DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Le Coq d’Or - quiet and intimate

One of the "name" restaurants in Chiang Mai is Le Coq d’Or. Well established, it is in an ‘Olde English Manor House’, set in 17 rai of manicured garden estate. As soon as you pull up at the entrance to the restaurant, you do believe you are entering another world. We pulled up in style, having been picked up by their liveried chauffeur, no less. Let me assure you that Miss Terry is not averse to a little bit of pampering!

We were met by restaurant manager Khun Kitti and ushered through to one of the ‘Glass Rooms’ - an area with a decided conservatory feel to it, with the high ceiling and the large windows looking out over the gardens. A word about the estate will not go amiss here. You can have elegant or intimate garden parties catered for in the grounds for up to 500 people. There is even a rotunda in the centre to house the brass band! Impressive!

Back indoors, the tables have silver settings with high quality glasses. There appeared to be many service personnel in various configurations of uniform, but I was unable to differentiate "Captains" from "Admirals" I am afraid.

The menu commences with eight starters, recommended by the chef, ranging from 200 baht to 850 baht, and includes shitake mushroom soup at the lower end and pan fried foie gras and roasted scallops salad at the top end.

Nine recommendations for the mains follows (B. 450-2,500) including preserved duck leg and grilled fillet of ostrich, as well as more common items such as US prime sirloin steak and Australian veal chops.

Hot and cold appetizers (B. 250-990) range from home made pate to French duck liver, and they are followed by soups (B. 140-250) including an interesting sounding hot vichyssoise.

Main dishes have fifteen choices (B. 340-2,500) with the Phuket lobster top of the scale and a filet of sole poached in a creamy white wine sauce at the cheap(er) end. Much of these items are imported, with Australian meat predominating.

Desserts have their own page (called ‘Sweets’ in the English tradition) with most around B. 250 and most loaded with calories! After the desserts there are examples of set menus, all four courses (I do not count sherbet as a ‘course’) and range in price between B. 1,200-1,800 per head.

The wine list is quite extensive, with house wines at B. 200 per glass with the Australian Hamilton’s Chenin Blanc 1998 probably one of the better buys at B. 1,200. By the way, all those menu prices need to have the 7% VAT added, and service charges are not included either.

Khun Kitti had arranged a ‘tasting’ menu for the Dining Out team beginning with a Caesar salad, made for us at the table with much pomp and ceremony and pepper grinding, but the end result was superb.

This was followed by a mushroom strudel (fairly bland) and a pan-fried foie gras and grilled tiger prawn salad with raspberry sauce which was excellent.

Our next taster course was the French style seafood bouillabaisse, which I have to admit was not to my taste, but this may be a personal palate preference. This was followed by a duck in orange sauce which was superb, and a trout that was a little dry. We finished with sweets that included a magnificent soufflé with Madame saying, "This is a dream!"

It was an evening for the ‘grand indulgence’ and Le Coq d’Or is well positioned to do this for its diners, with a great menu and a wonderful venue. We were left to our own devices a little more than I expected at an establishment that is pitched at the top end of the market. However, with so many chiefs on the ground, there were probably not enough Indians.

Reviewing any restaurant I look at the overall package relative to price, and there were certainly flashes of brilliance, such as the Caesar salad and the Grand Marnier soufflé, but in an establishment such as this I expect ‘everything’ to be superb.

Le Coq d’Or, 68/1 Koh Klang Road, Nong Hoi Chiang Mai, telephone 053 282 024, email [email protected]