When you're next in Luang Prabang, indulge your tastebuds with a dish or several at the new Azerai Bistro.
Azerai is a new luxury hotel at the site of Luang Prabang's first classy hotel, The Phousi. The 100-year old building, built by the French in 1914, has been given a new lease on life by hotelier and founder of the Aman hotel group, Adrian Zecha. This is the first Azerai in Zecha's new hotel chain (next stop Havana apparently).
The hotel and its grounds are beautiful and the Azerai Bistro is just as lovely. It's headed by English chef, Ben Faker, formerly sous chef at 3 hat The Bridge Room in Sydney. If you're not from Australia, I can tell you that these are very good credentials. So you'll know that Azerai takes its food seriously!
The menu incorporates bistro classics with an Asian twist and an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. It brings a new dining standard to Luang Prabang's bustling culinary scene.
The bistro, like the hotel itself, has been designed with great attention and care. The floors, walls and ceilings are made of several types of smooth and polished native woods. There's that sweet scent of wood in the air. The bar upstairs is a cosy nook of the same calibre and apparently does a roaring Friday cocktail night.
We visited for lunch one day and tried to do justice to the small but generous menu.
The real favourite for us, and I suspect anyone who's visited Azerai Bistro, were the desserts. It was impossible to choose between the sweet dishes, so... we just ordered one of each. Merengue, chocolate mousse, Lao dark honey and mandarin parfait.
Not to mention the handmade ice cream. Yes, "handmade"; apparently their ice cream maker had died in the first week so they're been whipping it fresh by hand. Love it.
Do you need more convincing? Hop into Azerai while the going's this good.
Azerai Bistro is open for lunch and dinner. It's at the end of the main street, past the night markets.