We’re only midway through 2018, but this year is already shaping up to be a particularly busy one for five-star hotel Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, with chef Hans Zahner recently filled the Chef de Cuisine post at the hotel’s European fine dining restaurant, Tables Grill. After spending nearly three years at the helm of Sir Elly’s at The Peninsula Shanghai, where he led the restaurant up the Michelin ladder to its current one-star ranking, French-born chef Hans has incorporated authentic French flavors and his own influences from working in Michelin-starred kitchens with the restaurant’s core tenets of fine technique and top-notch ingredients. The result is a degustation menu that’s intriguing and exciting — a step in the right direction for fine dining in a city that’s recently leaned towards white-tablecloth meals, especially since the arrival of the Michelin Guide Bangkok 2018.
We recently had the pleasure of sampling chef Hans’ 6-course degustation menu, and were deeply impressed by the well-thought-out creations that embrace Asian ingredients to enhance, rather than overpower, classical French flavours.
Located on the mezzanine level of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Tables Grill is designed by world-renowned interior designer Tony Chi, featuring a sophisticated dining area and two private rooms, Chamber and Cellar — all appointed with stylish dark red couches, marble tables, and brown leather armchairs, which evoke a masculine feel to the space. The alluring lighting works to create an intimate mood, exuding contemporary elegance that reveals the Hyatt grandeur.
The stage is set for a Michelin-worthy meal, and boy, does the kitchen deliver. Chef Hans’ degustation menu shows a side of French cooking full of heart and refinement but stripped of unnecessary pretension.
The menu unfolded in a parade of dishes that showcased chef Hans’ experimental and innovative approach to cooking. The menu started off with a plump Gillardeau oyster buried under a layer of lemongrass jelly, with Granny Smith apple lending a fruity tang and homemade beetroot puree dotted on top adding a pop of colour to the plate.
We were introduced to the chef’s artistic disposition with the next dish, Pacific Red Tuna Tartare and Caviar. The pink-hued chunks of tuna were sublimely bounded together, offset by the clean taste of water carrot jelly and covered in a sumptuous layer of Kristal caviar, nearly half a centimetre thick — presented like a tantalising benediction from the sea.
The most distinct difference that regulars of Tables Grill will observe with chef Hans’ new menu is the infusion of Asian flavours, which effortlessly coexist with the classical French ingredients and techniques. This is most evident in the Alaskan Royal King Crab, with Thai red curry, dried tomato, egg custard and fresh galangal. The Thai curry foam added a light, airy texture to bear the concentrated flavour of laksa, while showcasing opulent flavours that’s characteristic of French cuisine. The dish definitely snapped our taste buds to attention, without feeling heavy on the stomach.
We continued our rather virtuous, seafood-driven meal with the seared Normandie Scallop. This was the most flavourful of the four, served with Belgian endive and star anise-infused soy milk foam on the side. The perfectly seared scallop was subtle and nuanced on its own, yet surprising on the palates when paired with the pungent flavour coming from the port wine sauce.
To wrap up the savoury potion of the meal, we were presented with roasted grass-fed Australian lamb tenderloin, served with two impressive 20-layer carrot mille-feuilles. The buttery texture and flavour was sublime, pairing well with the slightly smoky cumin sauce. Succulent and well-balanced, this dish embodied the new degustation menu in a nutshell: premium ingredients highlighted in simplistic and stunning presentations.
To realign our palates, dessert was light and refreshing — lemon and rhubarb, an unconventional sorbet flavour made from rhubarb, served alongside delightful lemon cream and paired fittingly with raspberry purée, making a sophisticated end to the exemplary meal.
From our recent experience sampling the degustation menu at Tables Grill, it’s clear that the restaurant is aiming to set the bar even higher with the change in leadership, debuting a new menu that’s informed by the full breadth of chef Hans’ prior culinary experiences. Inspired by healthy, seasonal and fresh ingredients, diners who enjoyed the restaurant’s USDA prime Angus and lobster bisque will be in for a treat with the modern Europe cuisine crafted by the French chef.
Tables Grill, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, 494 Rajdamri Road, Bangkok, +662 254 6250
Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 6pm-10pm.
Price: THB 2,900++.
Noise Level: Quiet.
Service: Well-rehearsed and formal.