Indochine is the kind of place where it is not unusual for guests to arrive by helicopter, or to find several Ferraris in the parking lot. So it’s not surprising that prices are on the high side. Thankfully, so is the quality, says Eat Out critic John Maytham.
Asian cooking can go horribly wrong in hands that are too heavy, but chef Virgil Kahn has a very deft and light touch. There is freshness and complexity in the spicing of all the dishes, a slow build-up of flavour that insinuates rather than assaults.
To start with: green peppercorns, Vietnamese coriander and lime pull into focus melt-in-the-mouth tender duck, and cashew nut brittle adds texture and playfulness. One of the other signature starters is mussel-and-whelk laksa, a noodle soup that brings China and Malaysia together to stunning effect.
On the mains, pork belly is prepared char siu, literally ‘roasted on a fork’, and elevated to sublime levels by shiitake sausage and charred onion. The simple presentation belies the complexity of flavours. Geng gati is a fiery paste that Thai cuisine uses mostly for fish curries. Here it’s added by the diner to seafood elements, which include lobster, line fish, calamari and mussels. The combination of green and red chillies clears the sinuses, and mango, ginger, fennel and orange restore harmony.
Desserts continue the Asian theme: green tea crème brûlée and banana spring rolls are popular choices. There is also a chef’s signature menu available.
The wine list is extensive and contains several examples of cultivars known to pair well with Asian cuisine. The prices match the environment. Wines by the glass from the estate only, but that’s no hardship. It would be nice to see more Asian beers.
The welcome is very warm; the service is knowledgeable, efficient and discreet.
The view down the valley demands attention, but so too does the eye-catching décor. It’s plush, stylish and elegant, but not intimidating.
Make sure you leave enough time to savour the extraordinary collection of art on display, and take a walk in the beautifully landscaped gardens.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read Eat Out’s editorial policy here.