Classic techniques elevate this dining institute to new, modern heights.
Tables Grill is your stylish grandmother, the one who knows how to grow old gracefully. Has she surrendered to the passage of time? Has she heck! She’s a hip-shacking’, body-poppin’, granny of reinvention. Tables, now in its eighth year, is the same. It has been many things, with the Hyatt operating a restaurant in the space for over 26 years. It has been bang on trend and it has been a survivor and now, through an acute understanding of the essentials, it is the best kind of institution.
The restaurant has appointed a new French chef, Hans Zahner, who spent three years at Sir Elly’s at The Peninsula Shanghai and worked under Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée Hotel in Paris. Here is a chef classically schooled and rooted in the French tradition, who I’m sure has one eye on the greatest of French culinary prizes: a precious Michelin star.
Chef Han’s first order was to completely overhaul the menu, creating a new à la carte along with 5-course (B2,900) and 7-course (B3,900) degustation menus, geared around all of the guff of French culinary flair, testing boundaries in a city primed and ready to consume everything.
I find it an atmospherically moody, but ultimately comfortable room. My food was brought to the table by Daria, the Russian front of house plucked straight from the pages of Vogue. A David Hervé Boudeuse Oyster—French, of course, from Charente-Maritime, between Bordeaux and Marans—sits on a vibrant blue bed of something, I’m not sure what, the colour of blue mouthwash. Two-minute dots of lemongrass and Granny Smith apple jelly on top of the mollusc add a piquant Thai-Aussie sweetness that elevated the ‘sulky’ oyster.
There’s a Brittany Royal Sea Bass Tartare, perfectly crowned with Kristal Caviar—from Daria’s hometown—and a healthy glug of Moulin du Calanquet Olive Oil from Saint-Rémy de Provence. The quality and preparation of the bass and caviar is first-rate, a generous portion of unctuous bass; so good that it didn’t need the accompanying puddle of carrot jelly and orange coulis. It’s a dish that pairs particularly well with a glass of Anne-Sophie Dubois Beaujolais (B479) and goes even better with a third.
And then came a moment that transported the whole of dinner to a different plane. A plate of Alaskan King Crab with dried tomato and coriander in a Thai Red Curry and Galangal Emulsion. Galangal—a type of underground creeping stem of a plant, part of the ginger family—is a masterful marriage, adding earthiness and a kick of heat from added green tabasco. Followed by a tenderloin of Roasted Australian Lamb that’s perfectly pink, as tender and juicy as a lover’s thigh.
I’d like to see more modern plating and fewer foams and spirals, letting the quality of the produce speak for itself; but minimalism has never been very French. Thankfully though, cheese is. I usually think supplements on prix-fixe menus are sneaky, but when an extra B420 delivers cheese of this quality—three-year Comté, Mont Ventoux and an Époisses de Bourgogne so good, so gooey, so pungent on the fork—it’s hard to complain. I indulge fully, ravenously and without apology, before concluding with a very fine Lemon & Rhubarb Sorbet.
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok,
494 Rajdamri Rd
Tel: 02 254 6250
Open: Mon-Sun, 6pm-10pm