The Allium Bangkok
This French fine dining restaurant is a sleeper hit.
The buzz: Helmed by Dutch national Roxanne Lange—one of the Marriott International’s youngest chefs de cuisine—this modern European opening replaces The Reflexions as part of The Athenee Hotel’s recent revamp.
The vibe: High ceilings, vibrant red and white panel walls and marble flooring combine for a more stereotypically Chinese than European feel, with a business-like air. Individual tables run along the soft gray banquette at the center, flanked by a long bar at one side and a glass wall on the other looking out to a balcony herb garden. Towards the far end, the open kitchen is preceded by a flowing, natural wood table capable of seating 12 guests.
The food: With a background working under Henk Savelberg in Holland and later as chef de cuisine at Savelberg Bangkok, chef Roxanne artfully prepares French haute cuisine in set menus. These range from plant-based options (from B1,800 for six courses) and the seven-course Le Petit (B2,480) to the 10-course Memoirs of Home (B3,280), in which three sizable amuse bouche and a palate cleanser bring the total up to 14. Bursting with piquant flavor, chef Roxanne’s colorful Chiang Mai tomato salad features elements of gazpacho and sun-dried tomatoes, inspired by her mother’s soup, while memories of childhood crab fishing are evoked in an island of creamy Thai mudcrab atop crunchy cucumber spaghetti and broth. Well balanced flavors and texture combinations are a theme, from rich and creamy French Moulard duck liver countered with sweet apple and crunchy nut crumble, and turbot in buttery beurre blanc sauce with salty chorizo cubes and beetroot crisps, to mellow dashi sauce poured over an expertly cooked Hokkaido scallop with pumpkin puree. Calamansi with white chocolate mousse, mini meringue bites and Madagascan vanilla ice cream makes for a tart and refreshing endnote.
The drinks: The extensive wine list, separated by country and region, charts a number of reasonably priced natural, organic and sustainable bottles. Try the 2017 Pinot Grigio, Alois Lageder “Porer” from Alto Adige, Italy (B430/2,100), followed by the fruity, juicy 2017 Pinot Noir, Clos Henri “Petit Clos” from Marlborough, New Zealand (B430/2,200).
Why we’d come back: Combining complex textures, balanced flavors and quality produce, each and every dish is a hit. This is one of the most consistent menus we’ve come across.