Popular Hyatt Erawan bistro returns

Spasso's menu gets a Parisian-inspired makeover

My visit to Grand Hyatt Erawan's newly relaunched Spasso was merely a week before I travelled to France for a work trip.

I stayed in Bordeaux and, one day, decided to have lunch at one of the city's much-treasured restaurants, L'Entrecôte, established by Paul Gineste de Saurs in 1959 and famous for French bistro style of steak-frites.

There are more than 10 locations operated by the Gineste de Saurs family across France, including Le Relais de Venise, L'Entrecôte in Porte Maillot, Le Relais de l'Entrecôte in Paris and L'Entrecôte in Toulouse. Still every one of them sticks to the same signature main course of pre-sliced rib-eye steak in butter-based herb sauce.

After a half-hour wait for a table in front of the restaurant (the queue is always long), located in the city centre, we finally got in.

It was a lovely experience dining like a local in an animated French brasserie setting. But, culinary-wise, I much preferred a rendition of the same speciality I had just had in Bangkok -- at Spasso, to be exact.

The medium-rare steak entrecote with secret butter-based herb sauce.

For those of you who've been familiar with Spasso as an entertainment-driven Italian restaurant and bar -- the first of its kind in Bangkok opening in 1992 -- may wonder what I'm talking about.

To mark its 30 years of operation, Spasso now labels itself a Parisian-inspired steakhouse-bistro.

The transformation, I'd say, is more on the F&B aspect than the setting.

Although the overall cosy ambiance of the restaurant has a slight French decorative frill to it, it remains familiar with wooden wall panelling, warm lighting and counter-height sofa tables.

During early dinner hours, the venue is entertained by a buoyant French playlist, classic and contemporary. The music gets more upbeat and eclectic as the night goes on, and with a live band performing from 7.30pm onwards.

A La Formule set with tiger prawns.

The culinary concept was initiated by Grand Hyatt Erawan's French executive chef David Senia to offer to Bangkok diners classic Parisian food in Spasso's much-loved atmosphere.

The idea is greatly supported by the hotel's general manager and executive pastry chef, both of whom are also French.

The restaurant's menu features a selection of à la carte entrees and desserts to complement the classic French formula of steak-frites main courses.

Entrees are crafted from France's top-quality produce with a 5-star quality dexterity.

The classic "Jean Larnaudie" foie gras au torchon (630 baht) that we had came in a sumptuously thick cylindrical disc with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and coarsely-milled black pepper. Giving a sweet fruity balance to the silky buttery smooth salt-cured foie gras were homemade fig chutney and fluffy brioche toasts.

The 'Jean Larnaudie' foie gras au torchon with fig chutney and brioche toast.

I hesitated at first to go for a house rendering of artisan smoked salmon (450 baht), which was highly recommended by the staff. I was never a fan of the delicacy because many of those served at other restaurants tend to be mushy with a strong fishy taste.

But Senia's rendition, which was firm yet supple, exhibited an aromatic and naturally flavoursome taste and proved so flawless and addictive I was sure I could eat the whole fish.

For a sea crab bouillabaisse (410 baht), it's better that you enjoy it the way the French do, so Senia says. You paste a nice dab of thick and creamy rouille sauce on a crouton toast, then you drench the toast quickly in the hot, bisque-like stew and eat it. This significantly adds more flavours and excitement to each bite.

Of the entrees menu, other options are Les Frères Marchand AOC cheese platter (590 baht); avocado-shrimp cocktail with mimosa sauce (430 baht); and freshly-shucked Fines de Claire special No.3, Gillardeau No.4 and Brittany Celine No.3 (300 baht to 420 baht per three oysters).

The Floating Island with peach meringue, milky crème anglaise and pistachios.

When it comes to main course, there's only one option: the iconic La Formule.

Priced at 1,790 baht per set for up to two diners, the La Formule basically features the renowned entrecote (boneless beef rib-eye, 300g) bathed in a secret butter-based sauce.

The pre-sliced steak is accompanied by artisan sourdough toast and Isigny espelette pepper butter; mixed greens salad with white wine vinaigrette and roasted walnut and an unlimited offering of homemade hand-cut fries. All of them were just superb.

For those who don't eat beef, options of lamb chops (three cutlets per order) and tiger prawns (four prawns per order) are available at the same price.

The artisan smoked salmon with condiment.

The superbly juicy and well-marbled rib-eye and the springy-meat and flavoursome tiger prawn that we had were truly value for money.

Dessert selection is aplenty comparing to the savoury choice.

You would not be disappointed going for an all-time classic profiteroles with hazelnut, salted caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce (310 baht).

But should you wish for something atypical yet equally delicious, I recommend Floating Island (310 baht) and bourdaloue tart (310 baht)

The first features soft and white, cloud-like peach meringue floating in a milky crème anglaise with pistachios, citrus zest and caramel shards. The latter features a slice of pear-almond tart on shortbread crust with homemade pear ice cream and berry sauce.

To go with the cuisine are nice collections of fine French wine and Parisian-inspired cocktails.

The sea crab bouillabaisse with rouille and crouton.

  • Spasso Bistro
  • Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, lower lobby level
  • Call 02-254-1234
  • Open daily 5.30pm-2am (dinner served until 9.30pm)
  • Park at the hotel’s car park
  • Most credit cards accepted

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