St. Germain des Pres
: By Neil Robinson
Enjoyable but sometimes frustrating French restaurant
St. Germain des Pres opened about a
year ago. Shortly afterwards, it was reviewed here by
Brian Baxter, who saw much potential in it. Since then,
I have eaten there several times and I thought it was
time for another review to assess what has happened in
the last year. I have many reasons to keep coming back,
including the excellence of some of the dishes, the good
presentation of the food and the reasonable prices. So,
why is it frustrating? Because, amongst the hits there
are some wide misses. Even more frustrating, I always
feel that, with a few changes, they could make these
misses into hits – I like it enough that I want all the
food to be as good as they are clearly capable of at
The building, with its large windows, awnings and light,
airy feel, is a bit like a simple, modern conservatory.
On the roof is a stylish bar. Four of us, two Thais and
two farang, went there for dinner recently. I sampled a
little of what everyone ordered. Our experience shows
some of the hits and misses here.
Before describing the food, I should mention the
convenient way the menu is arranged. Starters and soups
are all 195 baht, main courses are all 295 baht (except
one or two special items), and desserts are all 120
baht. I usually go for the convenient “découvert”
option, which allows you to choose a starter, a main
course and a dessert, all for 575 baht. There is an
extensive drinks list, including a wide range of
cocktails. Corkage is 150 baht.
We tried a number of starters. Scallops in calvados
cream sauce were served, very prettily, in a little
crisp pastry bag, with slices of green apple. I found
the flavours of scallop, sauce and the acid, refreshing
apples to make a good combination. Tartelette Niçoise
was well made and satisfyingly savory. St. Germain
(green pea and ham) soup has never been to my taste,
wherever I have eaten it, so I am not in a position to
comment on how good it was here. The fish soup is the
great bargain among the starters. A thick fish bisque,
it is really the best part of a bouillabaisse, for
considerably less than you would pay for a full
bouillabaisse here. The only drawback is that it is so
filling that, if you eat it as a starter, you may well
have problems eating a main course!
The duck breast main course, served with honey, red wine
sauce and onion jam was tender and aromatic. I had boeuf
bourguignon, which is a favorite of mine. Tender beef in
a rich, savory sauce, but which did not overpower the
meat (as I have experienced elsewhere), was served with
excellent croquettes, crispy on the outside and soft
inside. So far, all hits. The sole, squid and shrimp
casserole was a wide miss though. First, it arrived on
the table with the fish not properly cooked. When we
complained, it was returned to the kitchen. More
important, there was little flavour of seafood and the
sauce was so rich, apparently with cream or cheese, that
my companion found it difficult to eat much of it.
We tried three desserts: apple tart, pineapple pancake
flambé and lemon sorbet with vodka. Only this last,
simple and refreshing, dessert worked. The apple tart
had too little flavour of apples, was too sweet and was
overwhelmed by caramel. The pineapple pancake was an
adequate crepe, but again was overly sweet and the
pieces of pineapple were so hard, some were inedible.
Overall, the hits are good enough to keep me coming
back, but if only they fixed the misses, this place
could be excellent. The address is 4/1 Ratvithi Rd. If
you are on the inside moat road traveling north from
Thapae Gate, you will see a Siam Commercial Bank on your
left, at the corner of Ratvithi Rd. Turn left there and
the restaurant is on your right, next to the bank. There
is ample parking in the neighbouring lot. The telephone
number is 053-289-557.
I welcome comments at: [email protected] There have been
some questions about our review policy. We outline it
periodically here. Reviewers normally eat at a
restaurant anonymously. If it appears to be worth
reviewing, we usually return for a second meal first. If
the restaurant does not appear particularly worthwhile,
we do not waste time returning and do not review it. We
try many more restaurants than we end up writing about
because we want to tell you about restaurants that we
believe readers will enjoy visiting.
Thai eggs with peppers
This is an interesting derivation from
Hungarian eggs, and is something that can be made from items found in most
family fridges. These types of home cooking always reflect not just the tastes
of the region, but also the most abundant and cheap ingredients. While the
recipe calls for green bell peppers (capsicum), red or yellow can be used.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and add onion,
garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover
and simmer very slowly over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add tomatoes and continue to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Season with
salt, pepper to taste. Add eggs, mixing well. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve immediately.
Green bell pepper, chopped
Tomatoes, roughly chopped 2 medium
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Coriander fresh chopped finely 1 tbspn
Eggs, lightly beaten
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