I’ve visited Chiang Mai countless times since I was a kid, but was recently surprised when my friend mentioned, David’s Kitchen, and I’ve never heard of it before. I went there without doing any research and without much expectation.
But that evening made a perpetual impression on me. The restaurant with such a simple name is by no means as simple as it sounds!
Once I stepped into the restaurant area, I found myself in front of an elegant house conversion surrounded by a lush garden. The waiter greeted me at the door and told me he needed to check if there was a table available, which really puzzled me as what I saw was basically an empty restaurant (I arrived before it opened in the evening), and it’s not that small. Fortunately, there was a table available for me. They asked me to write my name on a piece of paper and asked me to wait until 5 pm.
At a very first glance from outside, the sophisticated decoration, the white tablecloths, and the grey-coloured chairs seemed reminiscent of a posh restaurant in London.
At 5 pm, I was invited to take a seat in glasshouse-like section of the restaurant. The ambience was formal yet inexplicably cosy. I was once again impressed with a personalised table tag with my name on it. I looked around and saw the similar tags on other tables with some tables having a happy birthday or happy anniversary cards. I chose the four-course prix fixe set menu, which I reckoned it was quite good value.
- Salmon Gravlax
- Velouté of Yellow Japanese Pumpkin Soup
- Beef Bourguignon with Paris Mash
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
First thing they served was an amuse-bouche which was a cylinder of cucumber with halibut salad. I’m never a big fan of cucumber, so I couldn’t say I found it very appetising.
Then came a basket of warm bread and soft butter, which notably reflects their meticulousness.
I really appreciated this as even some fine dining places in Bangkok gave me cold butter straight from the fridge. The basket of bread was comprised of a brioche (my favourite), a slice of baguette, and a piece of brown bread.
The salmon gravlax was marinated to perfection. Not too salty. The salmon flesh still retained its moisture and springy texture.
This was, if I may say, the best part of the meal for me. I myself always like pumpkin soup. This hearty bowl of soup absolutely befitted the term velouté (which means velvety in French). Smooth, rich, fragrant. All these qualities are boiled down in this humble-looking soup. The cheesy crouton did its part perfectly to complement the soup. I must confess I would’ve licked that bowl had I been at home!
The beef bourguignon was flavourful and featured prominent rosemary aroma. The thing which I found astonishingly good was not the beef (which was brilliantly tender as expected), but the carrot and mushroom which were not overcooked, not mushy, yet they were full of complex flavours of the stew.
When the dessert arrived, David came up to chat about foods and the restaurant. He was such a friendly and welcoming guy. He proudly told me that his restaurant was the only place in Chiang Mai that made authentic English sticky toffee pudding. The pudding had mellow sweetness with strong nutty, caramel notes. The accompanying vanilla ice-cream could be better though.
2 weeks later, I couldn’t resist my temptation and made a second visit. Of course, nothing disappointed me. These photos will speak louder than thousands of words!