Restaurant Stage Is A Nod To A Chef's Formative Years
Tucked away in an obscure Ekamai backstreet is Restaurant Stage. Its name is shorthand for stagiaire— pronounced “starzhjer” and meaning an intern or apprentice in French—and it alludes to the humbling early years budding cooks spend in their training to become respected chefs. Boasting a refined décor that blends Scandinavian minimalism with Parisian chic, the restaurant serves predominantly French cuisine prepared by owner Sainisa Sangsingkeaw, aka chef Jay, and her former associates from the now-closed Bangkok branch of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.
Once a nervous young stagiaire herself, Jay is the only Thai to have trained at the late, great chef’s multi-award-winning original outpost in Paris. While her focus is mainly on contemporary French cuisine created with precise cooking techniques and an equally Gallic respect for raw ingredients, she also draws inspiration from her travels closer to home and uses premium Asian produce to great effect in many dishes. These are offered in a choice of three tasting options: the four-, six- and 10-course Stage Experience. Wine pairings are optional but highly recommended.
While menus are refreshed every two months, the current line-up has a subtle Nordic feel, relying on ingredients from the sea and the wild. Japanese influences also come into play—our favourite starter, for instance, features a dainty tin box of lightly burned Hokkaido milk corn, brown crab and creamy bafun uni completed with a touch of yuzu and a delicate vanilla foam. It marries exquisitely with a smooth, medium-bodied glass of Born Junmai Daiginjo sake.
The most Scandinavian-esque dish on the menu is an incredibly piquant but well-balanced combination of three deep-sea stalwarts: pickled mackerel, smoked trout and tuna confit. Presented with seasonal asparagus, mustard seeds, dill and a pungent horseradish ice cream, the platter leaves a vibrant, lasting impression. From the land, a gorgeous venison tartare is well complemented by capers, chives, shallots and black winter truffles and embellished with a garnish of autumn leaves and fried sage. What truly perfects each bite though is a lavender cream that adds a beautifully refined, almost feminine touch.
Sustainability is also recognised in the kitchen. Fresh carabineros shrimp is lightly brushed with citrus-infused olive oil to make a creamy yet bright bite that pairs deliciously with Sakon Nakorn Hang rice cooked in a prawn broth and then pan-fried in prawn fat. The dish is zero waste with the head and leg of the prawn turned into crispy chips. Ending the savoury side of the menu is a traditional serving of meat loaf. Wrapped in bacon, it comprises a juicy combination of Australian A4 and Japanese A5 beef with pistachios added for texture. The dish is complemented with a tangy peach sauce and accompanied by buttery mashed potatoes whipped up using an approximation of Robuchon’s famed recipe.
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The evening ends with sweet creations by pastry chef Rekha Limpichart, who trained in Paris at Le Quartier du Pain under chef Frédéric Lalos. Her wonderfully refreshing dessert of Granny Smith apple shavings, elderflower jam and bee pollen with yoghurt ice cream is a great palate cleanser, after which we are given an exclusive glimpse of the invitation-only Secret Room. Decorated in a sultry Parisian style and perfect for private business, it accommodates up to eight people who can enjoy a selection of premium cigars and spirits until 1am. Dramatic touches aside, if you’re looking for excellent French cuisine in a dining destination that tastefully embraces both tradition and modernity, Restaurant Stage ticks all the boxes.
359/2 Ekamai Complex, Sukhumvit Soi 63
Wednesday-Monday 6pm-midnight (hours may be affected by emergency decree)
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