A family-friendly French bistro takes on Sukhumvit’s party strip.
Soho Hospitality (Above Eleven, Charcoal, Havana Social) moves into casual French dining. Expect comforting classics including Australian wagyu beef tartare with confit egg yolk and porcini oil, and lobster bisque with sweet corn and pickled baby corn. There are also French-inspired cocktails like La Vie En Rose (rose petal-infused Barcardi, yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and rose essence).
Brasserie Cordonnier doesn’t do food trends. As far as the menu of former J’Aime sous-chef Clement Hernandez is concerned, there is no difficult concept to sell, no fad dishes—just reliable, comforting French bistro classics: snails (B390), beef tartare (B460) and bowls of onion soup spewing drips of cheese (B280).
As an anti-concept concept, it works. Hernandez’s sauces have those clean, precision flavors you get from properly good French cooking. His beef bourguignon (B520), for example, does justice to its hefty, fork-apart chunks of meat with a velvety gravy and sinfully oily (we mean this as a compliment) croutons. That onion soup, too, is a comforting bowl of unctuously sodden bread and gooey, flavorful emmental—the thing has so much cheese that it’s more like a fondue (again, a compliment).
All this classicism does sometimes have its downsides. The confit pork belly with onion puree (B420) is perfectly cooked and a pleasure to look at, but tediously one dimensional in flavor save for the occasional, peppery hit of a fresh leaf of rocket. On our last visit, the sadly under-plump escargots (one snail so malnourished that we gave up trying to fish him out of his shell) were no match for their rich, tried-and-tested dressing of garlic and parsley.
We also wish that Brasserie Cordonnier’s cocktail menu could respect the classics in the same way that the food does. When we want a well-poured mix of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari, we’d rather just order a Boulevardier than have to figure out what “With Love From Monet” (B350) means. And cocktails that come with paint brushes and instructions: just no. Save yourself the bother and go with the excellent Bordeaux by the glass (B300).
There are also more sophisticated ways of saying brasserie than with Cordonnier’s playing-by-numbers, faux-aged interior. The space feels like the French equivalent of one of those Sukhumvit “Irish pubs”—same cheap-looking wood paneling and distressed walls, only with fake cigarette machines instead of Guinness tat. Head upstairs to the cocktail lounge and instead you get a weird “shoe cabinet” theme, though the balcony makes an excellent place to enjoy your dessert (a delicious apple tarte tatin, B220) and people watch as the Soi 11 party crowd comes out to play. Corkage B500
This review took place in October 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.