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Suan Thaï (Paris)
Fresh and natural Thai cuisine that pleases the eye as well as the palate... that’s what you’ll find at Suan Thaï in the Marais.
One of the loveliest Parisian quarters in terms of architecture, the Marais is something of a gastronomic desert. Plenty of bars and boutiques, yes, but it can be difficult to find a nice little restaurant…
That’s why this Thai place situated at the beginning of Rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie is such a godsend. The subdued decor; quality furnishings; nice, simple china; small bouquet of fresh flowers; and ornamental references to Thailand - like that little Buddhist shrine – all add up to an appealing spot, even if some of the tables are set rather close to one another. There’s even a second dining room downstairs in an arched cellar – not too low, thankfully – with long seats.
With Suan Thaï, the young owner and chef Boun Seng has his independence and the restaurant serving modern Thai cuisine restaurant he’s wanted.
Before the opening, he decided it would be a good idea to go back and see what was happening in Southeast Asia, especially Bangkok. He found that the new Thai cuisine favours aesthetically pleasing dishes. ‘Before, we would empty the contents of the wok directly onto your plate,’ Boun chuckles. At Suan Thaï, your delicious, traditional Thai cuisine will be presented in beautifully prepared compositions.
Suan Thaï in a nutshell
The place: a stone’s throw from Beaubourg and the BHV department store
The clientele: tourists, locals, gays, businessmen and women, young people and retired folk…
The decor: Thai ambience, but not over the top
A starter: Sout Isane, an assortment of traditional Thai appetizers
A main dish: the most ‘Thai’ is les larmes du Tigre, tiger’s tears: marinated, grilled beef with a very flavourful, spicy sauce. Whence the tears.
A second main dish: steamed sea bream with lime
A dessert: coconut rice with mango
The menu spotlights fresh ingredients, such as crisp green salads and vegetables, and large, tender prawns. The chicken in coconut milk is – and this is rare enough to deserve a special mention – a real chicken thigh, and not some vague, unidentifiable poultry bits and pieces... Herbs and spices, those fundamental components of Thai cuisine, are chopped and added at the last minute. The many fragrances include coriander, citronella, galangal (a.k.a. Thai ginger), cardamom and kaffir lime – a small bumpy citrus whose leaves and grated rinds are generally found in marinade sauces. The use of spices and hot pepper is very well-balanced; they enhance the dishes without overwhelming other flavours or overpowering the freshness of other ingredients.
One kind of fruit often used at Suan Thaï is the jackfruit - cousin of the breadfruit - a monster which can weigh as much as 25 kilos! One sees them at Asian markets but is daunted by their sheer size and rough, pebbly skin. Here, you can taste jackfruit in soup, or try the pomelo, a hefty green grapefruit which seems to have left all bitterness behind on a Thai beach…
41 Rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie
Tel: 01 42 77 10 20