A slice of bygone-era France in Bangkok.
For a slice of bygone-era France in Bangkok, visit Maxim’s Bistrot. The legendary restaurant got its start in Paris in 1893 and has since expanded to several cities worldwide. The establishment has always been known for its sumptuous Art Nouveau decor, and the Bangkok location at Groove stands out with its red leather chairs, gleaming wood floor and ornate mirrors. Feast on French classics like Maxim’s foie gras terrine, croque monsieur with gruyere, and salad nicoise. Their pastries are not to be missed, especially the sassily named Coco Chanel cake with its apricot center wrapped in coconut flakes.
The Paris restaurant Maxim’s, famous for its Art Nouveau décor and exclusive clientele, was cool from its founding in 1893 up to the 1970s. The restaurant on Rue Royale remains, and even welcomes the occasional chic party, but it’s now much more for tourists than locals. Branches have opened from Tokyo to London, and the brand is being spun off as a line of products—just like Fauchon or LeNôtre.
The Bangkok venue is surprisingly affordable, its décor and bistro food suitably convincing. The dishes don’t have much soul, and diners are thin on the ground (making the atmosphere a bit depressing), but if you’re hankering for café Parisien favorites like an entrecote (rib eye, B650) or even a humble croque monsieur (B250), Maxim’s is the real deal.
Salads have suitably piquant dressings, whether it’s the balsamic or the mustard-heavy vinaigrette, and are generally a couple notches above what most places offer: thin slices of radish and cucumber, bed of beetroot (for the goat cheese salad, B250), quail eggs, olives and anchovies (for the Nicoise, B290). Added bonus: the bread basket of rustic, fragrant and delicately sour bread. You’ll find very similar mini-salads served with most mains, and similarly competent execution.
The boeuf Bourguignon (B420) comes with mashed potato so creamy it almost feels like aligot, a fondue-like dish from Aveyron. The stew itself is rich and powerful, nearly perfect except for the occasional piece of dry beef. The duck confit is not quite as inspired. The meat is a tad dry, the flavors lacking, the diced potato fry-up underwhelming. The desserts come in rather petite portions, actually a nice touch when it’s your third course. They, too, are solidly executed but unremarkable.
The overall feeling is of an executive set lunch in a Parisian Novotel. Given the mall setting, and the lack of diners, it all makes for a rather uninspiring experience. Still, we like the refined décor, service and piano soundtrack. And French bistro food by the numbers is still way better than the overcooked fusion pasta dishes served by some of Maxim’s competition at Groove—places that, oddly enough, also happen to be jam-packed.
|Address:||Maxim’s Bistrot, 2/F, Groove, Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 11:30am-10:30pm|
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