For someone who bases their worldviews on the fantastical, it was hard for us not to think of Pepé Le Pew as we dined at Le Petit Zinc, the newest French bistro trying to make a splash on the restaurant graveyard of Sukhumvit Soi 23. This quirky little restaurant has an art nouveau kind of feel to it, with a faux stained glass second floor that juts over much of the main seating area. This place is too cute. C’est la vie.
A quick glance around the room and we notice there are three very intense Frenchmen (big surprise) holding a conversation in the corner, a elegantly dressed lady sipping tea and an suave International businessman man who was spending money like a rich white girl. Oh wait, that’s us! The point is that Le Petit Zinc is aiming to become the favorite local establishment on soi 23, much like the more informal Cafe Tartine has done on Ruam Rudi. There are several framed Art Nouveau posters that give this place a nice feel, although the music leaves a little to be desired as we are 87% confident that we were sipping wine to the Bourne Identity soundtrack throughout our evening. As Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris proved, there will always be an audience for rose-tinted nostalgia of better days, but Le Petit Zinc will have to offer a pleasant experience and charming food if it wants to survive with so much competition in Bangkok. Le Petit Zinc certainly passed the ‘pleasant experience’ test in our book, but what about the food?
Hot crusty bread with delicious salty butter comes out before the meal. The salmon and seabass tartare (190 baht) had an Asian zing to it thanks to ginger, while the camembert and Rochambeau cheese plate came with a tasty mustard dressing for the salad. Unfortunately the sautéed salmon steak (390 baht) was served somewhat cold, as though the staff had taken it out of the freezer in the morning, put it in the fridge, and seared it to avoid overcooking. While we appreciate there’s nothing worse than overcooked fish, let’s hope they sort out how to thaw it in the future.
There’s plenty of saucisson and French wine to go around. A carafe of wine is 625 baht, and set lunches run 450 baht++. The service is very fast and friendly so you don’t have to worry about a two-hour extravaganza if you’re going back to work.
Le Petit Zinc is a welcome addition to Bangkok’s bistro eateries and with a few minor changes (different music and better prepared salmon streak) it will surely reach its goal of being the neighborhood favorite.
Le Petit Zinc
Location: 110/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23, turn right at the first soi, at Giusto’s, and walk about 100 meters and it’s on the right.
Mass transit: BTS Asok or MRT Sukhumvit
Hours: 11am-midnight Tuesday to Sunday, closed Monday