A ‘gourmand’, roughly translated from the French language is a person who takes great pleasure and interest in consuming good food and drink. A ‘bistrot’, often called a bistro, has Parisian origins with French cuisine and wine first and foremost.
Hua Hin’s Bistrot Gourmand encapsulates these very French references. French fine dining, a welcoming French host and most importantly, fine imported French wines. Owner and host Christian Vonau provides an essential French connection. That follows 25 years in the French wine business as a wine taster, buyer and seller in that country’s e most celebrated wine industry.
As well as establishing Bistrot Gourmand in 2016, Christian imports French wine into Thailand for his own restaurant but also as a wholesale supplier across the country. He is able to provide diners with the best French wine at prices below what you may find at wine shops around town. Real French champagne includes some of the iconic labels such as Moet, Bollinger or even the rather exotic Chrystal Roederer 2006 if your tastes are attuned to the best of the best. Dining promotions include a bottle of French wine; red, rose or white from Christian’s extensive wine cellars, all personally selected and carefully sampled. The wine menu offers around 15 white, 4 rose, 30 red and over 10 champagne options. They are all in stock with the reds cooled to around 16 -18° C, not as chilled as the whites, but Thailand’s 30° plus is far from the ideal red wine ‘room temperature’. Christian scoffs at situations where an extensive wine list may appear but then the chosen bottle never seems to be in stock. He’s considering upgrading his home cellars soon to allow for even more wine storage.
We sampled the foie gras with homemade brioche and mango chutney as well as ravioli de foie gras in mushroom sauce with truffle oil. Foie gras (duck liver) is one of the most popular and well-known delicacies in French cuisine with rich, buttery, and delicate flavours. Towering skewers of beef and seafood with the best wine pairing Next followed two vertical skewers; beef tenderloin with green pepper sauce and a skewer of prawns and squid with tartare sauce. The seafood is as fresh as a local market can provide whereas the beef has been imported from Argentina with flavours that Christian says best suits French cuisine.
The tender beef cubes were paired with Christian’s favoured Chateau Camplong; from Southern France with enough grip and power to handle this rich, meaty main course. My Thai companion preferred the seafood option and was extravagant in her praise for the freshness of the squid, a Hua Hin favourite. Christian Vonau at Bistrot Gourmand really is Hua Hin’s connoisseur and connection to the flavours and ambience of fine French cuisine.
Where: 26/7 Poolsuk Road Hua Hin. This is directly behind the main Hua Hin Temple with parking available in the temple grounds. If you see ‘no parking’ signs, just offer 20 THB and you may park metres away from the restaurant.
When: Everyday from 4 PM til late. Special Events: The restaurant has a downstairs area for up to 60- diners and a 40 seat upstairs venue for more private soirées.
Contact: Phone 098 453 7562; www.facebook.com/BistrotGourmandd/