French cuisine is famous all around the globe. Living here is a feast for a foodie like me, and I love cooking with seasonal fresh products. However, every now and then, I just long for Asian food. Spicy and with a completely different use of flavours than French cuisine. So, this is why I’m happy to share my favourite Thai restaurant with you: Le Thaï de Castigno in Assignan.
Land of smiles
Assignan is a charming Southern French village, hidden in the inland of Saint-Chinian and surrounded by vineyards and the Mediterranean vegetation called garrigue. To my surprise, it was this countryside landscape that hid a wonderful Thai restaurant. Le Thaï de Castigno is easy to find once you’re in Assignan though, just follow the signs when arriving in the village. And once you see the red-lit lanterns, you’ll know you’re at the right spot. Being part of the Castigno Château and Village family, Le Thaï de Castigno will make you travel to the land of smiles. Like the rest of the village, the main colours of the restaurant are pink, purple and red. The decoration has subtle Asian influences though; however, it doesn’t feel overdone at all.
Gastronomic street food
There is only one menu with a choice between four (37 euros) or five (49 euros) courses. You just have to be open to exotic surprises and let the cook take you by the hand. She will guide you through the simple gastronomic street food dishes offering well-thought-out, complex flavours. Le Thaï de Castigno even grows its own aromatic herbs! Chéri and I started with an amuse-bouche of crispy pork dumplings, washed down with a very locally brewed beer from Les Brasseurs de Castigno. As a starter, we enjoyed a steamed bao bun filled with pork and apple with a rich Ponzu and Thai pepper sauce.
Next was a tom kha gai soup that seemed to marry all the flavours of Thai cuisine. Cilantro, lime, coconut cream and chili pepper, together with mushrooms, prawns and peanut bits- all were present! We could add the soup to our liking. So, we did, as it was too good, and we finished it to the last drop. The following dish was a delicate Korean beef bulgogi stew with a confit egg yolk and a dash of kimchi. Lots and lots of flavours tickled our taste buds! Of course, all of this goodness was accompanied by a red wine from Château de Castigno. The last course fitted in perfectly as well: a mango sorbet in coconut cream and a finishing touch of pineapple bits, and a passion fruit coulis. Not too much, not too little, just the perfect sweet ending to a beautiful dinner. Nom, nom, I could eat here every week…