CARLOALBERTO Molina (Carlo) is proud of his Italian heritage. And rightly so. Born and raised in the mountainous village of Viggiù, which borders Switzerland in the northwest of Italy, he’s been lucky enough to grow up in area of outstanding natural beauty, where good food made with the finest ingredients is part and parcel of daily life, and passion for cooking, practically instilled at birth.
“Home is my inspiration,” he says, as he polishes a black-and-white photograph of Viggiù, which takes pride of place on Molina’s back wall. “My mum is an amazing cook. And she taught me to love cooking too.”
Carlo’s mum, a self-taught cook with a penchant for boozy risottos, can take credit for several of the dishes offered on Molina’s carefully considered menu. They’re her recipes, after all – ingredient focused favourites like Classic risotto porcini (B340), which Carlo was raised on. And Carlo follows these recipes to a tee.
This means that, while the restaurant has the kind of sleek, modern look found at most new Italian restaurants in Bangkok (think blonde-wood tables, exposed brickwork painted white, a polished concrete floor), Molina’s cuisine keeps things traditional and is homely and hearty and delightfully uncomplicated.
Pasta and bread is homemade, pizzas are created using a delicious dough recipe provided by Carlo’s cousin (who owns a pizzeria in Varese), and the imported Mixed cold cuts and cheeses (B590) are a real treat. Factor in a well-stocked wine room (with bottles ranging from B650 to B5,700), traditional aperitifs and Italian craft beers (such as Birra Roma Ambrata and Birra Roma Bionda. Each priced B240 for 330ml) and you have everything you need to recreate a meal just like you’d find in the north of Italy.
Don’t miss the Deep fried mixed seafood (B280), which features squid, mussels and prawns coated in a deliciously thin and crispy batter; and the New Zealand roasted lamb chop, with balsamic sauce, stewed vegetables and potato wedges (B680).
Other highlights include the Homemade fettuccine seafood (B280), which comes loaded with prawns and mussels in a subtle white wine sauce, and the Molina favourite pizza (topped with Parma ham, blue cheese and fresh rocket. B340).
Rounding out the menu are salads, soups, meat and seafood dishes, vegetarian selections and a short-but-fittingly-sweet selection of three desserts, including one of the best Tiramisus we’ve had in a long time – a boozy and creamy and chocolatey marvel that provides the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
We can’t wait to go back for more!
Molina Italian Wine & Cuisine, 123/46 Hua Thanon, Nongkae, Hua Hin. Open Tues-Fri 5.30pm-12am; Sat-Sun 11am-2pm/5.30pm-12am.
Tel: 089 505 1006 www.facebook.com/Molina.HuaHin