A hidden jewel in Bangkok’s international dining scene, Aubergine is an intimate restaurant that looks and feels as if it would be right at home on Paris’s Left Bank. Complete with the Edith Piaf background music and a French native working his magic in the kitchen.
The menu comprises a traditional French fare laced with accents of the Mediterranean, beautifully presented with ‘less is more portions’ and an extensive wine list. Consisting of five dining areas, the restaurant is available for private parties and business functions. Smokers are well catered for with the garden-style, al-fresco terrace.
Where is it
Based on Sala Daeng Soi one, just a five minute walk from the BTS (exit four). Once on Soi one, walk for five metres and the relevant signs will lead you to the restaurant. Aubergine is quietly nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Silom and Sathorn roads, while still being in walking distance of the two. Set within its own grounds, complimentary parking for patrons is provided.
This 80-year-old house was the one-time Russian embassy. The interior radiates an air of old school glamour, with its teakwood fittings and high ceilings. The two-storey building includes an old fashioned staircase, which adds to the prevailing homely atmosphere.
Keeping with the personalised theme, some of the canvases hanging from the walls come from the proprietress personal collection. The eclectic cluster of paintings from around the globe, contribute to the mix matched elegance of the venue.
Intimately light, the place is incurably romantic, especially with the warm tones used on the walls and the rich, polished wood that surrounds. The wine cellar is an intimate dining room, perfect for a small celebration.
Just from observing the customers one can see that few are on their first visit to the restaurant. The loyal clientele Aubergine has managed to acquire is no doubt due to a number of factors; service, food and atmosphere probably being the deciding three.
Ultimately it lacks an air of pretentiousness and is incredibly welcoming and warm, a comforting space, ideal for an intimate or group get together. In the managers own words she strives for a “home away from home ambience’. This is well achieved, from the smallest to the bigger details, with no compromise on the food or service.
From the classic French ballads that provide the soothing background music, to the fresh flowers and smiling faces of staffs, it all adds up to a charming ambience.
The extensive wine list brings together flavors from France, Chilly, Italy and California, bottles range from the affordable to the pricey – 1200 THB- 10500 THB. The Chablis, Joseph Drouhin, 2006 is reasonably priced and well suited to accompany the foie gras.
The Yvon Mau, Merlot France, is a good choice to eat with your main course. The medium-light texture has a hint of sweetness in it, perfect when married with the duck confit. Finally for a succulent dessert wine, the Chateau Pettie Borie Aoc, a sweet white that does not over bare the palate.
Ok, without a doubt the best thing about this restaurant is the food, with much of the ingredients being imported, little expense is spared on creating the perfect dish.
Predominantly French, the menu has been altered to cater to the needs of the Thai clientele, so expect some uncharacteristic sauces and a few specially tailored dishes, such as the homemade paradelle with fishragu, bottarga, tomato and fresh rocket. Fusing Italian and French cuisine for an Asian audience, the pasta is light while still serving the purpose of filling you up.
To start we had the signature French dishes compressed foie gras terrine with asparagus and ham and onion chutney. Pan-fried frogs legs with almond crème sauce “Lyonnaise” style, imported from Japan. Cooked to perfection the crème sauce was the perfect fit, adding to the texture of the meat.
For our main course we decided on roasted duck confit with sautéed spinach and roasted diced potatoes. The duck was roasted to perfection, crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside.
To complete the evening we indulged ourselves in something sweet. As they say when in Rome, the Crepe Suzette Flambé with Grand Marnier and brandy, served with vanilla ice cream was the perfect French-inspired finish to a superb meal. Prepared before our very eyes, it was definitely the cherry on top of the cake.
The service was both gracious and efficient. The number of wait staff was just right to cater to dinners needs, while not overcrowding the place and being obtrusive. The wait staffs etiquette was well matched to the style of food and general overriding atmosphere of the restaurant was understatedly elegant.