Okay everyone, it’s an exclusive artsy event for food lovers in Chiang Mai, which means we have yet another excuse to dress up and eat fabulously. With your best interest in mind (of course!) we checked out and just got the best chance to fulfill all your sophisticated taste buds at Shangri-la Hotel with Michelin-starred chef Marco Stabile. His special art-inspired menus aren’t here for long, so take advantage while he’s here!
Greeted with smiles and sat promptly, we were led into the dining room with high ceilings and simple elegant contemporary décor, each table adorned with sparkling silverware and a white tablecloth. Simply perfect!
Currently, there are two set tasting meals you can choose from, lunch or dinner. We had experienced on the lunch with four-course tasting menu (THB1,588++/person). In a fine dining restaurant such as this one, a four-course tasting menu is never really a four-course tasting menu as there will always be little surprise that catch you unaware. With Chef Marco Stabile, our meal started with a selection of fresh baked sourdough breads and a small bowl of extra virgin olive oil without balsamic vinegar. No balsamic vinegar? That’s first surprise of what Chef inspires guests to taste the real great olive oil without any infused sour taste of vinegar. To accompany your freshly baked sourdough, the best one of extra virgin olive oil, of course Italian origin is selected by Chef with elegantly nutty, yet fresh and light and in very good balance.
It seems that one amusing start is not enough, so Chef presented a delicious canapé with chicken liver pâté on top of meringue base that all fused together magically.
For our official first course as launched and named onto the menu, we started off with The egg, The hen and The eggs: Tuscan Grandmother Rituals which in my opinion was so delightful. First came with just simple bits and pieces of an egg ball, a piece of chicken jelly, a small bite-sized crispy chicken pâté and some tiny drops of jelly putting together on a white deep plate and then followed by such a special consommé soup – I had to say a great refined starter with stunning presentation. The bright yellow from egg along with glossy brown gelatin chicken with carrot made this visually impressive dish really stand out – perfect feast for the eyes. The consommé soup itself was light and tasted quite salty, but so fresh and good harmony with texture of all first served alike-petit fours on the plate.
Next came with my waiting part of lunch was the second course pasta dish, because carbs are life. Actually, it’s not exactly the first thing that leaps to mind when you think of Michelin-starred dining, but with lashings of creamy melted white wine sauce with beef ravioli and just a hint of lemongrass and capers, it can be acceptable. The beef-filling of ravioli for me was a bit too salty but the pasta dough cooked perfectly al dente, being well harmony with the most amazingly rich and full bodied creamy sauce.
Things were quickly on the up for our main, Crispy but Tender Suckling Pig, Mushroom Sauce, Swiss Chard from the set lunch menu. It’s a total foodie cliché by now, but this beautiful piece of pork belly really was cooked perfectly-crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Here we had four cuts of pork belly served alongside a Swiss chard relish and creamy dollops of mushroom sauce.
At first sight, I wasn’t particularly excited about Tiramisu Espresso which is the very simple Italian sweet for dessert, preferring more fruit-based to treat myself. Yet the combination of this fresh mascarpone, creamy light layers of sponge and a nice strong shot of espresso coffee was actually seriously delicious and appreciably refreshing after such an indulgent meal.
The creativity of this wonderful set menu can’t be denied. The presentation is really special, and even though making food look like it’s something else can be a bit of a gimmick, we enjoyed the playful aspect of the meal and felt excited to see what would come next. I also found that I was more inquisitive as a diner, and it gives me a deeper appreciation of all the advanced cooking techniques that go into creating certain artsy aspects of the dishes. I can tell you that if you can afford to go for a really special occasion, or just once in a lifetime, you won’t be disappointed!
Shangri-la Hotel Chiang Mai
31 January – 4 February 2018
Advance reservation required, limited seating available.
Call & Book at 053 253 888