Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reflexions Review (Plaza Athenee)

There are times when eating out can be described in 1 word: 'Delightful'.

Such would be the term for my night out at the Reflexions at Plaza Athenee.

For those who don't know the restaurant, it was opened approximately 5 or 6 years ago as a jazz bar, then moved into a jazz-themed restaurant... and at that time, the standards fell...

Then, the restaurant hired a new Chef and a new manager and went under renovation.

Renovations can be scary because like a box of chocolates, you never know what to expect.

In this case, was a wonderful mix of food, atmosphere, and service.

Bkkeater had a great meal for his dinner at the reflexions, starting with Sea Bass Ceviche and Raw Scallops.

The sea bass was nicely mixed with herbs (photos coming shortly). The cuts were superb, it was not too citrus infused as some ceviche's can be, and the touch of green mayonnaise on the side was a perfect compliment to the texture of the fish.

The scallop too was served on slight mayo on the side. I loved the hearty touch into the sauce (picture to come shortly). On one of the scallops, the Bkkeater got a big piece of sea-salt. Even then, the next scallop piece seemed to have melded perfectly with the saltiness on my tongue giving an amazing sensation at the taste buds.

Next was a sea-urchin soup topped with a mushroom ravioli. Its hard to really explain the flavor sensations when one takes a sip of this soup. I would even argue that the flavor that lingers and the imagination of that flavor when I recall it while writing is simply divine.

The one mistake I made for the night was not to listen to the manager's suggestion for the steak. In Thailand, my experience has been that 'no' restaurant makes a medium-rare steak properly. Somehow, even the holy grail of steaks in Bangkok, being the New York Steakhouse, tend to char the outer layer of the steak too much while leaving the inside bloody and therefore having no smooth transition of flavor within the steak.

Prejudice intact, I ordered my steak medium. And I must say, it was the best steak I have ever eaten in Bangkok. Kudos to the chef for getting the flavors and transition of flavor 100% correct.

Mrs. Bkkeater had the duck. And what a duck that was! The duck is served on a bed of snow peas. Its cooked to perfection.

For dessert, it was chocolate mousse cake (served for my b'day), and a capuccino. The cake was so rich: not too bitter, not too sweet, not milky, and had a velvety-chocolaty flavor that leaves the taste bud at the back of the tongue just yearning for one more bite. Addictive.

The only problem with the food, was that 1 piece of bread served was slightly salty... as such, we found 1 way to deduct exactly 1 point from the food total.

*Update* Someone commented to the Bkkeater that no restaurant should make a mistake with the bread, as a result the Bkkeater will reluctantly deduct 2 points as he too agrees with the notion.

Food: 48/50

One thing the bkkeater dislikes are servers, especially in 5 star restaurants, who think they know what you want, and give it to you without asking.

If bread at a table is finished, ask first before giving a new tray of bread. Even though its free, the people at the table might not want to get new break for fear of losing their appetite. Just ask first!

Or another common example are servers who assume you are done with your food, and pick it up without your asking. Hey, sometimes you are saving to eat the remaining sauce with bread, or whatever... again, its polite to ask.

The above examples did NOT happen at the Reflexions. What did happen was that our water (with both the Mrs. and I with glasses more than half-full) one of the dear waitresses decided for me that we wanted our glasses filled to the brim and opened me a new bottle of water. Of course, I wasn't going to complain about it there and look cheap, even though I may have wanted more water, I would've preferred being asked first.

Other than that, service was attentive and not over-bearing. Without that one incident, the service actually received a perfect score. However, that kept me annoyed for all of a minute (then the tango dancers entered), and I will cut off 2 points from there.

Service: 28/30

Intimacy requires passion. As such, live piano, movies of tango, and even real life tango dancing build intimacy. On one of the walls, you see beautiful photos of Angkor wat and a collection of mixed photos around southeast asia including children. The other wall is a large window looking down into wireless road. Somehow, either the window tint, or the room lighting gives it the image of a reflection of the room as a shadow.. its a very interesting and very intimate play.

The live tango, unfortunately, is temporary.

The manager deserves credit for his handling of the restaurant.

Atmosphere: 20/20

Total: 96/100

Value for Money: Very worth it. If you value food, and I mean delicious food, and you're willing to pay top money for it, forget Sirocco, forget Lord Jim's, this place just is so much better.

The total grade of Reflexions shows how they lost points on areas they should not have lost on. They are slights that do matter to the Bkkeater in his quest to review every dining establishment in Bangkok for your enjoyment.

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