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Evil Penevil

Fraser's On Thrappraya Road In Jomtien

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Fraser's is a popular sports bar and restaurant in the Chateau Dale Complex (above the News Cafe) on Thrappraya Road in Jomtien.

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When I lived in Jomtien a few years ago, I ate at Fraser's on several occasions and always found it offered good if unexciting pub-style food. It was a nice place just to have a drink or watch sports in a non-girlie environment.

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I went back last week a couple of times to try two dishes: Beef Wellington (325 baht):

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and the Friday Wagyu Rib Eye Special at 350 baht:

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Since on both occasions I was there between 4 pm and 7 pm, I had the Happy Hour pint of Tiger at 95 baht.

Bottom line: The wagyu special was value for money and the Beef Wellington was a total waste.

I'll start with the good news. The Friday wagyu rib eye was very tender but somewhat light on beef flavor. It came with a choice of potatoes and a salad or vegetables. I took salad and boiled potatoes, One of my dining companions had it with veggies and mash ...

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The other had veggies and the thick-cut chips, what would be called steak fries or maybe potato wedges in the U.S.

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It wasn't a giant steak, but I'm guessing it was 8 ounces (225 grams).

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We all ordered our steaks medium rare and that's how they were cooked:

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I wasn't bothered about sauce or gravy, but the ladies took what I think was supposed to be Bearnaise sauce. It had a very mild flavor, but they were happy to put it on their vegetables. The vegetables must have been cooked al detente and retained some taste; otherwise, my main companion wouldn't have eaten them.

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My salad was fine, a mixture of coleslaw and lettuce that worked well:

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The ladies split a formidable piece of chocolate cake (95 baht) between them for dessert:

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This review is getting long, so I'll split it into two parts.

Evil

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We were all satisfied with our Friday special wagyu steaks. I doubt the steaks had a marbling score above 1 or 2, but they were nevertheless tender compared with much of the beef that masquerades as steak in Pattaya. Australian wagyu with a marbling score of 4 to 5 corresponds to USDA Prime (the highest U.S. grade), so the steak at Fraser's was roughly equivalent to USDA Choice, which can still be quite tender. 350 baht is a good price in Pattaya for meat of that quality.

The service was fine and food came quickly even though Fraser's had been busy the two occasions I was recently there. One point to note is that the main bar area only has five booths and the chairs at the other tables are both awkward and uncomfortable.

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However, Fraser's also has another dining area in a separate "family room," but I'm not sure how often it's brought into play.

One cool thing about the booths is that they all have individual wall-mounted TV screens.

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Unfortunately, I don't have anything positive to say about the Beef Wellington I had at Fraser's. I had ordered it with considerable trepidation because I doubted it would be possible to offer an adequate Beef Wellington at 325 baht. It's a finicky and time-consuming dish to prepare and its ingredients aren't cheap. My fears proved well-founded.

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On first glance, it didn't look bad. But when I examined it a bit closer and above all, tasted it, I found a lot that was wrong. Basically, it was inedible.

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Beef wellington is beef tenderloin that is covered with duxelles, a paste made from mushrooms and herbs and sometimes foie gras, then wrapped in pastry, usually puff pastry, and baked. Many variations exist and the seared tenderloin is often brushed with Dijon or English mustard for extra flavor. In modern recipes, the coated tenderloin is often wrapped in slices of prosciutto ham rather than foie gras.

This is what Beef Wellington is supposed to look like:

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Fraser's Beef Wellington had been coated with English mustard and liver pate, which gave it a horrible bitter taste. Chunks of mushroom had been pressed into the pastry.

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The outer layer of the pastry had been browned, but the other layers were raw.

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In and of itself, the rather small pieces of tenderloin weren't bad once I scraped off the abominable coating. I'd asked for medium-rare and it came medium, but that was the very least of the problems. I pushed the food around on the plate so I could take the pics, but I didn't eat more than a mouthful and came close to spitting it out. The salad that came with the Beef Wellington was good (the same as with the wagyu steak) and I ate all of it. The mashed potatoes were watery and the only flavor came from a liberal dose of butter.

Since I had plenty of room left after my one-bite main course, I decided to try the apple crumble. That was another mistake. It was 4/5s crumble with a layer of very thin apple slices on the bottom. The topping was sickeningly sweet even for my American tastes. The vanilla sauce was good, though.

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I've had a very mixed experience with Fraser's, but I wouldn't hesitate to eat there again. I have learned an important lesson: when eating in British pub-style restaurants in Pattaya, it's safest to stick to standard dishes. In the future, I'll leave fancy dishes like Beef Wellington to fancy restaurants.

Evil
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