DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Chez Gibus

Or always trust a generously proportioned chef!

Belgian restaurants are not the most common in Chiang Mai, so we were looking forward to a ‘different’ evening. So how did we know this restaurant is Belgian? Well, to start with, it serves many Belgian beers, including the most dangerous beer in the world - Chimay. It tastes so good and at 8% alcohol, is almost twice as potent as the local beers. An imported Euro-headache, but a great beer - try one! Just one!

The restaurant proper has a colourful and rustic ambience, with wooden chairs and wine rack, and brightly painted plates sitting on colourful throw-overs on the tables. At the front of the restaurant are large windows, whilst at the back of the dining area is a sit-up bar on one side and a covered stainless steel BBQ griller and iced buffet area in the other corner. It is a cheery place, and then you meet Alain the chef. Alain is more than ample in proportions, and even more cheery. On the evening we arrived, a large group had booked in as well. This did not faze Alain, who proceeded to look after the group, other tables and us, with savoir faire, a towel over one shoulder and a large grin.

The menu is comprehensive, beginning with a salad buffet at B. 85 or a Caprese (tomato salad with cheese) at B. 110. Soups are next B. 70-90 including fish or vegetable.

Appetizers (fish) are B. 120-250 with squid in batter and Coquille St Jacques B.230. Entrees (B. 90-250) include escargots in garlic and parsley butter sauce at B. 130. After these there are mains with beef, duck, pork and fish items ranging between B. 170-380.

BBQ items are next, including the special B. 199 all-you-can-eat, beef, chicken, pork, sausages, prawns, squid, french-fries and salad. Others include BBQ beef items B. 270-380, pork B. 180-380, lamb B. 380 and seafood B.250-380.

Drinks have local beers B. 60-70 and house wine B. 160 per glass, with a selection of bottles, mainly French, under B. 1000.

Alain suggested he provide us with a ‘tasting’ experience to show a little of the range of food available. We began with escargots, complete with the correct shell tongs and special small forks. Beautiful and all garlic (and I still managed to splash some on my front, but it didn’t seem to matter!). Next we tried the mussels, with some in garlic and others grilled with a mornay topping. Again excellent entrees. However, Alain had not finished with us, producing a carpaccio of beef with celery garnish. A very smooth dish. Were the entrees over? Ah no! There were the frog legs to come, again in garlic butter sauce and delightful hoppers!

So to mains and Alain deposited a filet of beef with peppercorn sauce, a rib-eye steak with an onion sauce, a wild boar hot-pot with mashed potatoes and a sliced duck au poivre (pepper sauce in English - I’m just showing off!).

The filet was excellent, and good quality beef too. The wild boar was interesting, having been in a red wine marinade for four days, according to Alain. The steak with onion sauce was again a popular dish at the table, as was the sliced duck. We were too full for desserts but were happy just to sit and chat and relax, as one should after a good meal.

This was not an evening to sit quietly and ponder over the food. This was an evening of unbridled enjoyment, with great food and wine, conversation and carousing in the European tradition. With the standard and range of the food, the very reasonable prices (the B. 199 BBQ all-you-can-eat is a real bargain) and the good ‘feel’ to the place explains why Chez Gibus is so popular. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy European cuisine. Miss Terry has a friend who always says, “Never trust a skinny chef.” He would have no worries with Alain and Chez Gibus, and neither should you. Highly recommended.

Chez Gibus, Grill House Restaurant, 42 Kampaengdin Road, T. Changklan, Amphur Muang, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 272 712. Open 6 p.m. - 10.30 p.m., closed Sundays.