Read the heading again – the most outstanding new restaurant in Pattaya, and I wrote that without any reservation. Open for only one week when we visited, and every member of the four person Dining Out team was totally impressed with the whole dining experience at La Ferme (French for The Farm).
The restaurant is in front of the Woodlands Resort on the Pattaya-Naklua Road and adjacent to their La Baguette Bakery. Around 100 meters from the Dolphin Roundabout, it is very easy to find, and there is adequate parking for diners in front of the Woodlands Resort.
The restaurant style is very avant-garde with items such as the world’s largest striped sofa along one wall, chandeliers made from cut-down whisky bottles and some very regal chairs dotted around. One diner even described the décor as being “Alice in Wonderland”! Be that as it may, the main area has much wood and black and white checkered tile floors reminiscent of Pieter de Hooch paintings and the service staff is in uniforms of decidedly European influence.
There is also a second area adjacent to the pavement, but behind glassed panels and featuring natural wood flooring and two large trees growing through the roof.
We were welcomed by Stephane Bringer, the GM, who explained the concept of La Ferme as being a French bar, restaurant, bistro, café and snackerie and so to keep with the French influence I decided on a Ricard aperitif while perusing the menu.
As opposed to most ‘Euro’ style restaurants which offer only a few Thai favorites to please the Thai dining partners, La Ferme acknowledges that a large percentage of its customers are Thai so around 50 percent of the menu is presented with the Thai palate in mind.
However, adding to the European flavor, the Chef Kenneth Goessens is Belgian and the Belgian style mussels (available weekends only) are his. There is also great debate as to the origin of “French” fries, as the Belgians claim (rightly so in my opinion) that the fries were invented in Belgium. Adding to the Belgian influence is the availability of Belgian beers, of which Kwak is my personal favorite, but at 8.4 percent alcohol has to be treated with extreme respect.
The menu features “uncomplicated food” said Stephane, and he is correct. Euro appetizers are in the range of B. 190-330, whilst Asian appetizers are in the B. 150-210 range. Salads are B. 290-330, pastas B. 280, beef around B. 500 and the most expensive dish on the menu is lamb racks at B. 720. And if you want the Rolls-Royce of hamburgers, they offer a Wagyu beef and cheese burger!
The wines are all within a sensible price range, in the B. 1,000-1,650 range and come from France, Australia, Italy, NZ and the Argentine. We chose the Little Yering Cabernet Shiraz and it was very pleasant drinking at B. 1,150.
I began with a Khao soi, the Burmese curry based on Bamee egg noodles and coconut milk and chicken, garnished with a tangle of fried noodles, shallots, coriander, pickled mustard greens, fried chillis, and a squeeze of lime juice. The item comes on a wood platter and the central dish has holes on one side to poke the chopsticks through and the accompaniments alongside, so the chopsticks do not roll off. This is Thai hot (be warned), but superb.
Madame went for the French onion soup and declared it the best ever! That is saying something.
For mains, I followed up the Khao soi (almost a meal in itself) with cream and garlic mussels, plump and moist and delicious. Madame had selected the half chicken (organic) which was also served on a wood platter with some “French” fries. A huge serving but again Madame was spurred to declare the chicken the “best ever” as well.
We indulged afterwards with desserts (who can resist strawberries?) and an Irish coffee. It had been a very memorable evening.
We were totally impressed with this new restaurant. A fabulous venue, daring décor, excellent fare and not over the top in price. I often encourage the readers to try a restaurant by writing “do go”. This time I finish up by writing you must go!
La Ferme, Woodlands Resort, 164/1 M5 Pattaya-Naklua Road, tel 038 421 707, open seven days 11 a.m. until 11.30 p.m., email LF@woodland-resort.com, web www.lafermepattaya.com