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Des Gourmet is not too far

By Shana Kongmun
I confess to finding anything out beyond the city limits to be fairly far out, a trait I share with several good friends. However, when my friend Peter van Loo invited me out to his new restaurant, Des Gourmet, on Canal Road near the Night Safari Intersection (directly across from the Ban Nai Fun 2 gate) I gathered together a few friends and we all made the drive. Which wasn’t so far after all. It is easy to get city bound and put on blinkers for everything outside the city limits, which is, of course, clearly a mistake.
Peter is an affable and amiable host whose restaurant offers a casual atmosphere, we sat inside the cozy wooden cabin for dinner but there is plenty of garden dining and with the cool season coming, many may prefer that instead.
I had a pork dish in a hot pot with fantastically creamy gravy of some kind. I don’t know if this is a Dutch dish, Peter is, after all, Dutch and often has many Dutch dishes on his menu including a rijsttafel offered on Fridays, I believe. A very popular special Peter noted. The Indonesian rijsttafel or rice table, is a meal adapted by the Dutch during the colonial days in West Sumatra and consists of many small dishes served in small portions with rice prepared in several different ways. One quiet Friday night, I will have to give a try because if the pork dish I had is any indication of Peter’s skills with special menus, it is going to be good.
Peter has a small set menu and then recommended specialty dishes, which is what I had. Pork loin in gravy was how he described it and it was delicious. I admit to cleaning the hot pot out. Another friend had a more traditional steak meal, and as asked, the meat was cooked medium rare. Or as Peter points out, American style where the steak is cooked on a higher heat and seared on the outside rather than Thai style which is cooked more slowly. I didn’t realize there were different styles to cooking steak and Peter’s descriptions certainly explained many disappointing steaks I have had in Thailand over the years as I am American and I do love my steak medium rare as well.
My companion was pleased with the steak, and although he said it was a bit more medium rare than he was used to he ate it all and enjoyed it. It was accompanied by a small salad, some fries and steamed vegetables. My pork loin dish came with a small salad as well.
We then moved on to dessert and my friends opted for the apple pie. However, this wasn’t your traditional apple pie, more of a cake/crumble concoction, very Dutch according to Peter. The general opinion was that the apple pie was superb, unexpectedly different but delicious nonetheless. We enjoyed our dessert with some delicious Illy coffee to end the meal.
Between wine, dinner and dessert our dinners came out to a very reasonable 400 baht each although I must confess we had a fair amount of wine. Non-drinkers would find their bills less.
Des Gourmet is open 7 days a week and is easily found headed towards Hang Dong on Canal Road, the turn off is well marked by big yellow signs and is just before the Night Safari intersection. 0871839393.



Ab Jin

Everyone knows Sai Oua (Northern sausage) but only a few people know that Ab Jin is related to Sai Oua. Even though they look totally different I can confirm they are brothers.
Ab Jin is minced pork with spices wrapped in banana leaf and grilled until it’s well done. The recipe is the same as the pork in Sai Oua. Next time when you see a burned banana leaf bundle on cooking stove in a market please don’t walk away, but try it!
You should ask the vendor if it is pork inside because sometimes they will make the same recipe but with pork brains which is called “Ab Ong Or”. So, if you are concerned about eating brains, double check!
To make Ab Jin
500g. of roughly minced pork mixed together with chili paste. Remember, we have made this before, it is with dried chili, shallot, garlic, lemon grass, curcuma and salt pounded together.
Add chopped kaffir lime leaves and 2 eggs, stirring until its mixed well into the pork mince. Put about 100g of pork mince into a banana leaf, wrap and grill on a coal cooking stove using low heat for about 20 minutes. Keep turning the packet so it doesn’t burn.
Make sure it’s well cooked. Have a good dinner!

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