The fantastic chocolate and tasty cacao produced in Thailand are not yet well-known outside of the country. The majority of tourists come to Thailand for a short amount of time, spending their time either wandering through Bangkok’s floating markets or traveling directly to one of the islands in the south. This will change over the next several years, but for the time being, Thailand’s fine dining culture is imported and centered on European cuisine because of its large expat population.
However, the influx of new tourists means that it is now simpler than ever to include a visit to one or more chocolate shops into your schedule in Bangkok. Despite the fact that chocolates from Europe continue to be the most popular choice, the market is rapidly moving toward products made closer to home. The first European impact is not all that unexpected given the large number of European visitors who visit Bangkok; however, the presence of a European chef could be.
Laurent’s Wonderous World of Chocolate
Chef Laurent Ganguillet is a joyful and serious individual who describes the interaction of his chocolates in the same way as an interior designer describes the interaction of textiles. It really just comes down to personal preference. Chef started his classical training at one of Switzerland’s renowned pastry schools immediately after his graduation from high school. He was born in a region of Switzerland where French is the primary language. After graduating in 1980, Chef immediately started working in Europe, and then later in Dubai. He had been educated under the apprenticeship system, which was at the time supervised by the Swiss Corporation of Pastry Chefs. It has nothing to do with the fact that he wears a long white hat, but there’s something about him that makes you want to nickname him “Chef.”
He has an air of authority and exudes an obvious comfort while engaging with his team. His reputation precedes him.
He has been the head of pastry at the Lobby Salon ever since it first opened its doors in April of 1991. His domain is the kitchen where the pastries are made. Additionally, he is responsible for the chocolate buffet, despite the fact that operating it now needs far more assistance. The year 2000 marked the beginning of his work on the project. The chef had a desire to enlighten people about the distinctive characteristics and allure of several types of dark chocolate. Because it was such a huge success, the general public made it quite clear that they wanted the event to continue through its original cutoff date of Christmas.
During that time period, the Lobby Salon hosted a lavish event every Saturday consisting of chocolate-themed sweets and beverages, and each and every Saturday it was completely full. People advocated for an additional day, and they were granted their wish. They gradually expanded the selection by include more savory components and non-chocolate desserts in order to keep up with the rising demand. A short time later, when the restaurant was still completely full with hungry customers, a slot on Friday afternoon was added. This tradition has persisted to this day, regardless of whether or not there are holidays.
Chef’s Hot Chocolate Station
The cravings of Bangkok’s chocolate lovers are satiated on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday afternoons each week. The majority of guests begin their feasts with a cup of cocoa, but the Chef always starts things off with a warm welcome. His hot chocolate station is conspicuously placed just across from the table with the pastries. There, you will debate your preferred flavors, ranging from sweet to bitter and all the way down to whether you favor red fruits or citrus fruits. In 2002, there were only 14 different chocolates to choose from at the hot chocolate station. Today, there are 23 different chocolates that customers may mix and match. This comprises milk, white, and dark chocolates, as well as the more typical pralines made with almonds and hazelnuts, and whipped cream made in the French style. Samples encouraged.
As you get closer to the chocolate cart, the aroma of the most recent aerated confectionery invention begins to overpower you. Because the hot chocolates have a water foundation rather of a milk base, the chef uses an immersion blender to ensure that the chocolate is distributed evenly throughout the beverage. This helps to highlight the distinctive tastes that are characteristic of each origin. His interest is only in the flavor itself, and he has no desire to collect items of varying origins or manufacturers. My vacation to Thailand was full of memorable moments, but one of the most memorable was having this experience and having a conversation with Laurent. I have never come across such a variety of things in any other country. It unquestionably made the existing lack of chocolate in the city a lot more tolerable due to the fact that it.
The Current Menu
The most important piece of advice that I can provide is to get there early enough to try all of the delights. Because the chairs are arranged in a circle around the buffet tables, there is only enough for around 40 people, and the area rapidly becomes occupied. In addition to the chocolate masterpieces and candies, there are also a variety of savory bits, which are so numerous that they need their own table. At the beginning of each new season, Chef switches up the selections that are available on both the green and the gold aisle. This new menu went into effect the second week of January, and it will remain in effect through the month of April. The chef strives to provide four new meals each year, in addition to their menu for Easter and their holiday menu for December (which are pricier since they feature alternatives for alcoholic beverages).
On the lunch table are both salty and sweet items, including fresh local fruits, reviving Greek crostinis, and savory pumpkin tartlettes. Each of these dishes has a unique flavor profile. A variety of bite-sized Thai delicacies, including my personal favorite, papaya salad, and a spicy laab moh made with cucumbers, are passed around the room. If you are confused about whether items have a spicy component, either keep an eye out for a chili pepper or just ask some of the helpful staff members. Although the appearance is excellent, you should be careful not to let the peppers and garnishes get in the way. The focus is on various types of seafood.
In addition to the classic French macarons and pate de fruits that can be found on the dessert table, there are also berry tarts, little creme brulees, and citrus chocolate cakes that will reawaken your sense of taste. In authentically French fashion, the dark chocolate coffee truffles creep up on you and melt in your mouth rather than in your palm as you eat them. The ginger truffle has a substantial amount of ginger spice, and the mango sticky rice ice cream is an absolute need. It was imperative that I sample a little bit of everything. You know, for the sake of study.
My favorite, you ask? Naturally, the truffles themselves. For some reason, I can’t resist a good piece of chocolate. The green tea truffle was a good complement to the fragrant Sukhothai house blend of tea, which I served with each of the courses. It is strongly recommended that you do not consume anything before to arriving at this delectable meal; nevertheless, on this particular day, you have my full authorization to have dessert for both lunch and supper.
A Droolworthy Preview
Even if there are periodic rotations in the menu, the irresistibility of the food will never alter.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Metro Stop: Lumphini (MRT)
Hours: 2-5pm, Fri-Sun.
Prices: 990TBH per person (kids aged 6-12 are half price)
For an idea of the extent of the offerings at Lobby Salon, here’s a previous chocolate buffet menu; their current restaurant menu includes afternoon tea sets offered from Monday to Thursday. Both buffets are notoriously booked up in advance, though the Friday crowds tend to be lighter since most people are at work— make sure you reach out to the booking manager at Leelanet.R(@)sukhothai.com or 02-344-8888 to make a reservation.
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Disclaimer: Although I was NOT financially compensated for this post, I reached out to & was hosted by the Sukhothai. A huge thanks to Chef Laurent and the entire team at the Sukhothai for being so responsive to my questions and accommodating with my time frame. All opinions are, as always, completely my own (and so are the drool-worthy photos!).