If you want to ignite the flame of passion in your beau this month, take your fellah to Le Cochon Blanc where Pennsylvanian native Chandler Schultz and his team deliver sophisticated American-style barbecue favourites with French twists that is sure to appeal to the inner caveman in any red-blooded chap.
The undoubted focal point of Le Cochon Blanc is its huge, recently refurbished circular fire pit that greets diners at the restaurant’s entrance. On, in, over and around it, Schultz and Co prepare almost 90 per cent of the dishes on the menu using top quality ingredients such as Normandie oysters and Bouchot mussels, Australian wagyu striploin and grain-fed prime short-rib, free-range organic pork and poultry from northern Thailand, plus artisanal sausages and premium butter and cheese from renowned French producers Emmanuel Chavassieux and Jean-Yves Bordier respectively.
In fact, nothing escapes the flames here with fruits and vegetables—many of which are sourced from producers in Chiang Mai—finding hanging space over the hot coals so that they can be slow-cooked and used in a variety of other dishes, including desserts and cocktails. The vast majority of these offerings are designed for sharing, which is another reason why Le Cochon Blanc makes for a good date venue, and while meats are obviously to the fore there are options for vegetarians. A great way to start is with a toothsome salad. Try either the Mexican-inspired grilled corn salad, which comes with lime, coriander, crispy shallots and a smoked chilli paste for a fiery kick, or the vibrant beetroot salad incorporating a pecan crumb for crunch, a homemade horseradish sauce for a peppery-mustard note and preserved lemon for a zesty finish.
In terms of a main course, for beef lovers the undoubted star is a delectable offering of 250-day grain-fed black Angus short-rib, which is smoked for a few hours and then cooked sous vide at 58° C for 48 hours before a final stint of charring and caramelisation over the fire pit. The result is so tender that it cuts like the best of steaks. If your preference is for pork, try the locally reared pork jowl, which is coated with a spice rub, cold-smoked, grilled and served dressed with refreshing pomegranate.
As an alternative to meat, from the sea French mackerel that has been salted, cured and also finished over the coals is very good. Served with tomatoes and bell peppers, it has a wonderful smoky-sweet flavour. Also excellent is fresh whole lobster slow-grilled with simple herb butter then sealed using indirect heat from hot coals lifted from the fire pit. Ultra succulent, it goes well with a generous portion of Belgian-style fries and a piquant homemade mayonnaise. These are a must—par boiled and then flash-fried in beef dripping for a crispy golden finish, you’ll be hard pushed to find better anywhere in town.
If you have room for one, among the desserts Schultz tips his cap to his homeland with the recent introduction of a sophisticated riff on S’mores, the classic American campfire treat made with toasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers. The Pennsylvanian chef’s toothsome version features brûléed marshmallows on chocolate crème with toasted almond brittle and a slightly bitter almond ice cream. It is a great way to finish.
Cooking over a live fire may be mankind’s oldest form of preparing food but it certainly isn’t an exact science. That said, having mastered the nuances of the raw heat generated by their magnificent fire pit, Schultz and his colleagues have taken the art of barbecue one step closer to perfection, and that can only gladden a hungry man’s heart.
Le Chochon Blanc
26 Soi Phrom Chit, Sukhumvit 33
Open daily 6pm-midnight
02-662-3814, email@example.com, lecochonblanc.com
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