La Veranda

Relocated and repositioned in the marketplace

Many months ago we reviewed the La Veranda Restaurant, which was deep in the market area and above a fast-food takeaway. We were very impressed with the food and the presentation, but felt that the pricing was perhaps a little optimistic for Chiang Mai. The upstairs venue, whilst being quite spectacular, was much superior to the area it was in, and parking was a problem too. With all those negative factors, it did not surprise us when chef Gilles and his wife decided after a few months that it was better to relocate.

The new venue is on Huay Kaew Road, just up from Darling Wine Bar, and this time on ground level, so it can be seen from the street. Like the old venue, the overall ambience is elegant, to say the least. The glass top tables and wrought iron chairs have come from the old restaurant, as have some of the French memorabilia, such as the Notre Dame photograph and the Eiffel Tower and map of Paris, though I must say I did not remember the Jeanne d’Arc figurine with the fruit platter on her head!

As you approach the restaurant there is also now a pavement dining area outside for those who enjoy the outdoors (or who need to smoke during dinner). Entering the restaurant proper, there is a small patisserie (bakery shop) on the right, while the dining areas extend through to the left, including a semi-private table for two in an alcove.

The menu is worth studying intently because there are so many items that you do not see in the average restaurant menu. One such is the consomm้ of poultry and duck with foie gras (B. 120) or the Dubarry cream soup (B. 65). Hors d’oeuvres range in price between B. 60-250, with a season salad or scrambled eggs with crab at the low end and fricasseed frog legs at the top.

Two pages of fish dishes are next (sorry, les poissons) and again these are very moderately priced between B. 150-280 and cover stuffed oysters, fillets of sole, red emperor snapper, salmon, trout, mullet and scallops.

Meats and poultry are again moderately priced ranging between B. 110-450, with there being a choice of small or large portions with some items. Choices include lamb, beef medallions, chicken leg stuffed Moulin Rouge style, duck with orange sauce and an interesting grilled rib-steak Mirabeau style. Worth reading carefully!

Chef Gilles, who is just ‘soooo’ French, plied us with many of his creations (I would not dare just to call them ‘dishes’). We began with a quail egg salad, with caviar in small pastry cups and followed this up with a salmon pasta salad with the pasta rolled artistically with the salmon and capers on top.

Next to arrive was a breast of duck in a strong orange sauce, and wonderfully presented. He followed this with a fillet of trout, Madame de Pompadour style, with the fish coming from the Royal Project, and a mustard grain sauce which was superb! To top this was a salmon in a red wine sauce, again a superb culinary creation.

After a few minutes breather we sampled the desserts with bananas in a yellow sauce, a white chocolate with raspberry and another Margarita concoction. Oo-la-la! Gilles, c’est magnifique!

Reviewing La Veranda at this new location, it has kept all the good factors from its previous incarnation, and countered all the negative ones. The venue is much better, and the ambience likewise. The food is still to the same high standard as before, and the presentation is without peer. However, the food prices have also come down, to bring La Veranda into line with other leading restaurants in Chiang Mai. To our mind, this has resulted in a much better overall package than before, and La Veranda is definitely worth revisiting at this new location. Very highly recommended.

La Veranda, 49/16 Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 400 960, 01 884 4316, fax 053 214 420. Open 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. for lunch and 6 p.m. till 10 p.m. for dinner, seven days a week. Off street parking behind neighbouring shops.