LA TABLE DE TEE
By : JOHN GRANVILLE
18 September 2019
About: For more than ten years, Tee Kachonklin has run his small, independently owned French-Thai restaurant in Sala Daeng. As with so many good restaurants, La Table de Tee is hard to find, hidden away down a dead-end soi next to the market stalls, its neighbours including an office supplies shop and a “boutique hotel”. This speakeasy quality is irresistible, and it is remarkable too when one considers that it is within easy walking distance of both Silom and Sathorn roads. Tee had previously worked for six years in London, and wanted to open a chef’s table restaurant in Bangkok that combined French cooking styles with Thai strong flavours and ingredients. His restaurant was the first of its kind to open here.
Decor: A nice flourish of greenery outside the restaurant makes it easily identifiable from the entrance to the soi. There is very little space in this single shophouse for any kind of decor, and the ambience is more like a cheerful cafe, with diffused lighting and artwork on the walls lending a gallery atmosphere. Tee himself will emerge from the kitchen at the back and discuss the menu with guests, which is a really nice touch.
Menu: There is only one menu, a five-course tasting menu that is priced at 1,350 baht and which changes every week (sometimes more frequently) and is based entirely on what is available in the local markets, which Tee visits every day. Most of the courses present at least one choice. The menu is posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page the day before it changes. There is a brief listing of drinks, including cocktails and wines, with a few wines available by the glass. On our most recent visit we started with an appetiser of goat cheese ravioli with a five-spice cream sauce, and then moved on to a serving of beetroot tartlets with roasted prawn and a garlic sauce. A green pea risotto was served with asparagus and poached quail eggs. One of us had a seared cut of wild salmon, cooked sous vide and with a sweet basil hollandaise sauce, while the other had pan-roasted Thai-French beef tenderloin with black olives and thyme beef jus (this dish carried a supplement of 150 baht). To end, we had a dessert of mango with cinnamon.
Evaluation: A restaurant such as La Table de Tee, housed in unpretentious premises and run on a humble, family-style basis is able to keep costs down as well as have a homely appeal. Even so, the cost of a set menu here is extraordinarily good value, and with courses that seemed to us to be of a perfect size for a five-course tasting menu. There are only a handful of staff, but despite the place being full, they coped well and were charming. Reservations are recommended, as is a regular perusal of Tee’s Facebook page, which carries a great number of happy comments from customers.