“Even though we’re 250 metres above street level, with amazing views of Bangkok, all nine of our tables are purposely faced inwards,” remarks Timothy Mordue, director of restaurant for the newly opened Chef’s Table restaurant, the latest culinary jewel in the gold-domed crown of lebua at State Tower. “The heart of the restaurant is the kitchen,” he explains, pointing to the open cooking area in the centre of the room that seems to rise up from the floor like a holy shrine, with a beautiful Carrara marble-fronted base and a golden overhead (silent) fan unit whose concentric rings bring to mind a classic Thai stupa.
So if this kitchen – featuring a massive custom-built Molteni stove – is the heart, then the soul must be chef Vincent Thierry, the very person for whom the restaurant was created.
Chef Vincent, who grew up in France’s Loire Valley, honed his skills in Michelin-star kitchens across France before being selected to open Caprice at the Four Seasons Hong Kong, which was awarded three Michelin Stars consecutively for four years running. His pedigree certainly caught the attention of Deepak Ohri, CEO of lebua Hotels & Resorts, who envisaged a grand, sky-high restaurant showcasing the talents of the man who has become Bangkok’s first resident 3-Michelin-star chef.
Located on the 61st floor, in a previously inaccessible part of the lebua building, Chef’s Table is an impeccably designed creation. The high-ceilinged room is rounded, following the shape of the open kitchen, with rounded dining booths and hundreds of tiny illuminated crystal water droplets suspended from the ceiling. The dreamlike colour palette of taupe, cream and champagne-bronze creates a magical atmosphere that’s at once theatrical and otherworldly – something like a divine afterlife for fervent gastronomes.
The ever-evolving degustation menu is priced at 7,900 Baht ++, and of the seven courses listed six allow diners an either/or choice between two equally tantalising options. The menu also offers an expertly curated per-course Discovery Wine Pairing for 4,500 Baht ++ (6,900 Baht ++ for the Prestige Wine Pairing). Once all our orders have been taken, the well-trained staff, nattily dressed in black double blazer jackets with gold buttons, proceed to seamlessly deliver and retrieve plates, refill glasses, and discreetly replace cutlery.
The first amuse-bouche sets the tone for the evening as silver spoons arrive, each bearing a soft morsel of red Carabineros prawn resting on a sturdy pillow of infused cauliflower panna cotta. Served raw, these prawns are found only off the Catalonian coast, making them – like every dish that follows – a rare delicacy meant to be savoured.
The second pre-meal surprise is foie gras terrine and pickled Chiang Mai radish resting atop a gingerbread wafer. The gingerbread is an inspired ingredient choice and the result proves to be exquisite. The custom serving plate, meanwhile, is a pure white, handcrafted enamel rectangle with a relief of the iconic semi-circular balconies of State Tower chiseled into its surface. On the flat, upper portion of the plate rests a golden dome – are you seeing the pattern? – which when lifted reveals the second half of the pre-starter; parmesan cheese crackers topped with tomato confit, further topped with a French green bean roll dappled with tarragon. These “mini-lebua” serving plates have been created specifically for Chef’s Table, and are just one more reminder of the restaurant’s meticulous detailing. Next up, a stone mortar bowl filled with fresh baked bread rolls arrives, followed by the first table-side appearance by chef Vincent. In his hands he holds a pot of silky white butter, made in-house using organic cow’s milk from a farm in Khao Yai and seasoned with Brittany sea salt.
As generous scoops are dolloped onto our side plates, Chef Vincent explains that whenever possible he likes to use Thai produce, especially with the vegetables, but ultimately the quality and the taste dictates what is served. Currently, approximately 80 percent of the ingredients are sourced from Thailand, with the remainder consisting of premium imported that cannot be found locally.
In some ways Chef Vincent is an unlikely candidate to helm a personality-driven concept such as Chef’s Table. In contrast to some of Bangkok’s more gregarious gourmets, he’s a soft-spoken, humble, old-world gentleman who ultimately just lets his food to the talking… and it speaks volumes!
Since our table opted for the “you choose the items on the left, and I’ll choose the items on the right” menu approach, together we sampled all that Chef Vincent and his team had prepared that evening. The Alaskan king crab tiramisu, with marinated tandoori fruits and mascarpone cream, shared the opening act slot with the flat oyster, served with caviar Imperial de Sologne in a bright pool of green apple jelly. Both excelled in taste and dramatic presentation.
The next course consisted first of Scottish langoustine and roasted veal sweetbread lasagna, in a foamy tomato and fennel confit with a light shellfish emulsion. It was simply delicious, and the sweetbreads were a revelation. Sharing menu billing with this course was the intriguing sea urchin and cauliflower, with saffron and scrambled egg.
The plates that followed were both note perfect, although I only tried a bite of the seared foie gras with citrus mosaic and a carrot fondant. In turn, I was reluctant to even share a taste of my Atlantic scallop served with boudin noir and celery apple. At this point Chef Vincent stopped by the table once again and after complimenting him on his incredible cuisine he became positively chatty, waxing poetical for several minutes about many things, including the esteemed role of the saucier in French cuisine.
The mains continued with a magnificent John dory, with caviar Impérial de Sologne, razor clam, and watercress coulis. This delicacy shared table space alongside a plate of Brittany lobster, with pumpkin spinach and turmeric dressing. The mains concluded with a magnificent Challans duck served two ways, complemented by a sweet spices sauce and sage. This delicacy shared table space alongside a dish of tender, milk-fed veal shoulder, accompanied by Jerusalem artichoke, and Alba white truffle (available for an extra THB 500++ per gram).
The evening wound down with a selection of superb imported French cheeses from Jean-François Antony, Eleveur de Fromages, followed by sour cream sorbet with strawberry and French meringue, and a trio of scrumptious petit fours. Of the two finale dessert options chocolate lovers will gravitate to the black beer biscuit and chocolate ganache with a caramel Thai tea aroma, while the somewhat lighter candied granny smith apple crumble with basil sorbet makes for a sweet and slightly savoury finish.
Throughout the meal the premium wine pairings proved to be excellent choices, all served in elegant stemware by Zalto. And if you order the dish paired with a burgundy the wine is served in a special glass modeled after Marie Antoinette’s infamous stem-but-no-base wine glass (she didn’t want her party guests to be able to put down their drinks). Fortunately, a small beveled edge on the bowl of the Zalto version of this goblet allows it to rest quite comfortably on the table.
With such attention to opulent detail, and the presence of a legendary culinary talent, it’s no surprise that Chef’s Table was awarded a Michelin star in the 2020 edition of Thailand’s Michelin Guide – a recognition that makes lebua Hotels & Resorts the only hotel in Thailand to have two Michelin-starred restaurants under one (golden) roof.
6pm-1am, daily (closed on Mondays). To reserve your seats or find out more, call 0 2624 9555, or visit lebua.com.