California Dreamin’ (Mamas and the Papas)

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Do you remember the Mamas and the Papas with their hit California Dreamin’? When the Dining Out Team received an invitation to the Mövenpick Siam Hotel at Na Jomtien to experience California Dreamin’ with them, we were quite intrigued. However, hark back to the words of the song:

“All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day,”

Suddenly the connection became obvious. The leaves are falling from the trees right now (and filling my swimming pool), we have just had several grey days of PM 2.5 and it has been somewhat nippy (roll on summer).

The Label Rouge Norwegian Salmon was a dish of delicate flavors offset with a horseradish cream sauce.

Mövenpick’s California Dreamin’ is described as a fusion of sunshine and seasonal flavors and Executive Chef Tofu was obviously reveling in the concept, putting on a demonstration on how to cook salmon. Inside an oven bag if you please. The ‘trick’ is to add some oil and an equal amount of water in the oven bag.

Mövenpick is in Najomtien and very easy to access. To get there (which is actually the easiest part of the whole exercise), head towards Sattahip on Sukhumvit Road, do a U-Turn when you can (much road works) after Ocean Marina, and Mövenpick is about 200 meters along on the left. A long driveway gets you to the secure parking area. There is an elevator which will then take you up to the Lobby where a staffer will guide you. (I still believe the architect was sniffing his lunch.)

We alternated in the wine between white and red, both from California and both very pleasant. The white was a Chardonnay from Rock Brook and the red a Shiraz also from the Rock Brook. This wine was notable in its smoothness.

After a sip of the wine, we began with a finger food dish, which was crab cakes, and quite different from the common Thai fish cakes (tod mun pla). The Californian crab cakes were taken with an Asian remoulade which had lime, avocado and wasabi powder. The crab cakes were my dish of the night.

Our next dish was tuna, but combined with ginger and organic flowers, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, snow peas, spring onion, mesclun salad and cress. The seared tuna was eaten with an orange relish, made from orange juice and orange zest blended in with mayonnaise.

The tuna was combined with ginger and organic flowers, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, snow peas, spring onion, mesclun salad and cress.

To tickle our palates, Executive Chef Tofu then produced a beef carpaccio dressed with cow, goat and sheep cheese. Another sensational dish with the goat cheese adding strength to the lightly flavored beef slices. By the way, if you ever want to produce a carpaccio, you have to freeze the meat and then cut into 2 mm slices in the meat slicer.

To tickle our palates, Executive Chef Tofu produced a beef carpaccio dressed with cow, goat and sheep cheese.

I finished with the Label Rouge Norwegian Salmon served on a pre-heated iron plate. The salmon was cooked in the oven bag as shown by Chef Tofu earlier, complete with mini pumpkin, beetroot, asparagus tips and lemon thyme. This was a dish of delicate flavors offset with a horseradish cream sauce.

Evan, a next generation chef.

Mövenpick has shown itself to be an innovative dining venue, with an understanding kitchen brigade under Executive Chef Tofu. The ideals propounded by Mövenpick founder Ueli Praget 70 years ago are still being followed today. “Doing normal things in an extraordinary way.”

Mövenpick Siam Hotel Na Jomtien Pattaya, 55 Moo 2, Sukhumvit Rd Km156.5 Na Jomtien, telephone +66 33 078 888, www.Mövenpick.com/pattaya, open from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m., secure parking in the hotel grounds.