Le Coq d’Or:  By Neil Robinson

A strong contender for the title of best European style restaurant in Chiang Mai

From where I sat, at a table in the corner of the conservatory at Le Coq d’Or, I could look down the length of the “glass rooms”, (as the restaurant calls them), where around sixty people were dining. The view, encompassing rows of tables spread with white linen, numerous wine glasses of different shapes and sizes sparkling in the light from candles and a row of lanterns hanging from the ornate roof of the conservatory, all reflected in the glass of the walls and roof, made me think about the theatrical aspects of eating. I have eaten all sorts of cuisines in all sorts of restaurants, but I have never yet seen anything to compare as a theatrical experience with the ritual of a formal European style multi-course meal. I am not talking here about comparing it with something deliberately done for show, with conjurers or acrobats maybe, but just the normal way of serving. For that, such a formal meal has no peer. There are the numerous knives, forks and spoons of different sizes and shapes, framing the plates, and complementing the array of elegantly shaped wine glasses. There are the immaculate table cloths, almost reaching the floor. The uniformed waiters and waitresses serve small portions on huge plates, frequently removed and replaced with another small, but elegant morsel. Meanwhile, other waiters tender wines of differing hues and tints to go with the different flavours, as course succeeds course.
Le Coq d’Or performs this ritual immaculately. Their English country house setting and elegant conservatory with its ornate framework are the perfect stage. Of course, this would be all for nothing if the food did not live up to the mark. I have eaten in Le Coq d’Or before, and have much enjoyed the food. This time I was here to review the seven course dinner they put on in aid of the Hillside Rooftop Charity on May 20. The cost of the meal with a variety of wines was 2,100 baht. By the standards of Coq d’Or, this was a real bargain - such a meal at regular menu prices would be considerably more. Not surprisingly, the event was sold out.
Before the meal, we were offered wine and canapes. I tried only the smoked salmon ones (smoked salmon is one of my favourite foods), which were delicious. The meal itself started with an amuse bouche, to awaken the taste buds, which was a tiny portion of quiche. This was followed by mushroom strudel. The mushrooms, wrapped in paper thin pastry, and with a savoury gravy, had an excellent flavour and a good, slightly firm texture. Then came chicken consomme, with a delicate chicken flavour, and just a little spiciness for interest. A refreshing, fruity sherbet was next, to prepare us for the main course.
For main course, there was a choice of chateaubriand, with bearnaise sauce, or grilled mountain trout, with a lemon and caper sauce. I chose the chateaubriand, but my neighbour let me sample his trout. Excellent though my steak was, I rather wished that I had chosen the trout, for the fine, clear flavour of the grilled fish. Dessert was a tender, sweet poached pear and vanilla ice cream, served with a delicious vanilla sauce with slivered almonds. Finally, for those who still had any space, the meal concluded with coffee, tea and petite fours.
Overall, a delightful meal. Chiang Mai is blessed with an extraordinary number of good restaurants, with the result that there are quite a number of contenders for best European style restaurant in Chiang Mai. I have tried many, but not all, so that I cannot be sure that Le Coq d’Or is the best. I can simply say it is the best such restaurant that I have eaten in.
The address is 11 Soi 2, Koh Klang Rd., Chiang Mai 50000. Tel: 053 282 024. Their website (with a confusing map) is www. lecoqdorchiangmai.com. I’d like to hear from you on your experience of this restaurant. Please contact me at: cmmrev @live.com. Next week will be back to Khao Soi, and the announcement of a new leader in the race to find the best in Chiang Mai!


Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ restaurants are very popular all over the world, but you can have a Korean BBQ just as well at home. The conical shaped BBQ plate is the traditional way to do this, but the more usual western BBQ plate works fine. The important factors are slicing the meat thinly and allowing enough time to absorb the flavors from the marinade. Finally, do not overcook the meat.

Cooking Method
Cut the beef and chicken into thin bite-sized slices (5x2.5 cm) and dry with absorbent paper.
In a dish, mix the soy sauces, spring onion, garlic, ginger pepper and sesame oil then place the meats in the mixture and leave for around 15-30 minutes to marinade.
Heat the BBQ plate and brush with sunflower oil and quickly cook the meat for about one minute each side and serve immediately on a warmed plate.

Ingredients                 Serves 6
Beef sliced and pounded thin 300 gm
Chicken breast pounded thin 300 gm
Dark soy sauce                  2 tbspns
Light soy sauce                  2 tbspns
Spring onion finely chopped           1
Garlic crushed                   2 cloves
Grated ginger root                1 tspn
Sesame oil                          1 tspn
Sunflower oil                      2 tspns
Ground black pepper          1 pinch