Bangkok Post reviews
Fine and dandy
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: June 20, 2014 at 8:27 am
JFK's fresh, contemporary look reflects the creativity and style of its cuisine
The three-month-old establishment boasts a perky and vibrant feel.
With the catchy name standing for “Japanese French Kitchen”, this week’s subject of review is the playful, creative and vibrant sister eatery of the two-year-old Triplets Brasserie, a well-loved French restaurant located a few metres away in the same Lang Suan neighbourhood.
Compared to that of Triplets, JFK’s cuisine may sound a lot more perky. The 28-seater with sidewalk glass facade, bright, contemporary wallpaper and dynamic show kitchen serves up contemporary Gallic cuisine that combines French cooking techniques with Japanese ingredients, flavour profiles and presentation. Yet, it was proven to me during a dinner visit that the hallmark culinary quality by its owner Chef Nate Sarakosass remains steadfast.
JFK’s menu is a 50-item repertoire of the chef’s innovative creations.
From the category of chawan and verrine — meaning “small bowl” in Japanese and French — I tried what’s listed as egg & foie gras (235 baht) and fell in love with the delicate silky egg custard lavishly complemented by morsels of pan-seared foie gras, braised beetroot and aromatic broth reduction.
Seared scallops on a bed of mashed potatoes and pan jus.
Of the “cold dish” selection, the salmon tartare roll (295 baht), served in a martini glass, was as fun an appetiser as it was scrumptious. The chopped raw salmon was presented to be rolled with the nori seaweed sheets on the side, before being eaten. The fish tartare possesses a fresh quality enhanced with a slight seasoning of mayonnaise, ginger zest and shrimp roe.
The mushroom hollandaise (175 baht) may look unexciting, but the salty sweet taste and supple texture of the shoyu braised mushroom made it one of the most palate-pleasing treats.
Another popular treat, JFK pizza (195 baht), was a vegetarian pizza on housemade crust given a sumptuous dash of creamy mozzarella, mushroom and capsicum.
The collection of main dishes was quite limited, but complete. It’s a 10-item list of innovatively crafted dishes that covers seafood, beef, pork, poultry and vegetarian food.
Simply described on the menu as seared scallops (445 baht), the first main dish to arrive featured three Hokkaido scallops, pan-cooked until partially brown, yet still nicely retaining their suppleness and naturally sweet flavour, on a bed of mashed potatoes and pool of pan jus. It’s an ideal choice for those looking for a mild-tasting seafood fare.
The scrumptious DIY salmon tartare roll.
If you’d like to luxuriate in fine French ingredients in one go and don’t mind extra calories, I recommend you try the foie gras-stuffed tonkatsu (495 baht). As its name suggests, the dish presented a generous portion of deep-fried breadcrumb-crusted pork cutlet stuffed with duck liver and cheese on a pool of lobster bisque sauce. The pork was accompanied by slices of tomato to give a fresh healthy balance to the rich and heavy dish.
Zealous gourmands may want to sample the best-selling pork belly (395 baht), which is masterly braised for several hours until all three layers of meat thoroughly absorb the salty sweet, citrus-butter sauce to become extraordinarily tender.
The last main entree that we tried was duck leg confit curry (435 baht). It’s an impressively creative dish that incorporates conventional French fare with favourite Japanese recipes. The duck leg was cooked in a traditional Gallic way in its own fat to yield a succulent meat and served on a pool of curry sauce (the level of spiciness can be adjusted to diner’s preference) with a large crispy ball of curry-flavoured rice, crunchy slices of sunchoke and lotus root garnish. Thanks to its interesting combination of taste and texture, the dish was one of my favourites of the evening.
The selection of desserts was distinctive, too. We sampled banana baumkuchen (295 baht), which was cleverly created to mimic the concept of kuchikatsu, or deep-fried breadcrumb-crusted meat on skewers traditionally eaten with thick Worchestershire dipping sauce. And we were pleased with the mouthwatering platter of lightly crusted banana, bars of baumkuchen cake and a bowl of Worchestershire look-alike sauce made with chocolate and berries.
To tell you the truth, the next dessert, mango mille feuille (295 baht), wasn’t much of a visual surprise, although it was presented in the style of nigiri sushi. But as soon as I took a bite of the mono-hued, yellowy fare, my palate was struck with pleasure. The buttery flaky puff pastry was layered with clinging mango-lemon curd topped with soft juicy slices of fresh ripe mango and dressed with light buttery fruity sauce to exhibit a magnificently subtle unification of flavours and fragrance.
The restaurant also offers special lunch sets to cater to diners with limited time. The sets (199 baht) feature salad, soup and a choice of rice or bread with a scrumptious meat topping.
Service was brisk and cordial, reflecting the fun-filled cuisine and dining atmosphere.