Opened in June, Brasserie Cordonnier has quickly proven itself a pièce de résistance on Sukhumvit Soi 11. The French restaurant has made itself right at home, instilling an air of understated charm to Bangkok’s flashy and modern prime nightlife strip. It’s the kind of spot you might stumble upon roaming around Paris’s cutesy Montmartre district. Think extra-high ceilings, dark wood pieces, distressed walls and a bright airy feel. Vintage posters and snapshots of footwear adorn the walls, a nod to the restaurant’s name (cordonnier is French for “cobbler”).
What you’ll find is classic authentic French cuisine – no fusion frills or hit-or-miss experimentation. Executive Chef Clement Hernandez honed his skills working at several Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, now delivering the kind of straightforward time-honoured gastronomy sure to make any connoisseur’s mouth water. Precision and attention to detail are key to a concise and plain-dealing menu of Gallic dishes, a departure from the stuffy French fine dining more easily found around the Big Mango.
Appetisers include silver trays crowned with Fine de Claire No 3 oysters on ice, foie gras terrine featuring toasted brioche, fresh grapes and grape chutney, and onion soup with perfect layers of gooey molten Emmental and soused bread. The crowd favourite main course so far is the beef bourguignon, with chunks of meat so soft they fall apart at the slightest fork poke, after hours of stewing with glazed carrots, mushrooms and bacon bits in a red wine sauce. Moules-frite get similar treatment, cooked in fragrant white wine doused with shallots, fennel, thyme and parsley.
Make sure to save room if you’re a fan of classic French dessert. Go for the clafoutis (a thick flan-like cake) baked with blueberries and cinnamon, or the ,apple tarte tatin, served upside down as a cheesecake with caramelized apples and cinnamon ice cream.
The cocktail menu was designed by Davide Sambo, the mixologist behind creations at other popular Sukhumvit 11 haunts Havana Social and Above Eleven. While the dishes never stray far from custom, this is where the restaurant really allows itself to have a field day. Sambo’s flourishes include the sole rouge (vodka, Benedictine, Yellow Chartreuse, orange juice and framboise), a take on the classic sex on the beach, served on a charcoal plate in a stiletto-shaped glass. Then there’s the lumiere, or “light bulb” in French (house-blended gin, Green Chartreuse, Mancino Bianco, absinthe, orange bitter, and citrus and vanilla air), served in a light bulb-shaped glass. Because the Lumiere brothers pioneered French cinematography, it comes with a Polaroid of your first sip presented as a souvenir.
If this might be too much theatre, you could just go for the brasserie’s fantastic Bordeaux by the glass. After your meal, you can always wander upstairs to the cabinet-themed cocktail lounge and hang out on the balcony. It’s a great laid-back spot to people-watch on Sukhumvit 11 and get geared up for a night of dancing.