J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain Bangkok

French Fine Dining in Sathorn

J’aime Restaurant at U Sathorn Hotel is a French fine-dining experience to rival anything in Bangkok. There is a dedication to classic cuisine here and the contemporary flourishes (of which there are many) are there to reinvigorate age old recipes rather than reimagine them completely.

Although the food at J’aime Bangkok is classic French in preparation and flavour, there is an Asian twist added in the delivery which is unique. For example, appetisers come as three small tapas portions designed to be shared and it’s also surprising to find chopsticks and a lazy Susan on the table.

Executive Chef at J’aime, Jean-Michel Lorain, has achieved worldwide acclaim as the owner of three-Michelin starred Côte Saint Jacques in Burgundy, a restaurant that was opened in 1945 by his grandmother. J’aime Bangkok continues this family affair with several of the grandparents dishes still on the menu and his daughter, Marine, running the front of house.

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Chef de Cuisine Amerigo Sesti is the man in the kitchen on a daily basis who himself has worked in several of the world’s most prestigious restaurants in several continents.

There is an a la carte menu, although considering the cost of a main course is around 1000 to 2000 baht, we feel it is much better value (and a greater experience) to choose the tasting menu which comes in six to nine courses for a cost of 3,199 or 3,990 baht respectively (all prices are inclusive of tax and service). An optional wine pairing costs 1,850 baht.

The first two courses are a great introduction to the range of flavours on show at J’aime Restaurant Bangkok. A Gillardeau oyster is served with a cauliflower puree, a wrap of spinach, and pearls of oyster brine and a combination of citrus and bergamot. It is light yet packed with a flavour of the ocean that lingers on the tongue. The other dish, the quail and foie gras torte, is one of the grandparent’s creations which has been passed through the generations and reshaped from a pie into a dainty slither. It is more manageable this way and allows the foie gras and red port jelly to shine through the deliciously flakey quail meat.

Next up, one of the standout dishes. The pan seared scallop with sweet pumpkin puree, slices of red grape and a wild mushroom on top is matched with a chardonnay from Burgundy (Saint-Veran Le Clos 2013, Maison Verget) which itself has subtle mineral overtones and competes with the impressive range of flavours.

The skate wing is a new addition, with the lightly charred top giving way to delicate white flesh enhanced with buttery crushed potatoes, and capers to cut through the rich butter. The combination of flavours means that every bite resets the palate, as it were, so you can enjoy the flavours again.

Of course, it’s hard to experience French gastronomy and not see foie gras with black truffle. This rich and unmistakable dish is served with rice and paired with a cherry-coloured Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Parfums de vigne, 2012, again from Burgundy. Classic flavours that deliver.

Desserts at J’aime are served on an individual platter and show the evolution of patisserie, from the classic Mille-Feuille (the great-grandmothers recipe), to a honey and raspberry club sandwich, and a heady pecan and coffee Saturn ball, so called because of the biscuit base cutting through the spherical dessert like the rings of Saturn.

Not just catering to dinner guests, there is a lunchtime set menu which costs 1,700 baht for three-courses and a special J’aime Sunday brunch, which forgoes the buffet line experience and delivers all dishes ‘a la minute’ cooked to order and delivered to your table.

If you are lusting after the taste of French country cooking, you will surely find it at J’Aime – but the way it is served introduces an Asian twist which makes it more accessible and fun. Plus, beautiful plating will have you reaching for your camera.

U Sathorn Hotel is located on Soi Preedi, a featureless narrow road which is a quick right then left off Sathorn Soi 1. The hotel is a beautiful expanse of gardens and secluded grounds and makes a complementary setting for such a sophisticated restaurant.

J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain

  • Opening Hours: 12:00 – 14:30 and 18:00 – 22:30
  • Location: U Sathorn Bangkok, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli, Sathorn (Turn into Sathorn Soi 1 and turn right at the ‘T’ junction before a left onto Soi Preedi)
  • MRT: Lumpini
  • BTS: Sala Daeng
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 119 4899
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