Many dream of opening their own restaurant, but few like Thomas and Muriel Dazard are brave enough to give it a go. Words by Mark Bibby Jackson. Photos by Nick McGrath.
For most, getting married is a life-changing experience, but for Thomas and Muriel Dazard it was also career-changing.
The couple, who now run Le Petit Zinc Restaurant, decided to take a year’s honeymoon sabbatical from their jobs in Paris, where Thomas worked in financial auditing and Muriel in marketing.
“We wanted to do something completely different to change our life,” explains Thomas.
While in Bangkok, they noted that French restaurants tended to be very expensive, serving only fine food. The couple detected a gap in the market to provide “traditional French food at a reasonable price.”
After a brief spell back in France, the Dazards returned to Bangkok with their backpacks in early 2011 and opened Le Petit Zinc six months later.
The restaurant has the casual air of a French bistro, with stylish decorations reflecting the art nouveau period of the 1920s. It was a period when ‘zinc’ was commonly used as a slang term for a bar, after the material from which they were made, according to Thomas.
The menu is equally simple with much of the ingredients sourced locally, though cooked in a French style. Until recently Thomas did all the cooking himself. When the couple failed to find a reliable chef at the right price, he decided to give it a go.
“I really enjoy the speed and the pressure,” he says. Now a couple of Thai chefs are in the kitchen, although Thomas still develops his own recipes.
The half-cooked tuna with sautéed capsicums, tomatoes and bacon (B510) is one such example. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the bacon provides a smokey flavour that compliments rather than overwhelms the fresh tuna.
Another signature dish is the rolled duck breast stuffed with foie gras and served with mashed potato (B690). Despite its thick cut, the duck is succulent and suffused with the flavour of the foie gras.
Judging from our tasting there is no danger of the Dazards returning to their previous office-bound existences. “We try to live from something we really love,” says Thomas. “It’s something passionate and exciting.”
Le Petit Zinc, 110/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23,
Tel: 02 259 3033,
Open every day 11.30 to 3pm, 6pm to midnight, last order 2pm and 10pm
Find Le Petit Zinc on AsiaLIFE