Mantra’s Executive Chef, Jens Heier, continues to push the culinary envelope and raise the bar of gastronomy in Pattaya by organising epicurean events to rival the best in the world.
The first Mantra Gourmet Festival was held recently featuring his three guest maestro chefs: from Japan, Hirokazu Tomisawa from Yoshimura restaurant, Giorgio Stephanosian from Restaurant Galerie, Monpazier, France and Werner Snoek from Saxon Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg. The week-long festival highlighted the four maestros creating their own signature dishes matched with the finest wines plus afternoon cookery demonstrations and a grand Chaine de Rotisseurs 7-course banquet for the culinary cognoscenti of Pattaya
Mick and I were invited to the Castello Banfi wine dinner with culinary creations from all four chefs and paired wines from the famous Tuscan wine house. A family-owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany, Castello Banfi’s dedication to excellence in the art of winemaking has been recognized the world over.
Capturing honor after prestigious honor, the American-owned estate has been declared “International Winery of the Year” an unprecedented four times at Vin Italy’s International Enological Concourse, which also named Castello Banfi “Italy’s Best Wine Estate” eleven times since 1994.
The next course provided a brilliant twist on an old favourite. This was an inspired corn and tomato consommé created by Chef Werner Snoek. The consommé was poured at the table (unusually from a teapot!) drenching a small “light as air” sweetcorn soufflé with the glossy, clear tomato essence.
A wonderful dish. If all this wasn’t enough the next course of risotto with green asparagus and Maine lobster surpassed all our expectations. The rice was soft, nutty and delicious, soused with the luxury of an intense lobster stock. In fact, we personally thanked Chef Giogio Stephanosian for this truly polished dish. An intense Sangiovese (Centine) wine married perfectly and the course was indeed impressive.
Veal escalope with goose liver cream and a black truffle and shallot confit appeared next.
We are now starting to feel ever so slightly stuffed by this stage but one waft of the mighty ruby red Brunello di Montalcino was enough to spur us on. The reputation of this wine precedes it and the description of a “fruit forward and racy wine” is spot on.
Mantra really is a world-class gourmet destination and one that comes highly recommended. Seven regional specific kitchens offer Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean (including pizzas), the grill and lava stone area plus the huge fish tanks.
The ambiance is chic trendy and dynamic. It can be relaxed and cool in the main dining area, private and intimate snuggled into one of the romantic coves on the upper balcony or an evening of candlelit enjoyment on the al fresco terrace. Seclusion can be obtained in one of the private rooms in the Lost Gallery or a reservation made for the long and luxurious Sultan’s Table.
Mantra hits the spot in so many ways. It is a popular stylish venue offering a wealth of cuisines, to suit all pockets, served in a beautifully chic architectural phenomenon. A must visit.
by Mick and Di,
The Food Lovers