La Favola’s new Sunday Brunch
The Perfect Combination
I love buffet meals – tasting a bit of this and
a bit of that – and then going back to the items I like
the most for the ‘chow down.’ I have a friend who would
rather choose her food from a menu and then have it
served to her.
Favola, the ‘upscale’ and literally ‘upstairs’ Italian
Restaurant at Le Méridien Hotel has put together the
perfect combination, with their ‘Sunday Brunch,’
debuting recently to a full house of over 100 diners –
each expressing amazement at the amount and quality of
the food being laid out before them.
The price of 770 baht per person (plus 10% tip and 7%
VAT) includes coffee or tea, a wide selection of
starters and desserts – with a large range of choices
from a printed menu in between. Menu items are prepared
to your preference and served by competent and attentive
service personnel. A wine cellar is stacked with
choices, or a generous cocktail is 210 baht, and a
three-piece jazz ensemble performs throughout the meal.
Executive Chef Gustavo Maurelli, together with the F&B
managers, have combined the best of both the Buffet and
Menu concepts. On the beautifully- presented starter
table I counted no less than 14 selections. Prepared
portions of seafood, vegetable salads, green salads,
cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes, salami,
prosciutto and other meats, were all frequently
refreshed so that rarely was a service plate depleted.
I chose my favorites and returned to the table to find
various breads – Focaccia, Lavash, bread sticks, and
dinner rolls, complimented by three butter choices: one
each infused with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, or chick
Already feeling somewhat overwhelmed, we were presented
with the menu and had the daunting task of choosing from
36 individual dishes arranged in 10 categories.
These are not buffet items – they are individually
prepared, large portions, although I was told that if I
wanted to do more sampling, the chef would prepare
smaller-than-normal portions of my choices. I didn’t
The menu itself was beyond the wildest expectations of
any over-eater. Six choices of egg dishes, each served
with oven roasted potatoes, Caesar Salad or mixed salad
with balsamic dressing, three choices of soup – I chose
mushroom, very thick and creamy – four choices of
ricotta, all of which were delicious, five choices of
fresh, homemade pasta, also delicious, with my choice
being the ravioli with sautéed spinach and ricotta
cheese with a creamy presto sauce. Also on were four
choices of pizza, two of calzone, one fish and three
meat dishes. My chosen meat dish was spring lamb shank
braised in Chianti and served with soft herbed polenta
and vegetables in natural jus. I used to live in New
Zealand and often had lamb shank – prepared from
someone’s grandma’s recipe. None of which was as good as
the ‘falling off the bone’ lamb shank served today.
The dessert table featured no less than 20 choices –
from fresh, cut fruit to tarts, small pies, and Favola’s
signature dessert, Tiramisu.
I have not written many reviews for this column – but
each of them has been positive. If I didn’t like the
restaurant, I just didn’t write about it. I have
overheard people comment that reviews are always
äpositiveä since this is a commercial newspaper and
editorially will not allow critical comment. While I
have never tested that theory, I can tell you I have
never written a critical review because I wouldn’t want
to waste my time. I want to write about positive
experiences, leaving bad restaurants to find their own
way to extinction.
Continuing on a positive note, in a short conversation
with the food and beverage manager, I asked who he had
identified as the ‘target group’ for this brunch. His
response was: ‘The resident Chiang Mai community. It is
no secret that business is down, so we are trying to put
together something attractive for the residents.’ Bravo
and kudos to the management team. While Chiang Mai’s
hotels, resorts and spas were built to serve the
tourist, too many often seem to arrogantly dismiss the
market that lives here week after week.
I strongly advise that you try this Sunday brunch. I
have eaten at every hotel buffet in town, from hotels
with no stars, to hotels with too many stars. I have
eaten at the finest and the worst restaurants in Chiang
Mai. I don’t know why earlier buffets at Le Méridien
didn’t succeed, but congratulations to La Favola for
knowing when a format is not working, and creating a new
one. With this combination of buffet and menu options,
they have created a perfect combination.
The Sunday Brunch will continue to be served between
11.30 p.m. and 3 p.m., as long as demand dictates. Make
a reservation on 053-253-266 if you are planning to go.
I suspect the positive comments resulting from this
successful opening event are going to ensure a full
house every Sunday for weeks to come. The Le Méridien is
located on Chan Klan Road; underground parking and/or
free valet parking is available.
Pork with Five-Spice sauce
A traditional Chinese dish this week, and you can substitute
beef or chicken for the pork. It can be served with fried egg noodles instead of
steamed rice if you wish, but poured over the egg noodles and garnished with
coriander makes this a very flavorsome dish.
Mix together the garlic, salt, ginger, soy, sugar and
Five-Spice until the sugar is dissolved. Cut the pork into
small bite-sized pieces and add to the mixture and leave for
15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Heat the oil in the wok and add the meat mixture, quickly
stir-frying for two minutes or until the pork changes color.
Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Mix the corn flour with one tablespoon water and slowly add
to the wok, stirring constantly, until the sauce is slightly
Ingredients Serves 4
Lean pork 350 gm
Garlic clove crushed 1
Salt ½ tspn
Fresh ginger root grated ½
Dark soy sauce 1 tbspn
Sugar 1 tspn
Beef or chicken stock 150 ml
Corn flour (cornstarch)