Restaurant Review – LeDu

Celebrating seasonality is certainly de Rigueur at most modern restaurants, and Le Du is no exception. In fact, Le Du is a synonym for “seasons” in Thai, so they do take it quite literally. From initial impressions, the restaurant is quite a casual modern eatery without much fluff about it. Service was professional and quite friendly, and made the experience all the more enjoyable.

The cuisine is sort of a modern, molecular take on Thai cuisine, interspersed with various snows and ice creams on savoury dishes with some hits and misses. That said, they definitely had some cajones with the flavour and texture combinations, which I would always applaud. Now, onwards to the dishes.

We kicked off the meal with a ice sorbet ball of watermelon, which was refreshing but perhaps a bit too solid. The first dish was watermelon with yogurt mint gel, snakehead fish ice cream and shallot snow. A rather bizarre but surprisingly tasty combination of flavours and textures. That said, the snakehead fish ice cream didn’t really taste much of the fish itself. Snow was forgettable and an unnecessary addition.

Watermelon, mint yogurt gel, shallot snow and snakehead fish ice cream
Watermelon, mint yogurt gel, shallot snow and snakehead fish ice cream

Next dish was “Khao Chae” with shrimp and pork ball, radish, salted fish and jasmine ice cream. Khao Chae was apparently a royal Thai dish, and wasn’t accessible to the public before. The literal translation is rice soaked in cold water, and meant to be consumed during the summer months. Another oddly successful dish which balanced between savoury and sweet elements, although the chilli that came with it was rather potent but paired well with the sweetness from the jasmine ice cream. Not sure how a “Farang” might fare with the spice explosion though.

Khao Chae with pork and shrimp balls, jasmine ice cream
Khao Chae with pork and shrimp balls, jasmine ice cream

What followed next was the chef’s freebie of raw slipper lobster with caramel cream, and some sort of coriander sorbet. The slipper lobster was fresh, but the flavour balance was out of whack and overtly salty.

Raw slipper lobster
Raw slipper lobster

The subsequent dish was fish terrine, crispy rice, pickled white ginger, cucumber, and okra. Not a particularly memorable dish.

The next dish was certainly more interesting with soft shell crab, scrambled eggs, curry, green and burnt onion. The soft shell crab was nicely crisped, and paired well with the scrambled eggs and curry. Flavour wise it wasn’t quite balanced and skewed towards the sweet side.

Soft shell crab, scrambled eggs, curry, green and burnt onion
Soft shell crab, scrambled eggs, curry, green and burnt onion

After that, I was served a nicely grilled river prawn with tamarind sauce, poached egg and winged bean. Again, good textures but flavours were once again skewing towards too much sweetness. I must say I did enjoy the river prawn and poached egg though, which were well executed.

Grilled river prawn, tamarind sauce, poached egg
Grilled river prawn, tamarind sauce, poached egg

For the main course, I had the 30 day dry-aged beef tenderloin, spicy tomato puree, cilantro and Northern style sausage. The beef tenderloin could have been better executed and a bit chewy, and not necessarily in a good way. The sausage was very much redolent of the Lanna sausage up in Northern Thailand,  which had a flavourful and spicy kick to it.

30 day dry-aged tenderloin, spicy tomato sauce, Northern style sausage
30 day dry-aged tenderloin, spicy tomato sauce, Northern style sausage

Finally, the dessert was a black sesame pudding with Thai styled waffle shards and ginger ice cream. This dish was a bit too pedestrian for me, and the ginger ice cream could have been more pronounced to contrast against the sweetness of the rest of the dish. There were hints of raspberry which added some nice acidity to the dish, but could have used more of it.

Black sesame pudding, Thai styled waffle, and ginger ice cream
Black sesame pudding, Thai styled waffle, and ginger ice cream

Overall, an ambitious menu that could use more refinement and better balance of the flavour profiles, which tend to skew towards the sweet side. A 5-course meal fetches 2290 baht, and a glass of Gruner Veltliner was about 430 baht.  Not particularly affordable especially with the exchange rate nowadays, but an alternative and relatively decent dining destination if you had already tried Bo Lan and Gaggan.

Location: 399/3 Silom soi7 Silom Bangrak Bangkok (BTS : Chong Nonsi exit 4). (092) 919-9969. Website.

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