J'AIME BY JEAN-MICHEL LORAIN
By : JOHN GRANVILLE
30 November 2018
About: Set on the second floor of the U Sathorn Bangkok hotel, with one side facing the pool and the other front-facing towards the main entrance of the hotel, J’aime is a venture by Jean-Michel Lorain, one of the most highly respected chefs in France. His daughter Marine is in charge here, and the kitchen is helmed by one of his protégés, Amerigo Sesti.
Decor: It’s enough to make you blink; purple and greys form the color scheme. The upside-down design has a grand piano hanging from the ceiling and acting as a lighting fixture. There is a lounge area plus a bar equipped with high backed stools, and the open kitchen provides the agreeable theatre of watching the busy chefs at work.
Menu: We enjoyed a tasting menu of five courses with wine pairings; a special menu that was devised where dishes were derived from both of their tasting menus. The five-course tasting menu is priced at 2,899 baht, with an additional 2,199 baht for the wine. There is also an eight-course tasting menu at 3,999 baht with an additional 2,399 baht for wine pairing. Our first course was Canadian lobster bisque served with chopped garlic, parsley and citrus zest (gremolata, an Italian condiment that makes every mouthful pop with its fresh and bright flavours, this is a family recipe of Chef Sesti, who is Italian and who loves to put an Italian touch to his dishes). Bright orange in colour, the gremolata imparted a rich brothlike taste with the added textural element of crunch from the chives. Paired with this we had a Crémant De Bourgogne Brut NV L’être Magique, from Maison De Grand Esprit, in Burgundy. The second wine was also from Burgundy, a Saint-Véran, Terroirs de Davayé, 2016 from Maison Verget, which had a melon taste and paired absolutely brilliantly with the Gillardeau oyster - the best oyster preparation we ever had! It was a Gillardeau No 2 special oyster, with crunchy apple, cucumber nage and tamarind sorbet, the latter having a perfect tartness. Steamed sea bass was served with celeriac julienne and truffle butter, a recipe from Marine's grandfather. There is a subtle flavour of truffle in the sauce and it seasons the delicate fish beautifully. This course was paired withCôtes du Rhône Clavin Blanc 2016, from Domaine De La Vieille Julienne, in the Rhône Valley. Our final dish prior to dessert was the stuffed quail, morel mushroom, Beaufort cheese and yellow wine sauce. Bourgogne Rouge, La Vignée, 2015, a wine from Bouchard Père & Fils of Burgundy was served with this course. Stuffed with the cheese, it brought a richness to the quail and the dish had an inspired Asian touch with the addition of morning glory. The rose ice cream in crystalised rose petals was exquisite. The accompanying wine, a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, from Domaine des Bernardins 2016 in the Rhône Valley,was rose gold in colour and had a satisfyingly woozy high alcohol content.
Evaluation: The set lunch menu is changed after a month or a month and a half, the signature dishes remaining on the menu whereas the seasonal items are introduced. The tasting menu is changed twice a year. J'aime is a foodie's dream, and the attention to detail in terms of service, execution and the cuisine left us oozing with contentment. It was a brilliant way to kickstart our weekend with an incomparable culinary journey.