Located on Khao Talo Pepper & Salt and its sister Crush Wine Bar, have firmly established themselves as one of the leading cosmopolitan restaurants in Pattaya and their Private Chef’s Table wine events are spectacular culinary feasts.
Reason 1 is the respect that I have for the entire team that works there. Like watching a choreographed ballet, all members of staff work seamlessly to ensure that the customer’s visit is most enjoyable and their culinary desires sated. Spearheaded by Celebrity Chef Fredi of Bruno’s fame his passion is to create exceptional dishes. Then Executive Chef Albert Casulocan, whose talent is to interpret these grandiose menus and produce the actual dishes to the delight of the diners. Chef Albert is well supported in the kitchen by a legion of well-trained assistants who work tirelessly to produce these delicacies. The amazing team of the Pepper & Salt/Crush waitresses are never stressed, delivering the multitude of dishes flawlessly and always with a smile.
Reason 2 are the exceptional canapés and cocktail that greet the diners. Creating exceptional canapés is not just slapping something tasty on a thin slice of bread but also ensuring that this bread remains crispy until consumed. Pepper & Salt have this down to a fine art, the toppings are bursting with flavour whilst the bread remains crisp and firm.
Reason 3 on the most recent Private Chef’s Table was the Smoked Norwegian Salmon Trout with Horseradish Cream, Dill-Cucumber Salad, Mango Cubes, Red Onion, Capers & Toast. Salmon Trout is actually from the trout family also known as Fjord Trout as it is raised in a Norwegian Fjord where cold seawater mixes with fresh water from the glaciers. This salmon trout was so delicate, sweeter than salmon and one could feel the Omega-3 oils playing with our taste buds. The Horseradish cream was strong but not overpowering and well complemented with the tartness of the Capers. Admirably Paired with a Chateau Lavont Menaut Sauvignon Blanc from the Pessac-Leognan region. Dry with high acidity combined with good complexity and length, this pairing allowed the acidity of the wine to tease the oily texture of the fish on the palate.
Reason 4 was Garlic Cream Soup with Sautéed Kale and Crispy Pancetta Ham and what a dish this was! Intense garlic flavour in a thick creamy soup radiating aroma yet with profound tase. The Pancetta was a lovely touch and the star was the Sautéed kale that provided yet another avenue of piquancy. Sympathetically paired with a Velenosi Classico Podium Marche the 100% Verdiccio with its medium body was almost intensely sharp on the palate with ripe flavours and a strong finish that superbly complemented the strong after-taste of the soup providing a wonderfully balanced palate.
Reason 5 was the Deep Fried Egg Yolk on glacéd Bacon Cubes & Mushrooms surrounded by a Black Truffle Parmesan Fondue topped with Pesto Mayonnaise & Watercress! Possibly the most complex dish that I have experienced at Pepper & Salt. Imagine having to separate the yolk from the egg white, then cover in batter and deep fry! I wonder who many eggs were sacrificed in the making of this dish? The Pesto Mayonnaise was delightful, the egg yolk was still soft and the real breadcrumbs well-seasoned and crisp, sitting above the glacéd bacon cubes and mushrooms. So far 5 distinct flavours and still the amazing Black Truffle-Parmesan Fondue to titillate our taste buds. The individual flavours were superb and combined there were out of this word! What an incredible dish! It was then up to the Orby Côtes du Rhône to enhance this dish and provide a congruent pairing. Whilst a beautiful wine with refined scents of fresh fruits, cherries and spices, the ripe and complex tannins struggled to shine amongst the furore of flavours of the dish.
The Plum-Amaretto sorbet provided a brief respite before we moved on to Reason 6, the Baked Australian Lamb Loin with Pistachio Crust, Red Wine Reduction, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Celeriac-Potato Purée and Chantelle Mushrooms. Beautifully presented the lamb was medium rare and was cooked with its fat intact producing incredibly succulent meat with the crispy pistachio crust providing additional flavour. The red wine reduction perfectly complemented the tender lamb as did the celeriac potato purée with the crunchy Chanterelles. Whilst the vegetable spring rolls were well made, they were superfluous to his dish and maybe some small green vegetable would have been more appropriate. To interact with the pungent lamb, the dish was paired with a superb Poderi Sette L’Invidio of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot from Bolgheri, Italy. At 14.5% alcohol this deep ruby red wine with a nose of sweet spices, tobacco and ripe fruits was a perfect match with the fresh acidity and soft tannins inter-acting on the palate with the delicious lamb.
Reason 7 of my love affair with the Pepper & Salt Chef’s Table continued with the Roasted Brazilian Fig with Gorgonzola Sauce. The freshness of the warm fig and the delicate gorgonzola mixed perfectly presenting a most appetising dish with the crispy fig and gorgonzola melting in the mouth. The Edna Valley 100% Merlot was the perfect choice with its bright ruby colour with violet hue. Black fruits and boysenberries on the nose and aromas of tart red berries on the palate with a smooth rich finish with liquorish notes. The manifestation of a perfect pairing!
Reason 8 to love Pepper & Salt is their in-house Le Bakery which produces artisan bread, superb cakes and amazing desserts. On this occasion we were presented with Baked Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce, Caramel Crumble & Fresh Berries. A picture perfect dessert of exquisite, light cheesecake with the subtle flavouring associated with the baked variety. The caramel crumble was, as expected, bursting with rich caramel flavour covered with a crunchy crumble. Fresh strawberries and blue berries completed this culinary masterpiece. Ensuring that the wine palates not leave disappointed was a delightful Domain Wachau Beerenauslese blend of Riesling and Gruener Vetliner. Grown on the steep terraces above the Danube River in Austria, this irresistible dessert wine portrays an intense greenish yellow with golden reflection. Tropical fruit on the nose and sweet and harmonious on the palate with a crisp acidity that so perfectly complemented the sweetness of the Le Bakery cheesecake.
Reason 9 to love the Pepper & Salt is for their exceptional collection of wines. Firstly, an impressive range of wines by the glass from lead-In favourites to many classic wines. For a bottle of wine, the choice is challenging with many excellent wines at just under THB.1,000. The list is extensive and there is a feeling of a personal choice of specially selected wines some of which are quite unusual on the local market. New World and Old World are both covered well, and I must admit that I have found a tendency to migrate back to the classics from France, Spain and Italy rather than the normal new-world offerings. You will never be disappointed. You can view the Current Menu & Wine List Here
Reason 10 is the combination of a Restaurant, a Wine & Cocktail bar and a Bakery. Nothing is half hearted here, everything is made to perfection using the finest products. Each sauce is made fresh in the kitchen and their meats and vegetables are second to none. Not the cheapest but incredible value for money with a guarantee that your breakfast/lunch or dinner will be prepared to perfection. Enjoy, I do!
Kim Waddoup enjoyed a lifetime in the tourism business and is an active ‘Silver-Ager” living in Thailand. He writes for his age group with high varied articles covering subjects relevant to retirees living in, or visiting Thailand. Any questions or comments on this post? Please do feel free to contact me through our ‘Contact Form’ or directly [email protected]