by Miss Terry Diner
We are all proud of our grandmothers, but Didier Pierrot,
the man behind the latest French restaurant in Pattaya, L’Ami Pierrot, is
particularly proud of his. So much so that he offers his grandmother’s
special salad as one of the menu items, and I can assure you that after
trying it, I’d be proud too! A wonderfully sharp dressing contrasted against
an egg and given an extra flavor with bacon. And it only cost B. 80.
L’Ami Pierrot is the latest incarnation of what was
previously an Indian restaurant at the top end of Third Road (The Raj). Gone
are the turbans and baggy trousered waitresses, and in their place you get
Didier, an experienced, affable and amusing Frenchman who has been visiting
here for over 10 years, but who finally decided to put down some roots and
opened this restaurant seven weeks ago. (This is his second L’Ami Pierrot,
with the first being in New Caledonia.)
The restaurant is almost opposite Ursula’s Antiques on Sai 3 (Third Road)
and has a couple of tables outside, but the main restaurant is inside and
air-conditioned. It is bright, with red and white check tablecloths, has a
bar along one side and alcoves along the other.
The theme of the restaurant is printed on the cover of the menu, “Faire
simple, mais bon” and ascribed to the famous chef August Escoffier, the man
who wrote the world’s first 5,000 item cookbook. The menu also states that
L’Ami Pierrot is a ‘bistro’ and this should be understood. There is the
informality and congenial ambience that characterizes bistro dining.
Didier is everywhere, with a welcoming smile for everyone. The menu is not
large, but comprehensive enough. It is in French (just in case you forget
this is a French bistro) but has English subtitles and begins with 14 cold
and hot entrees ranging from B. 80 (Grandmother’s salad) through to a Duck
liver a l’Armagnac at B. 450, but the majority of items are between B.
These were followed by four pasta (spaghetti) items at B. 150-170 and then a
page of meat items beginning at B. 180 for BBQ pork ribs and going up to B.
620 for a Chateaubriand for Two!
Fish items were under B. 320, followed by a set menu item at B. 299 with a
terrine and salad buffet, roast beef or plate of the day and then into
desserts. These are followed by some Thai favorites generally under B. 150.
The wine list covers offerings from France, Spain and Chile, with most
between B. 850-1800, with enough quaffable vintages suit.
We began with Salmon rillettes and the Head of Pork pate. These arrived on
the table in large oven dishes with a knife. Cut yourself off what you feel
like, true French bistro style. The salmon (B. 145) was excellent, an item
that takes seven hours to cook.
Next was Didier’s grandmother’s dish. This is truly sensational! Madame
saying, “Mmmmmmm! Try this!” as she tried it. The sharp dressing for the
salad is contrasted against the blandness of the egg and really sets the
taste buds tingling.
After a suitable settling period and some house wine (B. 140 per glass, or
B. 350 for a carafe) we both had a Pepper steak for our main courses. This
is a 250 gm steak (B. 350), and was cooked to our order. It also came with
Didier’s mashed potato which was excellent.
We had no room for anything further, and after a chat we left, knowing that
we will be back to this restaurant.
Quite frankly, we loved L’Ami Pierrot. Having spent many happy hours in the
French countryside, dining informally at bistros, this was France revisited
for me. The food is good, Didier is a wonderful host, who if he runs out of
English, will converse in Thai, and it is not expensive. And when you go, do
try Grandmother’s Salad. Highly recommended.
L’Ami Pierrot, 3/110-111 M6, Third Road, (opposite Ursula’s Antiques), North
Pattaya, telephone 038 370 704 or 09 091 9469, on street parking. Open for
dinner from 5.30 p.m. in the Low Season.