Royal Pop-Up at Tempo Dulu

15400356_1281721841885575_473972061319488583_nchef-sLucky me – I’m invited to an eight-course Royal Thai dinner designed and prepared by Chef Goy Siwaporn, left, who hides a prodigious talent in her tiny frame. Best of all, the sparkling eight-course dinner is held at The Danforth Inn’s deeply romantic restaurant, Tempo Dulu. I put on my princess shoes and summon Uber.

Photos: Liz Caron  / Video: Diane Hudson

15337448_1281721855218907_877399195016595719_nThe evening begins with dazzling cocktail reception under the auspices of master-mixologist Trevin Hutchins. We enjoy delicate but potent lychee cocktails, blushing pink and infused with with rhubarb. The inn’s welcome-signature of bubbly Prosecco is also served. Finger food is refined, with trays of sweet melon, salty dried fish flakes and mint. Rich and savory egg-nests with root vegetables are followed by cucumber cups of briny tuna tartare and Thai herbs. Small bites and big flavors rule at Tempo Dulu.15355841_1281721885218904_4096466205741590600_nWe’re seated, family-style, in three dining rooms. The staff is attentive and smiling as each guest is greeted with warm towels and an evening menu. Amuse bouche arrive in contemporary glassware, beautiful, setting the mood. Details are dazzling and as always, the service is almost clairvoyant — magic.

Host and husband of the chef, Florian Gypser

Host and husband of chef, Florian Gypser

The Danforth has been updated and modernized, its elegant rooms jazzed with modern furnishings and contemporary art, much of it with an Asian theme. The atmosphere is intimate and upscale with sophisticated lighting. Oversized chandeliers cast a warm glow. The green dome in the lounge is alive, made of moss that is occasionally misted. Always expect the unexpected at The Danforth.10570396_10156271075830062_3696025961673648359_nOur culinary journey continues with garlic chicken served in a lettuce cup, fresh and lively, topped with green pepper and lemon. A delicate spring roll holds curried pork and tomatoes, piquant and spicy. Salmon and seasonal vegetables with Thai garlic sauce gradually intensify the progression of flavors, which the sommelier tames with a crisp grenache blanc. Perfect.15390957_1281723225218770_174430860957127419_nFull disclosure: I love Tempo Dulu. Here, my imagination is allowed free range. The restaurant’s legendary Indonesian rijsttafel, a medley of dishes from the islands, sends each diner on a world tour enhanced by exotic fragrances and flavors. A reverence for history plus international flair and sophisticated design combine for wonderful ambiance.tugu-tempo-duluService at Tempo Dulu is reliably impeccable and attentive. Cutlery is changed with every course, and napkins are replaced when the diner, or even just his gaze, leaves the table. Service is formal but relaxed, somehow – I don’t know how they do it.An amuse of lettuce with Thai herbs and palm syrup awakens our palates with herbaceous sweetness. Small pieces of steamed flounder in Chinese ginger sauce, a bit disappointing in texture but not in flavor, are served with a Hillinger Secco that balances the dish nicely. The dining rooms hush as we’re served Thai coconut chicken mushroom soup, Tom Kar Gai — unctuous and velvety. I would keep eating it all night; it’s my favorite dish of the evening. Accompanied by surprising wine, Prisoner Blindfold, the combination reminds me that what’s in your glass at Tempo Dulu is often as impressive as what’s on the plate. Next up is another knockout — grilled Maine lobster in Thai seafood sauce, a feast for the senses. Chardonnay Copain Tous Ensembles is crisp and perfect with robust, sweet lobster. A last course of Thai Burmese ginger and fragrant jasmine rice, Gaeng Hang Lae, is smoky and savory, served on a green banana leaf — a perfect last bite. Sadly, I can only manage a few bites of my gorgeous dessert, smoked coconut milk with tapioca and sweet mango. I content myself to sip and savor Gaudet Loupiac, a sweet and warming conclusion to a wine-soaked and soul-satisfying evening.15356481_1281723238552102_3868110953406089196_n

Postscript: Not Quite Done…

9c3acff446af5da8b64524a2032644e2A few days later, my friend Diane and I head back to Tempo Dulu to check a few details. Read: we’re heading back to the bar. If you want a stunning cocktail experience in Portland, Maine, this is it. We belly up and order two Jakarta cocktails, an creative infusion of genius, bourbon and smoke, with boozy alchemy supplied by a gifted mixologist — don’t miss it!  •

jakarta-smoke-better

Tempo Dulu  | 163 Danforth St., Portland, Maine  http://www.tempodulu.restaurant

About Epicurious Travelers

Ms. Margolis-Pineo created EpicuriousTravelers.com to showcase her published work and ongoing food-travel adventures. Based in Portland, Maine, she travels frequently both in her home state and north to Montreal, her favorite North American city. Although she refuses to use the word "foodie," she has an abiding interest in food and wine. Ms. Margolis-Pineo is also a graphic designer, giving her site a decided edge in an oversaturated blogosphere. New contacts, "likes," subscribers and content are welcome!
This entry was posted in East Coast Travel, Food and Wine, Holiday Travel, Lobster, Magic, Maine, Maine Travel, New England Travel, Off-the-beaten-track, The Other Portland, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Royal Pop-Up at Tempo Dulu

  1. Sarah Marsh says:

    Yum. This must have been amazing!

    Tomas and I enjoyed a wonderful episode of “Bong Appetite” last night. Was so cool.

    On Jan 8, 2017 12:41 PM, “EpicuriousTravelers.com” wrote:

    > Epicurious Travelers posted: “Lucky me – I’m invited to an eight-course > Royal Thai dinner designed and prepared by Chef Goy Siwaporn, left, who > hides a prodigious talent in her tiny frame. Best of all, the sparkling > eight-course dinner is held at The Danforth Inn’s deeply romantic res” >

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