Monday, March 16, 2009

Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand


Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand | Photo 02

Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand | Photo 02

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uploaded by TomAikins

Madison is a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok that is known for great steaks but an upcoming promotion that runs from March 20-29 will shift the focus to seafood imported from Europe and Australia. This is not something completely different for the restaurant since there are eight seafood dishes on its regular menu ranging from Canadian lobster to Tasmanian salmon but the promotional menu created by chef Anchalee Ponrungsit presents dishes that are quite a bit more elaborate than the regular offerings which tend more to simpler grilled preparations.

A week before the promotion I was able to sample a representative selection of the dishes that were to be served on this special menu and came away with a new sense of respect for Chef Anchalee’s abilities and the restaurant’s attention to detail, the driving forces behind this consistently superior dining spot.

The regular seafood menu contains some appetizing dishes but as mentioned above, in a much simpler vein than the creations that will be served during the restaurant’s promotion. Creativity seems to be the main theme that guided the chef’s preparations for this special offering and it came through in a number of the dishes we were served during this special tasting. It was evident from the first dish we were presented with – three shot glasses that contained sea urchin in various sauces. The ingredients of these silky smooth shooters varied from champagne to a Tabasco-based red sauce and a vegetable-laden concoction and provided a very intriguing start to the evening’s menu.

Two salad-like dishes followed, an oyster and black mussel combination that contained crunchy white radishes lightly covered with a mustard oil that gave the dish a tangy vinaigrette-like taste, and a blue jellyfish, octopus and scallop mixture that was accompanied by cucumbers and capsicum. Jellyfish does nothing for me but the delicious scallops paired with the vegetables were enough to recommend this dish and the oyster/mussel creation was very tasty with the light sauce complementing and not drowning out the taste of the seafood.

Baked sardines on a tomato tart with capers and a tomato salsa followed along with a pike quenelle with yabbies, small lobster-like tails, in a coulis made from the yabbies. We were also presented with a mixed seafood stew that was basically a bouillabaisse with a lighter sauce and contained scallops, shrimp, mussels and razor clams – something that you very rarely see in Thailand. A braised smoked cod with vegetables and crisp pancetta and mud crab with a ginger, leek and black pepper sauce completed the evening’s fare.

All these dished were beautifully presented and imaginatively created. The black cod’s smoked flavor was accented by the pancetta, an Italian bacon, for example, and the seafood stew again had a sauce light enough to keep it from smothering the delicate seafood flavors. And the yabbie coulis was delicious enough to warrant cleaning the bowl with a piece of the restaurant’s excellent bread.

Other ingredients that will be featured during the promotion include halibut – in a Wellington preparation with braised cabbage and a truffle emulsion – spiny Atlantic lobster poached in a sorrel sauce and a baked whole orange sea perch among a number of other interesting looking preparations including also a home-made crab soufflĂ©.

And the meal was made all the more enjoyable since it was accompanied by an excellent champagne, a Pascal Cossy Brut Reserve that will also be served during the promotion. So although you may have enjoyed great steaks here in the past, for 10 days you can also taste some inventive seafood dishes at Madison, a restaurant that is able to effortlessly present wonderful cuisine no matter what the ingredients may be.


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