In the bustling culinary tapestry of Bangkok, restaurants constantly vie for attention. Each offering the promise of a transformative experience. But only a handful really deliver. Many are just flashes in the pan. Some have brilliant openings and then sink into sustained mediocrity. But then there are others that stand their ground, morphing with the times. Like Lord Jim’s – the cornerstone of the city’s dining scene since 1976 famous for its epic long table. Now under the command of Chef de Cuisine Steen Nagel Nielsen, it has resurrected its a la carte dinner service with Nordic influences in a nod to Chef Steen’s Nordic background. The chef unveiled his new menu in the form of a nine course- tasting; all courses feature on the regular a la carte menu. In keeping with Lord Jim’s history the dinner opened with the signature Lord Jim’s Seafood Tower (THB 3,500 for two).With every bite, one traverses the continents – French oysters, Dutch mussels, tiger prawns, scallop ceviche and marinated clams.
The soup takes us from the seashores into the brooding depths of the woods with the Wild Mushroom Consommé. It’s like a gander in the woodlands – assembled together are eringi and enoki with the ummai of black fermented beans adding depth to the rich vegan consommé.
From the cold starters we are offered the house-cured Mackerel – a breath of bracing Nordic air. Prior to dinner the chef had shared his curing techniques. Freshened by sea grapes and brightened by yogurt, it’s a dish that manages to straddle the line between familiarity and intrigue, buoyed by the crunch of quinoa.
Back on the hot side was the Grilled Leek. Quite frankly the star of the evening. It’s a dish that wears its heart on its sleeve, with each component, from pickled mustard seeds to comté cheese sauce making its presence felt. It sings of its rustic origins but the sophistication of the presentation enhances its charm. Smoky, earthy, and sweet flavours – the caramelisation picked up by the pickled mustard seeds and nuttiness of the comté.
The seafood sojourn resumes with the Monkfish Tail, a plate that’s both sophisticated and robust. While already perfectly cooked to preserve its rich, meaty texture, the final act, is performed right at your table – as you watch, a glowing charcoal is used to impart a smoky kiss. The creamy and very traditional blanquette sauce is all French but split with a verdant parsley oil. The duo is perfect for the lean and mild fish with its lobster-like texture.
Shaking us out of our maritime reverie, is the Lamb Rack rubbed with house made coffee oil and served with thyme lamb jus juxtaposed against onions: baked, grilled and caramelised.
Chef Steen then decides to present the Tomahawk, slicing it tableside for added theatre. Its Black Onyx, 270-day grain fed Angus from New South Wales, Australia. An unabashed tribute in medium rare to the sheer brilliance of its grain-fed Angus lineage, offered with a choice of sauces but it needs none.
Shifting the mood is the ethereal pre-dessert White Chocolate with lemon custard, dill meringue and cucumber gel evoking the fleeting Nordic summer. Closing this symphonic meal is the Chocolate Blackberry Layers. It’s a nod to the classic, but with a contemporary twist.
Lord Jim’s a la carte menu while adding a new chapter to its story connects it to the hotel’s past. Chef Steen’s heritage and his Nordic-infused menu bring to mind the Danish seafarers Hans Niels Andersen and A.C. Lauritzen, who established the original Oriental Hotel in 1876. Lord Jim’s links them, centuries apart.
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