The three-storey restaurant and bar sits on the beach overlooking the stunning Andaman sea and affords gorgeous views of Patong Bay. Its location, formerly that of popular Italian restaurant White Box, is ideal and offers a semblance of calm; close enough to the hustle and bustle of Patong without being overwhelmed.
The international L’Arôme stable has six restaurants throughout China and two in Paris, one of which, FANFAN PARIS, is Michelin-listed. Their website states “restaurant concepts based on originality, culinary authenticity, quality service and passion”.
This mantra is more than apparent from the outset of my visit as my partner and I are warmly and professionally welcomed by host Micheline and led to the roof-top bar on level three of the property for pre-sunset drinks.
There the spectacular sea views and stunning sunset are complemented by a choice of deliciously refreshing mocktails as we eagerly survey our menu for the evening.
Alcoholic beverages are off the menu in the current COVID-19 climate yet this does nothing to detract from the ambience or experience as we select our dishes and head down a level to the main dining area.
Tables are immaculately presented and fully respect social distancing rules. There are a total of 40 covers on this level, the perfect number and layout to enjoy the atmosphere without feeling overcrowded.
Shortly after being seated we are offered a small delectable treat of watermelon infused with sun-dried fish, perfect for cleansing the palate for the culinary delights ahead.
For starter the tuna tartare flavoured with lime and sesame oil and served with hand-crafted flowers of beetroot and radish with an avocado purée is simply a delight; the combination of flavours come together perfectly for a light, refreshing taste explosion.
Likewise the scallop carpaccio which offers thinly sliced Hokkaido scallops with mango, alfalfa sprouts and citrus purée. It is divine and my only quibble is I want more of it!
Fear not though as the main courses are on their way. We order the dijon crusted lamb rack with red wine sauce and the 250g Tajima Wagyu Ribeye steak.
The lamb is delicious and perfectly cooked, accompanied by creamy mash potato and a selection of seasonal vegetables chosen by the chef.
The steak, however, is the showstopper for both my partner and I. Considering ourselves somewhat as steak aficionados, we have consumed our fair share over the years with the pick coming in a small Japanese steakhouse in Tokyo several years ago.
L’Arôme’s steak at least equals if not betters that offering. It really is that good. Cooked to perfection, it literally melts in one’s mouth. It is so perfectly seasoned that it did not require the additional side sauces. The fact it is served on a slab of hardened Himalayan rock salt only added to the visual allure – they say you eat with your eyes and I had close on gobbled this down before it even hit the table!
Dessert managed to maintain the incredibly high standards with the rich dark chocolate mousse, miroir glaze and praline “Le Trianon” a true delight. As a self-confessed chocoholic, this was genuinely one of the finest of its kind I have ever had the pleasure to consume.
On speaking with Micheline afterwards, we learn that all the chefs at L’Arôme are internationally-experienced Thais who take the concept of contemporary culinary trends in Paris, specifically from FANFAN, and combine their own ideas.
“We have kept our menu small, choosing to pay attention to cooking techniques and plating design for each of our dishes,” she says.
“The dishes that currently feature on our menu are based on the bestselling flagship recipes from our Michelin-listed restaurant in Paris, FANFAN PARIS. Hence you can be sure to receive authentic French flavours,” Micheline adds.
L’Arôme only opened on April 19th yet clearly word has already travelled fast as it is busy on the evening we visit and there is a vibrant atmosphere in the air. The fact they have taken the plunge to open during such an exceptionally challenging time is brave and deserves huge kudos. It also suggests they are supremely confident in their offering, and justifiably so. The staff are attentive and knowledgeable and an appropriate pacing between courses is adhered to throughout.
Ongoing promotions include the sunset pinto set (selection of 4 bar food plus 2 mocktails) for B680, the 3-Course Menu Decouverte for B999 and the 4-Course Menu Degustation for B1499.
I genuinely believe the future is bright for L’Arôme and would highly recommend a visit. It’s only a matter of time before I return!