Precise. Elegant. French. Henk Savelberg does fine dining in the classic sense of the phrase. Some of your dishes may have a modern flourish—be it shocking orange tableware or neat rows of faux-fish scales atop poached lobster—but the restrained flavor combinations and formal graces are as polished as they come.
As a chef-proprietor, Henk Savelberg held one Michelin star in Amsterdam before moving his restaurant to Bangkok. With its vast expanses of glass and high-ceilings, the incarnation at Oriental Residence feels spacious and open, but not particularly intimate. Service is impeccable and comes complete with the requisite French-speaking maitre d’ (who’s also the sommelier).
If pressed for a label, French is also how we’d describe the delicate and delicious food. Just don’t go expecting coq au vin. The kitchen’s daintily-plated creations, much of it seafood, mostly stick to a light and citrus-centric palette. Umami notes are rare—almost no beef or lamb in Savelberg’s three multi-course menus—and so are aromatics (herbs, garlic, spices). The results are subtle yet immensely satisfying.
Opening the eight-course menu, the “egg with caviar” (30g for B2,700 a la carte) is refreshing, salty and creamy, its accompanying cold potato base ever-so-slightly tinged with leek. It takes two more dishes before Savelberg works up the audacity to throw a sauce antiboise (with monkfish, B2,100) at you, whose very light tomato sauce may actually have had a run-in with a shallot. That’s not to say his dishes don’t pack bright, shiny flavors. The lobster salad (B1,300) balances bitter frisee, fragrant strawberries and the unique flavor of white asparagus. The raw oyster (B250) explodes with the sharp acidity of passion fruit foam and the green melon flavors of cucumber.
In a break with current trends, the origin of most of his produce isn’t mentioned. Still, you’ll notice the chicken is French Label Rouge, the turbot from the North Sea, the cheeses Dutch. And wherever the rest is coming from, it’s all great stuff. Savelberg’s deep knowledge of traditional French cooking styles is readily apparent, but he also gets a bit playful here and there: a spherized amuse bouche or dessert, the occasional foam.
The a la carte prices are terrifying (and an espresso costs B330) but the four-course menu is B3,000, the six-course B3,700 and the eight-course B5,000. That’s darn reasonable compared to Joel Robuchon’s B7,500 degustation menu. Why Savelberg dropped out of our very own Top Tables 2017 is a mystery and an injustice. So here we are, disagreeing with our panelists: Savelberg is one of Bangkok’s very best fine-dining restaurants.
|Address:||Savelberg, G/F, Oriental Residence, 110 Wireless Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BBBB - BBBB|
|Open since:||November, 2014|
|Opening hours:||daily noon-2pm, 6-9pm|
|Reservation recommended, Parking available, Dress requirements|
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