Le Bouchon is the little favourite of thousands of Bangkok expatriates, an frequent visitors. No, it is not the best French restaurant in Bangkok, yet it is almost impossible to get an evening table without a prior booking.
Le Bouchon is unique. A miniature sized bistro, you will think you are in a Paris backstreet, maybe around Montmartre. Look at the kitchen, smaller than your home bathroom, and you will be certain that you are indeed in Paris.
Serge, I think from Lyon, has been running this place in his own inimitable style for so long that it is just a part of Bangkok. Some of the pre-cooked items [confit, etc] arrive with him via his small Harley, straight from his home.
Sit at the much in demand small table [for two] at the front window you will gaze out over Patpong II, drectly in front are racks selling ladies' underwear of scampy sizes. Watch whilst a stream of bargirls, transvestites and cross-dressers [just called Katoey, lady boys in Thailand] fondle the merchandise before purchasing.
The food is basic French, some dishes excellent others not quite so but all at a price that makes the experience one to remember and repeat. The service is sad [except for Serge himself who is the perfect host], but then this is Thailand where service everywhere is very poor.
Start with their simple but wonderful Lobster Bisque, a rich intensely flavoured broth floating with a few pieces of lobster meat, the bowl covered with a pastry crust [en croute].
Ravioli stuffed with foie gras or a serve of Sweetbreads are other regular starters. Frogs' Legs, Snails and Pate of course or the place would not be French!
Best mains are usually the Lamb medallions with rosemary, or the Duck in orange. Confit can be good but is sometimes too dry and the steaks are a bit hit and miss.
Wine list small but reasonably priced for Bangkok Best value is a carafe of house wine [or sometimes two]. There are mini tables on the footpath at front [really in the centre of the action] for a coffee and smoke break. For me it is coffee, cognac and cigar.
Le Bouchon is an institution, visit once and you will be enrolled as a regular. Bookings are essential for an evening table not so for lunch.