As you approach Le Coq D’Or restaurant on Ko Klang Road, you almost feel like you are in Europe. The garden, with its well-established trees and immaculately trimmed edges, as well as the large grounds, convey a stately and peaceful message.
The restaurant was once a home, built in the early 1930’s by former British consulate Mr. W. A. R Wood. The Colonial-style design of the building lends itself well to its job as home for Le Coq D’Or restaurant. With quite some pedigree, established 43 years ago and in its current location for over 23 years, Le Coq D’Or is as much a local landmark as it is a French fine-dining eatery.
As you enter through the large oak doors into the restaurant you pass a library of awards, certificates and accolades including Thailand’s best restaurant by Tatler magazine for 11 consecutive years. We are seated in the “glass room”, a wrought iron framed and glass clad dining area. It was just dark when we sat down, but I imagine sipping Gin and Tonics or Martinis before sunset would be quite pleasurable.
Our Maître d’ for the evening, Mr. Narongchai Peanpaongam, has been working there for 14 years. I thought that was a long time until Chef Samroeng informed me that he has been there for 23 years – now that is consistency! The table setting was lavish, the silver and glassware sparkled and felt opulent. The tablecloth crisp and pristine. The dining room felt like a very special place.
The cuisine is classic French, with popular dishes such as Pan-fried Foie Gras, Alaskan King Crab Salad, Maine Lobster Thermidor and Kobe Beef Steak with Truffle sauce. The produce is the best available, with Royal project ingredients at their peak, Kobe beef from Japan, Australian lamb rack and loins, French foie gras, oysters and black truffle, and New Zealand butter to list a few.
A great chef once said, “You must always serve excellent bread and best quality butter. The bread must always be warm and the butter soft”. That’s exactly what I was served. The waft of the warm bread greeting my senses as I unfurled it’s cloth, the crunch as I tore off a chunk confirmed my hopes. Great start!
Our first dish was Caesar salad made tableside by our waiter. He was smiling proudly as he assembled a well-rehearsed and excellent version of this classic salad. Our Gueridon used a large wooden Krok (mortar and pestle) to make the mayonnaise, grinding the garlic, anchovy and egg yolk together first before a drizzle or two to extra Virgin olive oil is splashed in. The result was as good a Caesar salad as I have had. I noted at the time that the garlic was assertive without being overpowering and the balance of garnish to Romaine was just so.
Next up, truffle soup. If you have not tasted truffle, this is going to be difficult to convey, so I will simply say it had an excellent truffle flavor and aroma. Rich, velvety smooth and perfectly seasoned, the pan-fried foie gras was lavish, just pink, while its accompanying sauce was a piquant peach reduction, more of a puree than a jam, and an excellent canvas for the unctuous and rich liver.
Next was Australian rack of lamb, which was roasted quite rare. This can result in the flesh being on the tougher side. This version, however was tender and moist, the skill of the chef combining with the quality of the lamb in a delicious synergy. Served with Ratatouille that was slightly al dente allowing the individual textures of the vegetables to stay true.
Continuing the classic French theme I dove into the Confit De Canard. Crusted with a tomato and thyme crumb, and propped up with beautiful sautéed potato and a few drunken Maraschino cherries to lift the rich meaty natured duck. This was enjoyed and my tasting notes referred to the main characteristics of a crisp skin and moist interior. Pretty much the norm for well prepared Confit.
Dessert was also prepared tableside, this time our Maître d’ Mr. Peanpaongam manned the Gueridon station to prepare peach flambé. The show was excellent and only drove my anticipation levels higher, so too did the volume of Grand Marnier used to construct the sauce and to flambé the peaches.
Bold, boozy and refined. You know you’re in a quality establishment when the front of house staff can produce dishes of this quality. Throughout the evening, the impeccably trained staff anticipated the needs of the dining room. The pleasure they gained from finding tasks to nurture the guests completed the circle of refinement. If it is Haute cuisine and excellent service you are looking for, then Le Coq D’Or needs to be at the top of your list.
Written By Luke, E-Table Asia in Chiang Mai