Close to paradise

Lounge and dine in style at St. Regis

Left  Swiss pretzel with gruyere and ham and veal tartare with pickles and potato crisps.

If there was anything to make my tipple time at The Lounge at St. Regis less than an experience in paradise, the ambience would be it.

My visit there last week was solely for my trust in its newly launched culinary offerings crafted up by Igniv, a fine-dining restaurant located a few feet away.

Igniv is the brainchild of world-acclaimed Swiss chef Andreas Caminada, whose culinary meticulousness has earned him seven Michelin stars, including two stars from Igniv St. Moritz and two stars from Igniv Bad Ragaz, both in the Swiss Alps.

Igniv drip coffee.

Igniv Bangkok, the brand's first-ever venture outside Switzerland, opened in October last year to great success. There, modern European cuisine creations are offered with gracious, spot-on service in a refined cheery setting.

To extend the restaurant's much-glorified finesse to a wider audience, the Igniv team, led by Swiss head chef David Hartwig and German pastry chef Arne Riehn, has taken over a lacklustre front space, which has over the past 10 years been home to The Lounge, the hotel's lobby bar.

The collaboration allows guests to enjoy a variety of star-studded delicacies without the fine-dining formalities.

The Lounge's menu has been revamped to offer ultramodern light bites along with comforting sandwiches, imaginative snacks, classic European pastries and fine confectionery.

A set of bite-sized savoury snacks and pies of the day accompanied by a choice tea or coffee is priced at 800 baht.

Foie gras bonbon with golden beetroot and macadamia and crab salad with ocean trout roe on burnt lime.

A variety of fine confectionery.

Igniv pastry chef Arne Riehn with his sweet creations.

There were crab salad with ocean trout roe on burnt lime; garlic mousse tart with deep-fried chive; daikon roll with avocado cream and citrus gel; and foie gras bonbon with golden beetroot and macadamia. Each was ingeniously crafted to provoke gastronomic fun while offering a mouthful of culinary ecstasy.

To go with the snack is a selection of coffee from Bangkok-born D'ark and fine tea from Chiang Rai's Chaidim brand.

Some a la carte items are as well to die for.

That includes hamachi fish with pickled celery and daikon, ceviche style (700 baht); paprika with tomatillo, tomato and capsicum sauce (400 baht); housemade truffle brie with baguette and honeycomb (500 baht); veal tartare with pickles and potato crisps (600 baht); and warm Swiss pretzel sandwich with gruyere and ham (500 baht).

Truffle brie with baguette and honeycomb.

Hamachi with pickled celery and daikon, ceviche style.

Veal tartare with pickles and potato crisps.

A selection of cakes, tarts, pies and brownies changes daily. On the weekday that I visited, there were linzer torte, a classic Austrian shortcrust pastry with spiced raspberry filling sauce; a traditional Swiss walnut caramel pie; German lemon bundt cake; and strawberry and cream sponge cake.

There's a major renovation plan for the venue ambience. Until then guests are treated to The Lounge's decade-old setting.

But the good news is that fine gems like Hartwig and Riehn's creations prove to always sparkle no matter where.

Igniv Bangkok X The Lounge menu is available daily from noon to 6pm. The Lounge is located on the ground floor of St. Regis Bangkok. For reservations and information, call 02-207-7822.

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