Enjoy classic French fare and good wine while rubbing shoulders with the local bigwigs.
Philippe is part of Bangkok’s old-guard French establishment. Dating right back to 1998, this once-favorite of the city’s beau monde was named “Best Restaurant of the Year” in Thailand Tatler’s Best Restaurants back in 2008 and 2009. In 2016, it still cracked the top 30 in BK’s own Top Tables dining guide.
Drop by on a Friday night and you’ll still find a good buzz in the dining room, as well as chef-patron Philippe Peretti making small-talk with guests—but only after 9pm and in sauce-stained chef’s whites that speak of a man whose real role is in the kitchen. His food is unremittingly traditional, dealing in one-dimensional yet powerful flavors of wine, cream and mushroom—an ingredient that comes diced into sauces, scattered across plates and crowning proteins in just about every dish of the B2,200, five-course set menu. (We visited in January.)
Portions are another Philippe strong suit. What he calls a second course—on our last visit, a tender stuffed chicken breast scattered in earthy field mushrooms and doused in a rich, morel cream sauce—could pass as an a la carte main. Were it not cool in the middle we’d be even more filled with praise. The same can’t be said of the other proteins we’ve experienced, which, from a perfectly treated fillet of local white fish (pla boo)—skin deliciously crisp, flakes of white flesh slippery and moist—to a succulently rare beef tenderloin, have been handled expertly.
You’re not getting the most inventive meal in town—a dollop of sauce plus prime meat plus sprinkling of micro-leaves is the format from the second course to the fourth—but the flavors are powerful, the cooking delicate, and the bang for buck readily felt when compared with the price for dinner at J’Aime or Savelberg. We say that in relation to the set menu only—go a la carte and you’re looking at B500-1,000 for starters and B1,000-4,000 for mains.
Not everything will knock your socks off. A starter of foie gras torchon is the same kind of competent produce-driven cuisine any neighborhood restaurant can collect on a plate, while the dessert of passion fruit sherbet, meringue and crumble is, once you break through its elaborate chocolate dome, little more than a tasty ice cream. The quality of Philippe’s bread and a piffling six wines by the glass (starting from B350) are further nods to mediocrity.
Just like the dining room’s turquoise silk wallpaper and well-worn hardwoods, dinner at Philippe is for the most part aging well—just don’t go looking for total perfection. Corkage B500
|Address:||Philippe Restaurant, 20/15-17 Sukhumvit 39, Bangkok, 10110 Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm|
|Nearest train||BTS Phrom Phong|
|Reservation recommended, Parking available|
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