My gal and I recently had the opportunity to experience the 5-course “Le Grand Bouquet” fine dining menu at the Vie Hotel Bangkok’s newest fine dining restaurant Signature (official Facebook page). We both agreed that this was the best meal we’ve had this year. Considering all of the great dining experiences we’ve enjoyed that’s the highest praise I can give it, and it’s well deserved.
This 5-course “floral cuisine” menu (2.990 baht ++) was presented by world-renowned Chef Thierry Drapeau, the legendary chef whose restaurant Logis de la Chabotterie in France retained a 2-Michelin star ranking for 9 consecutive years. Our meal was also paired with 5 different boutique French wines (1,990 baht ++) expertly selected by Head Sommelier Théo Lavergne, formerly the sommelier at the 2-Michelin star Le Clarence restaurant in Paris. These two make quite a team.
Because the meal and wine experience were so incredible and such an amazing value, I want to write about it and share it with you. If you love to eat fine dining, and you love a good deal, this article is for you.
Kick it off with canapés…
Both the 5-course (2,990 baht ++) and 3-course (1,990 baht ++) tasting menus also include canapes, mise en bouche, dessert, mignardises, and a signature gift. So despite what the course menu lists you should expect more.
Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were greeted at the elevator and shown to a small table with plush leather chairs with a gorgeous view of Bangkok’s cityscape. We were offered this naturalistic display of canapés and a glass of champagne. It was explained to us that this was to be an introduction to Chef Theirry’s “cuisine of the soil” approach to the evening’s meal in which he would combine together the finest ingredients from both land and sea of his hometown in Vendée, France, and his new home in Bangkok.
The canapés consisted of small cylindrical cups of cream of mogette white bean soup with an emulsion of spinach, slices of préfou (a garlic bread popular in Vendée), little crispy balls of snails beside shells filled with a savory sauce to sip, fresh vegetable ravioli, and poached eggs re-shelled with creamy spinach on the bottom and a butter emulsion on top.
Keep in mind, this was how we began the meal BEFORE we even got to our table!
After enjoying our canapés and champagne, we were ushered to our table and offered fresh bread and two types of butter, one with smoked salt, and another with Kampot pepper. Bread service was offered throughout the meal from the station nearby.
All about the beetroot
We began our meal (still off-menu) with this appetizer platter of different bites made with beetroot and raspberries. It was explained to start with the “pearl” (what I initially thought was a black cherry) on the spoon and then work down the line until you got to the sorbet.
The “pearl” is actually beetroot juice and raspberry that bursts in your mouth with flavor. Along the line are red and yellow beetroot prepared naturally, a thin crisp of beetroot, a springy marshmallow made of red beetroot, jam of beetroot and raspberry, and finally, a sorbet made of beetroot and raspberry to finish. I had no idea beets were so versatile!
Now on to the menu…
Normally when I hear “floral cuisine”, I get a bit apprehensive. My concern is that the dishes are going to be prepared for photography and not taste. Flowers are pretty–they’re not exactly flavorful. But that was certainly not the case with this menu. The presentation for all of the dishes was gorgeous and the flavors were unfailingly lip-smacking.
The menu began with this dish of Blue Lobster from Brittany with cucumber variations and purple Oxalis flower petals. The lobster was cooked perfectly with a sweet crunch which was further enhanced by a coating of crispy puffed rice.
Along with the strip of lobster tail, the dish was also accompanied by two small dishes of lobster infused savory bites with cucumber based sauces and nibbles which we enjoyed with a pairing of Sancerre “Florés” Domaine Vincent Pinard 2017.
I love scallops. This second dish was a real treat for me. These large grilled scallops from Normandy were so succulent flavored with anise and capers.
Accompanying this scallop dish was a cold scallop nibble bursting with citrus flavors and a tender deep-fried fennel bulb with seaweed. We enjoyed this dish with a pairing of Savennières “Les Raisins de L’Amitié” Domaine Damien Laureau 2017.
It’s good to have friends!
The third dish on the menu was strangely named “My Fisherman’s Friend, Laurent Daniel“. It is named this way because the fish is provided by Chef Thierry’s fisherman friend, Laurent Daniel. Signature receives fresh shipments 2-3 times weekly and this particular dish is based on what the particular catch received.
For our experience, we had a filet of fresh toothfish with an incredible saffron sauce, poached leeks, and tubes of concentrated tomato and potato.
This dish was also served with mussel tempura balls with a delicious saffron cream dipping sauce. We enjoyed this dish with a pairing of Bourgueil “Jour de Soif” Domaine de Bel Air 2018. We were surprised to receive a red wine with this fish dish but the spiciness of this vintage really complemented the saffron sauce so well!
BEST duck ever!
Challans is the main economic center of Vendée. It is also known as the “duck capital” as its duck is well known in the gastronomic world. I present this as background information for this fourth dish that we enjoyed, The King of Vendée, a duck dish, of course!
It was also the absolute best duck I have ever had. This roasted French duck Burgaud has a rich flavor and incredibly tender meat and is slathered with a rich duck broth with cacao, a crunchy papaya salad with pumpkin seed, and a ravioli with white chocolate (you read that correctly).
Accompanying the duck dish and served in a cacao pod is this truffle bite filled with foie gras, chocolate, and though it wasn’t confirmed I was told that Chef Thierry likes to add a secret ingredient and I’m pretty confident that secret is some sort of mint.
An inventive “pre-dessert”
This “pre-dessert” dish came to the table with a completely different presentation. It looked like an overturned store-bought plastic yogurt cup on a white plate. It was explained to us that this was Petit-suisse, an unripened, unsalted, smooth, and creamy cheese made from cow’s milk that has a texture closer to a very thick yogurt than a typical cheese.
This is a very popular cheese from Normandy that’s used in desserts, cooking, or just eaten on its own. For Chef Thierry it’s a taste of home that he wants to share with guests.
Under the cup lies Chef Thierry’s homemade Petite-suisse which he’s blended with tastes of mango from his new home, Bangkok. A basil granita adorns the dessert adding further freshness to this creamy mango and fromage frais dessert. Or should I say, “pre-dessert” as things were about to get sweeter for us!
Back on the menu, dessert was this Calamansi Sweetness. Calamansi is a small citrus fruit that has a flavor profile of lemon and lime. The dessert consists of a thin crispy almond wafer wrapping a thick creamy custard. It’s rich, yet refreshing.
Accompanying this dessert were these two side bites, a tart but refreshing tart cup filled with fresh pomelo kernels and marigold flower petals, and these orange wedge-shaped tarts which tasted just like marmalade. We enjoyed this dish paired with a glass of Vouvray Off-dry “Le Haut Lieu” Domaine Huet 2018.
Surprise chocolate finish!
We finished the meal with something decadent which was presented in the same fashion as we had begun the meal. Served on a landscape decorated platter reminiscent of Vendées terroir, was a large chocolate egg. My gal was presented with a white glove and encouraged to smash the egg.
Inside the hollow milk chocolate egg was little truffles dusted with cocoa powder. After polishing those off we were told that we still hadn’t finished the dish. There were truffles rooted to little trees planted beneath the “soil” of chocolate crumble!
Meeting a legend
Originally from Nantes in the Loire Valley, Chef Thierry ran the legendary 2-Michelin star restaurant, “Logis de la Chabotterie” in St. Sulpice Le Verdon in the Loire Valley of France’s Vendée province. He was inspired by home-cooked traditional Sunday meals and was quick to receive recognition for his “cuisine of the soil” approach to cooking and presentation of the region’s famous cuisine and wines.
Chef Thierry received his first Michelin star in 2005, within one year of opening the restaurant. A second Michelin star followed in 2010 which he maintained for nine consecutive years, making him one of a few chefs worldwide to attain this remarkable achievement.
Signature is his new chapter…
After years of simultaneously managing the business and kitchen, Chef Thierry wanted to cast off the shackles of running the business and focus solely on his culinary craft. Eager for a new environment and new ingredients to play with, he had his sights set on Asia. Serendipitously, this also came at a time when Vie Hotel Cluster Manager and long time friend, Nicolas Peth, was looking for Michelin star talent to open a restaurant that would offer fine dining and an exceptional experience that most could afford.
A lot of planning went towards the dining experience at Signature. Comfort was a priority in the seating. The dining area is limited to 30 guests to ensure that guests have an intimate experience. Even the lighting is focused to provide adequate illumination on the dishes at the tables, while softer lighting creates an ambiance throughout the room.
But one of the most exciting features of this restaurant is that the kitchen is entirely open and guests are encouraged to feel free to explore it.
After guests have been seated at their tables, a large curtain is pulled revealing the kitchen team who welcome you to their “stage”. This is done not just for the experience of the guest. It’s also done for the experience of Chef Thierry, who delights in seeing the joyful faces of guests as they dine. A truly humble chef with exceptional talent, he’s thrilled to be starting this new chapter in The Land of Smiles. If you decide to visit this enthusiasm is sure to take hold of you, too!
Again, this was the best meal my gal and I have had this year. As the menu will change monthly and be influenced by the seasonality of ingredients, we will certainly be back to see what’s new in Chef Thierry’s kitchen. If you’re looking for an amazing meal and dining experience that doesn’t break your bank account I highly recommend Signature!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Signature is located on the 11th floor of the Vie Hotel on Phayathai Road, a very short walk from exit 2 of the Ratchathewi BTS Station.
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Signature I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie gems). However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!