Bann Tazala

Dine at Bann Tazala, and you will agree with me that good things definitely come in small packages – provided, of course, those small packages contain perfectly cut and polished jewels. This elegant small but perfect jewel of a boutique hotel has only eight guest rooms and is located just off of the Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Road, directly across from the entrance to the Dhara Devi Resort.

While the hotel is a few weeks away from opening, the dining room is fully functional and serves delicious French fare with a continental flair. The air-conditioned, beautifully decorated dining room holds only two exquisitely appointed tables, each seating six guests; while an outdoor table overlooking the lushly planted pool area seats four. Reservations are obviously required. There is only one seating per evening. You will never be rushed, and you will never supplant the “first table”. You can linger over coffee and chat with no fear of nervous waiters clearing their throats or urging you out of the door. And there is only one chef. You will never have his recipes prepared by anyone else. The proprietor, Sun Suebsaeng, joined us for dinner and we discussed the food, the service, the staff, and his employee training and retention strategies. Suffice it to say, we were impressed with all.

Our experience began with menthol-scented chilled towels, invigorating on a warm evening. The house wines are Echeverria from Chile; and we began with the Sauvignon Blanc, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon. They are refreshingly affordable at 165 baht per glass. Bann Tazala offers a small but well-chosen drink list that varies in price from the house white wine at 765 baht a bottle to Chateau Mouton Rothschild or Chateau Latour, obviously for those most special of special occasions and priced accordingly.

Bread baked from the chef’s personal recipe was served hot from the oven with herb-infused butter. It simply melted in our mouths. Then the pan-seared foie gras with Gewurztraminer and grapes was placed before us. Murmurs of appreciation were heard around the table, and more than one diner could be seen eyeing his neighbor’s plate for an uneaten morsel. There were none. We furtively mopped up every drop of sauce with our bread. This appetizer is priced at 850 baht for foie gras imported from France.

A lightly dressed salad arrived as the appetizer plates were removed. Rosettes of smoked salmon accented fresh baby greens. Small sun dried tomatoes added a depth of flavor to this tasty salad, which is priced at 250 baht.

We next enjoyed a consomm้ de Pintade au foie gras. This clear soup was rich in flavor and sprinkled with bits of foie gras. Priced at 275 baht, it is highly recommended. Each diner chose a main course, and we enjoyed a variety of fish and meat. The grilled Australian tenderloin of beef was a greatly appreciated favorite. Its accompanying pepper sauce was unbeatable. The rack of lamb was served rare as ordered with mint gelatin sauce. The tiny cubed gelatin melted over the hot lamb, and a delightful bouquet was released. Also offered on the menu are fresh salmon and pan-fried sea bass. The grilled tenderloin may also be ordered with foie gras sauce. Mains are priced from 400 to 850 baht.

I must tell you about the dessert. It was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Chinese pears were poached in red wine sauce, sliced and arranged on the plate, topped with the sauce and finished with two small scoops of vanilla ice cream. Not a drop remained on any plate.

The Dining Out team appreciated the small but perfectly designed menu at Bann Tazala. Each item is delicious, beautifully prepared and served with flair. And our Japanese readers should read attentively, “Listen up!” as Americans say. Khun Sun hinted that Kobe beef from cows that are fed beer and massaged daily will soon be available. We’ll be there! Telephone the restaurant for more information on this amazingly marbled and tender beef. Make your dining experience at Bann Tazala perfect. Phone ahead, and enjoy.

Bann Tazala, 55/5 Moo 1, Chiangmai-San Kamphaeng Road. T. Tasala, Muang, Chiang Mai 50000. Reservations necessary. Open every evening at 6 p.m. except Sundays. www.banntazala.com, email [email protected]