Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bangkok - Enoteca Italiana

Bangkok's culinary haven status extends beyond Thai food, and it is in this bustling city where I have had some of my best Italian meals in the region.  For some reason, and there is probably a good one, the kitchens there can really churn out some world class renditions of Italian goodness.

The restaurant is not a big one but it is set in a really lovely garden with floor to ceiling glass so the feel to it is dramatically different if you have lunch or dinner, and add to that the permutations of dry or wet weather, sunny or overcast.  And because it is tucked well away in a soi (Thai for lane) of a soi, it may not be easy for the visitor to find so make sure you have a good driver, as we did.

Amuse Bouche
The menu isn't big and there are specials but don't expect to have a lot of variety.  They have some Italian staples but the menu is otherwise pretty innovative in turning some old favorites into modern eats.  The amuse bouche certainly kicked us off very well.  The dollop of chicken liver mousse sitting atop a polenta bed was given a real kick by a gelatinous balsamic vinegar blob, which packed a wow.

Black ink cappuccino
There was nothing cappuccino like about this one and I was happier for it.  It was in fact more like a Latte, if one were to continue in coffee speak, and a very good one at that.  Rich and creamy given more substance by pureed potato, packed with lots of umami by squirts of black ink from the squid, then given a slight chew by little chunks of squid, allowing you to savor the concoction for that much longer.  Our server was a little judgmental of me though, much to the laughter of the table .  He made me succumbed to a half-portion on account of what I had ordered and my size.  I hate to admit he was right.  The result 3 weeks later is a pining rather than a love affair that was good while it lasted.  I do want to go back...

Has to be one of the best Burattas I've had in my entire life.  Full of texture but without detracting from the creaminess.  And those tomatoes.. wow, those tomatoes.  So sweet that it could be a mistaken identity - cherries?  strawberries?  Hmm...  highlighted by flavored oils and then given a complete re-take by the anchovies on the other end.  Just so much going on in the palate but in a good way.  Brings new meaning to working up an appetite.  Definitely some work out.

Lamb raviolis
After a good workout, you just want to sit back and be pampered.  This very simple presentation of 6 thin but al dente ravioli pockets filled with shreds of lamb that had been braised for a while garnished with the gravy it had been cooked in were just that.  Simple goodness.  Fuss free and likely to be given a stamp of approval by any Italian grandmother.

Chocolate ice
After a week of good eating, and almost giving up (hard to believe), I still wanted to end on a sweet high.  I spied this on the menu and announced that anything with ice can't be all that rich.  I was half right.  This has got to be some of the best chocolate I've had in a while and it is RICH.  But on top of a bed of crushed ice, this was easily downed and every spoonful was a little crunching with a sweet end.

Petit fours
There were definitely some oohs and ahs going on at our table and even our 2 vegetarian friends were converts by the end of the night.  Perhaps the only dish that didn't seem to work was the monkfish, which J ordered.  A spoonful I tried confirmed the verdict but aside from that slip up, all else was wonderful and just a great way to end a the work week.

39 Sukumwit soi 27
North Klong Toey
Tel: +66-2-22584386