With the four year anniversary of Café des Amis coming up shortly, we suddenly realized that it was almost two years since our last review. On making contact with Blu, the owner, he assured us that much development had gone on since our last visit and he would be delighted to show this to us.
Café des Amis is not at all difficult to find. Going up Thappraya Road look for sois 9 or 11 on your left hand side. Go down either soi to the bottom and Café des Amis is in front of you.
The first of the changes is apparent after going through the entry portal, as a large al fresco dining area has been made around a natural lawn. Comfortable chairs and so relaxing. Ideal for those who want the summer breezes, or an outdoors area for smokers.
The second of the group of changes was apparent when we settled in the bar-lounge for a pre-dinner drink and review of the menu and wine list. A very large percentage of the menu items were new, under the new creative director from the UK. The wine list was also expanded, with some very interesting top end labels. The wines range in price between B. 1,100 and 4,400. House wines, however, can be ordered by the glass, carafe or bottle.
After an Australian Sauvignon Blanc for Madame and a Mojito for me, we entered the dining room. Another change, with very large comfortable chairs, complete with arms, making the dinner experience just that little bit better. Blu understands that it is all these small items that go towards making memorable evenings.
At Blu’s suggestion, rather than the pair of us having one starter each, he had the kitchen prepare some tasting portions so we could experience a little more of what was on offer. He also presented their rather special tomato soup with a capsicum puree (B. 240). An excellent dish. In the warm starters there was also a US scallops with Chinese style braised pork belly with apple puree and rich star anise jus and pork crackling, another new dish (B. 340). Other starters include Foie de Volaille (B. 260) with the marinated chicken livers and bacon pan-fried with balsamic reduction, topped with crispy pancetta and the chef’s ravioli stuffed with spinach and gorgonzola cream sauce (B. 290).
The main courses also show the breath of fresh air in the kitchen, with items such as a grilled Tasmanian salmon fillet, crushed new potatoes with dill, beetroot puree, horseradish foam, and crisped skin (B. 490) and New Zealand lamb fillet medallions with a Dijon sauce and spinach served with tower of spinach and mashed potatoes (B. 490).
For our mains, Madame selected the New Zealand lamb chops with herb and rosemary which was presented as three large chops from a rack of NZ best end with rosemary gravy and mint mashed potatoes (B. 790).
For me, it was not a difficult decision, and the flame grilled Australian fillet steak, 220g and 120 day grain fed no fat beef was mine (B. 750). I chose the boiled potato with herb butter to go with this, and the white wine and leek sauce.
Both of us agreed that this was excellent food, both in the preparation and presentation. The overall high standard was maintained throughout the meal, including the attentive service from the staff. We could see why Blu was proud of his steaks and grills, as the Australian fillet steak I had was excellent and tender, and it was so pleasant to be able to choose a different sauce, a white wine and leek, rather than just the ubiquitous mushroom/red wine/pepper varieties.
We certainly did enjoy our evening at Café des Amis. The ambience is very relaxed, the food of a high standard and the choice of al fresco or in the bar-lounge area after the meal, just invites you to stay and sample some of the other wines in Blu’s cellar. Or another of his special Irish coffees! Do go and try.
Café des Amis, 391/6 Soi 11, Thappraya Road, Jomtien, telephones 038 364 327, 084 026 4989, facebook.com/cafedesamispattaya; email [email protected] .com; open daily 4.30 p.m. until late (but closed Sundays). Plenty of parking outside.