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Since relocating to Koh Samui after having lived in Provence for more than twenty years it is frankly a marvel to be able to rediscover, after a long and arduous search, authentic French cuisine prepared with top quality produce and above all with talented enthusiasm.
Located right in the heart of Lamai the owner of Seventy Fahrenheit, Romain, has created a warm welcoming and very comfortable environment in which to spend several hours over dinner. The outside teak terraced patio is spaciously laid out with ‘living wall’ plants offering a very refreshing feel whilst the interior dining area is clean lined, modern and lit cleverly giving a sense of subtle intimacy.
Romain has a quite remarkable Head Chef in fellow Parisian Lucas. At just nineteen years old, this Michelin trained young man has a talent and feel for his work that you come across very rarely, but most importantly, you can taste in the food.
The menu offers both French classics, and a Thai selection revisited by chef Lucas. An eclectic mix of starters to suit all tastes from, homemade duck foie gras, fresh Andalusian gaspacho and Blue crab ravioli in a leek and cream sauce to red curry coconut fish cakes or a spicy prawn and squid lemongrass soup.
I chose the ‘Little chef Squid’, a subtly intoxicating blend of butter, white wine and firm strips of lightly grilled red pepper seasoned with rosemary that transported me back to the old port in Marseille, generous, simple and tasty food. My partner opted for the St. Jacques scallops pan fried, flamed with Pastis and a creamed herb sauce. The scallops were tender and Luca’s accompanying sauce added a wonderful dimension.
My main course choice, Rack of lamb was all and more than I expected. Two triple thick cut, succulent chops, sautéed potatoes and garden fresh asparagus with a juniper and redcurrant chutney. The lamb was cooked, as ordered, perfectly and I particularly appreciated the creativity in the unctuous chutney which balanced well with the flavour of the meat. Staying very much with the French theme my partner chose a Provencale Aioli. This Mediterranean staple comprises two freshly grilled flaky fillets of Trevally fish, not unlike Snowfish, and a heavily garlic infused cream sauce. Courgette, endive and the all important boiled potatoes saw that the traditional recipe was reproduced well here and replacing the usual Sole with the Trevally makes a worthy alternative.
We were delighted to discover two new Australian wines from the Renmano vineyard. The Cabernet Sauvignon was a fine red with a full flavoured Oak and redcurrent body which was just right to go with the lamb, whilst the Chardonnay was crisp and fresh with a citrus finish.
Romain has evidently shared with his staff some good advice and guidance, as they could not be more helpful and attentive possessing a complete knowledge of everything on the menu should you have a question. What was notable was the sense of cohesion in the team, from Lucas in the kitchen to the wait staff was slick and precise.
After a suitable pause, we chose the Profiteroles for two. The homemade choux pastry was light and yielding and the equally homemade ice cream delicately flavoured with vanilla. I don’t believe I have ever come across a chocolate sauce topping as luxuriant and rich with a mirror finish as this one. The only problem with profiteroles for two is the fastest spoon syndrome, of which, I am guilty as charged and hang my head in shame. Espressos and a vintage Pear William digestif rounded off a fabulous dining experience.
For a restaurant that has been open barely six weeks Seventy Fahrenheit has quickly put down roots in offering honest, well prepared food. Add into the mix a young inspired chef and the results speak for themselves, whichever style of cuisine you choose from the menu, one thing remains constant, passion. Bon Appetit.