Imagine Jim Thompson house. Now strip away the legend, crappy silk (I’ll give you that it looks good, but Thai silk is the least comfy silk I’ve ever had the displeasure of touching), over inflated prices, and throngs of farangs decked out in sandals and fanny packs. Does such a place exist in Bangkok? Well… I don’t know if it’s considered Bangkok proper, but with a short drive you’ll be away from the masses and relaxing at Amantee.
I’ll be upfront with this review. I know the head chef. I met him at an early Christmas party before leaving Bangkok for Singapore… which was a shame because Jeremie is a fantastic guy and great chef. A couple weeks later, Joanna and I had no other plans for Christmas Eve and so joined Jeremie and Kitty and others for a meal I still dream about to this day. Since leaving we’ve made a point to hang out with Jeremie every time we’re back in Bangkok.
This time back to Bangkok we decided no excuses, if we don’t do anything else we’ll find a way to make it to Amantee – or more specifically Le Cafe at Amantee. Despite covering scores of restaurants and locations for various publications while in Bangkok I had honestly never heard of Amantee before this, which is a shame…or is it better that it’s not super popular yet? Hard to say…
Amantee is located in Chaeng Wattana. The sprawling house and garden areas give guests a sense of escape and vintage Thai… without going full bore into the typical tackiness that ensues from white people attemping “classic Thai”.
We were escorted around the main building which is a showroom for antique Oriental and Tibetan furniture. There’s much on offer and Joanna and I were kicking ourselves for not venturing out here before moving to Singapore to load up on furniture.
Through the showroom you step back into the housing area of the compound. There’s a single guest bed – perferct for a romantic getaway or place to come for a retreat.
Don’t get me wrong, this was all amazing… but I came for the food. We were escorted back to the small, intimate kitchen which was completely out of someone’s home and not a large commercial kitchen. We watched for a few minutes as the two helpers prepared the basics for the day’s lunch service.
The tables are outside overlooking the greenery… peaceful and relaxing, just a perfect place for brunching.
The small, well-chosen menu was delivered and I had trouble deciding. Thankfully we had Jeremie on hand to ask questions. This wasn’t just because we’re friends, he often comes out and advises customers on what’s fresh or special that day. The menu features a fusion of French and Thai cuisine… normally fusion can be a bit iffy in Bangkok, but is done tastefully here. Check out the menu here. He could show off with heavy French sauces or something similar, but shows restraint and presents a menu that is perfect for the environment, time of day, and clientele.
We started with a chilled cauliflower soup with crispy bacon (200 THB). The chilled soup was perfect for a Bangkok afternoon and was a great start to the meal. Plus, who doesn’t love bacon? I regularly witness vegetarians sneaking a piece or two when they think no one’s looking 😉
At our Christmas Eve dinner Jeremie served a stunning Tuna Tartare that had bits of pistachio throughout to give it some competing textures. I’ve talked, probably too much, about this dish ever since. He had a version of it on the menu and I wrestled with going for what you know over experimenting. With a slight nudge from Jeremie I opted instead for the Scallop Carpaccio – consisting of Japanese Scallops, fennel, dill, and a refreshing pastis dressing. The fennel was raw and so gave more of a crispy, refreshing taste to the dish instead of a stronger liquorish flavor.
Joanna went for the Mushroom Quiche with Mesclun in Italian Balsamic (200 THB). The quiche pastry was perfectly cooked and not too heavy or filling.
We decided to share the Elba Salad – grilled zucchini, eggplant, yellow capsicum, fennel, and asparagus with Italian balsamic dressing (200 THB). This is a perfect summer lunch plate (and it’s always summer in Bangkok).
After the meal Joanna sipped on a nice glass of wine and I enjoyed an Iced Coffee and a chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis (140). Combined with our conversation with Jeremie it was a perfect end to the meal.
We didn’t just leave with our bellies full. Tempted by a special cash price, Joanna picked up an antique Chinese box that she’s converted into a jewelry box. The owner himself wrapped it up for us to ensure it would make the flight back to Singapore
I’m a tough critic. Even more so when it’s friends… ask anyone who knows me if I regularly pull punches or not. There wasn’t anything negative to say here, not because Jeremie is our friend, but because the place is exceptional. Prices are reasonable, food is fresh and appropriate to the venue/climate/time of day, and the entire compound is beautiful. I don’t want to oversell the place and leave you guessing that I’m a schill… but this place is a must visit.
If you need a quiet getaway, lunch spot, have friends in from out of town, first time visitors to Thailand… any excuse really, stop by Amantee (or try to get yourself invited to one of Jeremie’s house parties 😉 ). Chat with Jeremie, see what’s fresh today, and enjoy your refuge from gritty, noisy Bangkok.
131/3 Chaeng Wattana 13, Laksi,
Bangkok 10210 Thailand