlessly across regions, incorporating the likes of local sea bass, organic rice and 30-day beef with dried longan fruit. There is a choice of either 4-course (B2,290) or 6-course (B3,590) tasting menus; each consisting of three plates, so 4 becomes 12 and 6 becomes 18; a very Thai approach to dining.
With local ingredients as the backbone to dishes, recipes are plated to demonstrate the chef’s travels and experiences. Everything is the flavour of Technicolour, all hot and sour loveliness of a sort, which would make a heavy cold throw up its hands and shout, “I give up!” Certain ingredients demonstrate better than others Chef Ton’s forward-thinking, and his interest and education in wine means that Le Du has one of the most impressive and expansive wine lists in the city.
399/3 Silom Soi 7
Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-10:30pm
Tel: 092 919 9969