The first thing that hits you when you walk into the door of 4 Garcons Brasserie & Patisserie is the sweet smell of cinnamon and freshly baked pastries. Don’t be surprised if your stomach begins to growl in eager anticipation of the French culinary delights that await you. Opened in 2010, 4 Garcons is celebrating one year of success and looking forward to the future as they prove the “nay sayer’s” wrong and stake their claim as one of the leading up and coming French restaurants in Bangkok. Located in the exciting and competitive Thong Lor area, 4 Garcons is primed to give their competition a run for their money.
Located in the Oakwood Residence, 4 Garcons is situated away from the busy main road and can be found on one of the quieter side streets. The restaurant is relatively small and intimate but the décor is light and airy and makes the area seem bigger than it is. There is a fabulous deck with outside dining and large, comfortable, rattan and white linen couches that can accommodate groups of people. There are also plenty of tropical plants and several calming water features as well as stylish fans to help cool you off outside. The music inside consists of sultry French standards, while the decor is an eclectic mix of classical French country chic with a few modern twists. The color scheme is dominated by warm beiges and cottage blue and white patterns. There is plenty of blue and white porcelain and silver accents scattered about. There is also a nice sprinkling of hard back books that are artfully placed on marble top tables with beautiful bouquets and fresh flowers to complement the subtle use of metallic fabrics, wood furniture and marble floors.
The Four Partners
Who exactly are the 4 garcons? Well they are a lawyer, a physician, an engineer and an executive for an international pharmaceutical company. One of the most compelling elements of 4 Garcons is the four professional co-owners that created the restaurant; Dr Joe (Rujapong Sukhabote), Van (Ayusakorn Arayangkoon), Pop ( Piroon Wacharamontri) and John Chan. Dr. Joe still works during the day as the head of gastroenterology at Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) and as a chef at the restaurant on the weekends and the evenings. The irony of a stomach doctor as a chef is not lost on the four partners. Both Joe and Van attended classes at the Cordon Bleu in Bangkok to crystallize their skills and enable them to go from home chefs to professional chefs. Van has dedicated himself full-time to the restaurant and acts as the full time pastry chef and daytime chef manager. Pop; who still works as an attorney at Norton Rose law firm, is credited with being the brain child behind the décor and is often at the restaurant, while John has left the cerebral world of engineering to work full time as the day to day manager of 4 Garcons. “This is it” asserts John Chan who is an American that originally hails from Florida “We are all here all the time, this is more than a hobby for us, and we are here because we quite like it”. The concept behind the restaurant was to introduce Thai people to everyday French food. John also talked about the importance of customer service and properly training the staff. “We have a set of systems in place to constantly help us improve, we train the staff in both English and French and have a series of incentives that help them improve their marketability. Customers don’t even have to read the menu as the staff is well versed about the specials and can make food and wine recommendations. We continually illicit feedback from and listen to our customers and are always vigilant in our desire to improve”.
The menu at 4 Garcons is focused 100% on home-style French comfort food. According to John, “You won’t find any fusion food on the menu; this is unpretentious cuisine that everyday French people eat”. The partners travel to France annually for inspiration and to keep on top of the latest food trends. The wine list is quite impressive and they offer more than 10 wines by the glass including a port. A stand out appetizer is the Moules au Safran et la Moutarde (380Baht). This consists of a generous portion of mussels imported from the Atlantic coast of France that are steamed in white wine, garlic, Dijion mustard and saffron. The liquor from the mussels is luscious and delicate and you would be well advised to use the fresh made baguette to sop up every last drop. The Foie Gras Chaud Sauce au Porto et aux Pruneaux (550Baht) is fresh, not frozen, Pan-fried foie gras with port wine and plum sauce. It literally melts in your mouth and the plum sauce is rich without being overpowering. The French Onion Soup is complex and hearty and can almost be a meal in itself. It contains layered textures and flavors as well as the iconic melted cheese cap of Emental and Gruyère cheeses. The menu contains a variety of beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish dishes. You will find French classics such as escargot, truffles and frog legs as well as non-traditional cuts of meat such as tripe, ox tail, ox tongue, ox cheek and seasonal favorites such as venison. Recommended main dishes include the Joue de Boeuf Braise la Bourgeoise (650Baht) which is melt in your mouth Ox cheek braised in red wine and served with root vegetables. The Duck Confit (580baht) is also very popular as it is cooked two times and served with Dijon mustard mashed potatoes. It would be criminal to skip dessert at 4 Garcons as the pastries are phenomenal. Favorite dessert is the Tarte aux Noix de Macadame (180Baht) which is a formidable masterpiece of macadamia nuts and caramel. This dessert is not as sweet as it sounds as the buttery macadamias contrast the caramel, and the fresh berries and vanilla bean whip cream add the perfect touch of creamy and tartness to all the crunchy sweetness of the tart. It’s a one-of-a-kind dessert that has to be eaten to be believed. The Tarte Tatin (180Baht) is a caramelized apple tart on puff pastry which is also very popular and comes highly recommended.
4 Garcons has been quite successful in introducing their patrons to classic French cuisine that can be consumed every day. You no longer need a special occasion or an enormous bank account to enjoy French cuisine in Bangkok. The open and inviting venue coupled with fantastic wines, food, and service make 4 Garcons a force to be reckoned with and a welcomed and hopefully permanent addition to the Thong Lor restaurant scene.
See 4 Garcons Restaurant Page