Spoon and Fork and Citylife magazines, along with other members of the press, were invited by Le Meridien hotel Chiang Mai on Tuesday 10th to a lovely lunch introducing their new executive chef Patrick Périé. Through his cooking, he took guests on a journey of his career working in great culinary cultures across the globe, from New Orleans, USA and Provence, France, to Beijing, China and Bangkok, Thailand.
We started off excitedly sipping a chilled glass of bubblies while sampling an appetite-teaser of intriguing foie gras crème brulee – all the crackle on top and decadent creamy foie gras flavours below. There was also his Middle Eastern inspired tuna with home made tapenade and a waffly cone of crab meat and salmon caviar.
We were then invited to sit at the bar counter, watching Perie and his team hard at work while being served a wonderfully refreshing tropical mojito of Nikki’s rum which was soon going down wonderfully with an intriguing starter inspired by the classic spicy Thai beef salad. With a Vietnamese and Spanish twist, the beef salad was served spring roll style on a bed of gazpacho cream accompanied by a punchy Thai sauce. Next came a Hurricane cocktail, a classic of new Orleans which paired perfectly with a flavourful gumbo, bursting with flavours of the sea and with the dish’s distinctive okra texture to the sauce. A palate cleanser of liquoricey Pastis wiped out the flavours of America to make way for those of Europe as we were then introduced to a traditional bouillabaisse, Perie’s homage to his homeland in Provence, France, a dish brimming with fresh and tender seafood and which went remarkably well with a chilled glass of rose.
With little room left in our filling stomachs, we managed to squeeze in a feast from the Middle East, drawn from Perie’s years in Cairo, of couscous and lamb sausages, lamb meat balls and superbly succulent racks of lamb as well as richly marinated chicken. The sauce tied it all together as we washed it all down with another glass of rose. The General Manager insisted, we swear.
As if that wasn’t enough, pastry chef Zulal Dalbas from Turkey whose specialty is all things chocolate was similarly inspired by her roots and showed off a wonderful selection of Turkish treats and sweets including a baklava (forty thin layers we were told!) which was far less sweet and had a more delicate balance of flavours than many baklavas we have tried, as well as a selection of Turkish delights filled with flavours of pomegranates and rose with generous crunches of hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Ending the feast with yet another glass of bubbling Laurent-Perrier, we were wowed with a theatrical display of liquid nitrogen wafting selection of mini ice-cream lollipops, covered with crunchy chocolate.
Sadly (for you all!) these items will not be on the menu of Favola, which remains an Italian Restaurant, however, we are assured that there will be many future occasions where Chef Perie will be showcasing his vast experience cooking in some of the world’s best kitchens.
Favola at Le Meridien has a new team of chefs and executive chefs and we will give you a full report when we visit in the next few weeks.