La Table de Tee: All about French classic dishes with inventive touch.
By Laurence Civil
“When my dad passed away, I went to live with my uncle in the UK,” says Tee Kachonklin, owner and chef of La Table de Tee, nestled deep in a quiet soi on Soi Saladaeng. “I arrived with zero language skills, so I studied English during the day and worked as kitchen helper at my cousin´s Thai restaurant during the night. The chef of Roussillion, French restaurant saw my potential and offered me a job at his Michelin-star venue in Sloane Square, London where I learned classic French techniques, the foundation of my cooking style.”
Returning home after six years, the 25-year-old chef saw that Bangkok was ready for his Franco-Thai expertise. “I decided to open this restaurant to create my own style,” he says. “I have great respect for street food and want to apply techniques I learned from the disciplined and skilled chefs who know how to enhance a dish.”
“My seven-course Degustation Menu takes my customer on a culinary journey to discover who I am,” he says. For an innovative chef like him, it is a must that the menu changes daily. But the comfort of the guest is also very important, so Tee listens to their dietary preferences beforehand.
In addition to Tee and his team’s efforts, and the customer’s preferences, there is one more variable in the daily set of dishes. “My menu is seasonal and market-driven,” Tee says. Coming from Korat, his menu displays some Northern and Northeastern influences, which, he says, are little known among the wider public. He closes the restaurant on Mondays so he can talk to local producers, who are from outside of Bangkok,“to source the best organic produce,” he says.
I tried his poached egg, which is boiled only for two-three minutes in 60 percent vinegar and 40 percent water, so that the white keeps its shape while the yolk remains moist and mellow. Next chicken breast, smoked in lemongrass, kaffir leaves, and limes to create a taste similar to Thai massaman dishes. Indeed the spices remind one of traditional Thai eateries, but the presentation is fine as if carried from French white tablecloths.
After this, I tried the poached summer season river prawns, with an intense beetroot jelly and crispy salad leaves, followed by green parsley risotto. The secret of this dish lies in the Japanese rice, which provides the moist texture. The rich aroma is gained by the healthier cooking style, using slowly extracted chicken stock, less oil, and cheese, and just a teaspoon of mascarpone.
Remarks of tender texture continue while tasting the pan roasted low-fat Lopburi duck breast complemented with coriander extract. The dishes make me remember Tee´s words: “Taste and texture are the focus of this menu.”
Finally, a clearly very Western dessert arrived: double dark chocolate mousse with milk chocolate ice cream, topped by a macaroon confectionary, whose traditional almond filling is replaced by peanuts. This dish culminates what La Table de Tee is all about: a French classic with Tee´s inventive touch.