Feel the summer breeze

Le Du has a new menu that encompasses the season

Ant larvae with crab in a yellow curry.

Newly-crowned Asia's No.4 restaurant at the Asia's 50 Best Awards, Le Du's new "Summer Breeze" menu celebrates the season with light, refreshing and dishes with a hot kick!

To get the palate going, a trio of amuse bouche. Crab rice cracker with a crab roe relish, a rose apple with caramel nuts and steamed miang kham. However, what follows next is my favourite amuse bouche. Yes, there is a fourth -- three variations of corn, corn salad, corn espuma and burnt corn. Yum!

The first course is Banana prawn, pineapple and dried shrimp. It's a cold dish and much needed while you're still recovering from the hot exteriors. Three variations of pineapple are used, a salad, a sorbet and a jelly, which is served with the cold prawn. To finish it off, a mousse of coconut and ginger is added with some dried shrimp.

Banana prawn, pineapple and dried shrimp.

Is it even a Thai summer menu without the traditional khao chae? Not for me; I love khao chae! It is one of those dishes that I look forward to every summer. At Michelin-starred Le Du, jasmine ice cream replaces the jasmine rice in cold jasmine water and comes with all the condiments that one gets with it. Pork and shrimp ball, which has been deep-fried, and garnished with strands of deep-fried ginger; radish puree, pickled chilli, shrimp ball and pork powder underneath it all. The jasmine ice cream is an excellent choice because not only does it act as a palate cleanser for what's to come, it is also cooling and goes well with the deep-fried condiments. An oldie goldie.

The next dish is Golden snapper, pumpkin and ya-nang. Oh my! Nothing prepares you for the good funk that is in this dish. The fish is served with smoked pumpkin puree, pak waan, hed thob or hed poh, which are the seasonal mushrooms from the North named after the popping sound it makes when bitten into, and an oil made from lemon basil. The dish is served with a sauce made from ya-nang leaves and fermented fish. I loved every bite as it appealed to my spice quotient.

The Ant larvae with crab in a yellow curry is as pretty as a picture and is as delightful to eat as it is to look at. One of the dishes from previous menus at Le Du, it's been tweaked with the flavours and textures retained. Jasmine rice is cooked with butter from Ratchaburi, served with a relish of ant eggs. Added to the dish is jumbo crab from Nakhon Si Thammarat and served with a yellow curry, which also has crab blended into it for umami. A lashing of crispy ant larvae and edible flowers completes the dish. What's not to love?

Le Du's signature dish, the river prawn.

Variations of corn.

Local wagyu short rib, asparagus and cassia.

For lovers of Le Du's signature dish, the mighty river prawn, fear not. It is also on the menu as an added item for B1,000++. Organic black rice is served risotto-style and is chef Thitid "Ton" Tassanakajohn's version of khao kluk kapi (rice fried with shrimp paste and condiments). Sweet pork belly jam, sliced long bean, shallots, chilli and green mango sit on top of the rice. The river prawn is served in its shell, with a sauce made from tom yum, with crispy egg atop. A thoroughly satisfying dish, though rather rich.

The main course of the normal menu is Local wagyu short rib, asparagus and cassia. The Thai wagyu comes from Sakon Nakhon, which is slow-cooked for 48 hours, then roasted and served with cauliflower puree, hed lom from Isan, pickled asparagus and cassia (bai khi lek) leaf, which is cooked with trimmings of the beef but has a natural bitterness.

To ready your palate for the dessert, guava sorbet is served with cold diced guava, lime jelly and candied lime peel. Yum, yum, yum.

Dessert is inspired by mango sticky rice but is a lighter version of the dish, says chef Ton. Black sticky rice, the texture of which is between a mochi and a rice cake, is served with nam dok mai variety of mango, cashew nuts, mango ice cream and garnished with som sa.

Eat out to help out because this menu is only available till mid-July. 

Le Du, 399/3 Silom 7 Alley, Silom, Bang Rak / 6 courses B3,000++, kombucha pairing six glasses is B1,000++ / Call 092-919-9969, visit fb.com/LeDuWineBarandrestaurant.

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