Blue by Alain Ducasse has the unique distinction of being the only Michelin starred run restaurant in Thailand that is situated in a luxury shopping mall.
No one knows better than prodigious three Michelin star Chef Alain Ducasse that culinary preferences tend to ebb and flow in a maelstrom of ever-evolving food trends. Yet the allure of fine dining is an enduring tradition that never seems to go out of style. The famous chef, who has a legacy of 30 restaurants in 10 countries to his name, garnering iconic status as an industry leader since he began his illustrious career at the tender age of sixteen, recently joined forces with Thailand’s premier retail and entertainment complex IconSiam to open ‘Blue’, his latest flagship restaurant in Southeast Asia.
“As with any successful project, the planets suddenly aligned", shared Chef Ducasse, “The seed was first planted nearly 18 years ago when Chadatip Chutrakul, director and CEO of Siam Piwat, discovered my cuisine when travelling to Monaco with her father. Years later when developing IconSiam, she invited me to open a restaurant. When I saw the ambition and beauty of this project, I decided to be present".
What resulted was an ingenious ‘destination dining’ concept that seamlessly coexists within a luxury shopping mall in an unexpectedly cohesive manner. Hugging the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya River, IconSiam encompasses 50 rai (750,000 square metres) of prime riverfront real-estate with Blue boasting stunning views from its idyllic location.
“When you experience it firsthand you truly feel the magic", asserted Chef Ducasse, “We knew that the location was exceptional from the audacious architecture of the building to the high-end luxury boutiques. Everything from the breathtaking vista of the Chao Phraya River and the magnificent décor of the restaurant conceived by Jouin-Manku surpassed our expectations".
Modern and sophisticated, Blue may seem a bit understated and modest as you first enter the premises. Awash in a soothing colour palette of bronze, creme and their “signature" corporate royal blue, it is the anthesis of a boxy space defined by right angles. Instead, you are greeted by seductive spaces accented by undulating curves, secret entrances, hidden rooms and wood and glass walls that deftly alternate between providing privacy and showcasing expansive floor to ceiling views.
One of the most alluring features is their all-day dining area called the ‘Lounge’. Located just off the main entrance, you’re invited to indulge with cocktails or champagne before or after your meal, or you can just stop by enjoying their exclusive ala carte menu of snacks and pastries with coffee, or try out their signature high-tea set that is available for extended hours when the main dining room is unavailable. The Lemon Tart is particularly appetizing, as are the ‘Blue" which pair quite nicely with a fragrant and smooth cup of White Tea.
“Blue is not a stiff restaurant. It is a very welcoming place where everyone can feel comfortable and enjoy an unforgettable moment", added Chef Ducasse. Both lunch and dinner are served in the adjacent dining room which opens into a sumptuous cylindrical space dominated by a luminescent light feature that radiates out like a pearlescent seashell. Evey immaculately set table boasts comfortable seating and unobstructed eye-level views of the bustling activity on the river below; which all conspire to evoke an elegant sense of tranquillity.
Contemporary French cuisine is the ‘name of the game’ and Blue offers several tasting menus and a focused selection of entrees, mains, and desserts to choose from. When asked what; if any, influence did Thai ingredients play when conceiving the menu, Chef Ducasse responded by saying; “We source as much produce as possible from the region. We procure our eggs, chickens, and milk from a farm in Khao Yai and other products from the Chiang Mai area." Executive Chef Wilfrid Hocquet is the creative force in the kitchen in Ducasse’s absence. “The blue crabs come from small local fishermen and Chef Wilfrid uses some Thai seasonings as a tribute to Thai culinary culture while maintaining the French essence of the cuisine", added Chef Ducasse.
The wine list is quite impressive with an in-house French sommelier on hand, and I was particularly impressed with their signature Alain Ducasse Champagne Brut NV, from Lanson, France. Highlights from the menu include the vibrant Vegetable Crudité Stick with Daikon Radish, Asparagus & Sorrel and the stunning Blue Crab with Tomato Water Gelée & Gold Caviar from Kaviari. Made using local Phuket blue crab, this unforgettable entree is the epitome of luxury and is the one dish on the menu you don’t want to miss. Soft tomato flavoured jelly with cardamom is topped with lightly poached blue crab and copious amounts of caviar so that you have an ethereal experience with every bite.
My other favourites are the Hazelnut Soufflé with Sourdough Ice Cream and the Chocolate Tart with Cocoa Nib Ice Cream. The decadent tart is made from the Alain Ducasse Manufacture in Paris that uses a unique 40%, 75% and 100% signature chocolate blend. Likewise, the caramelised hazelnut soufflé is hands-down one of the best versions of soufflé ever conceived and the innovative sourdough ice cream can only be described as a sheer unadulterated pleasure.
When asked to comment on what he wanted guests to experience when visiting Blue at IconSiam, Chef Ducasse had this to say, “My restaurants are always different. All of them tell a singular story created to be in tune with their location and the people’s way of life. Blue has been conceived in the same spirit. It’s a restaurant created to fit in with its environment and Bangkok’s unique clientele". Blue deserves to be at the top of any list for ‘restaurants to visit in the future’ as they truly offer something special. They aptly reflect a genuine sense of ‘place and time’ encompassed in a gourmet culinary experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.