DINERS looking for the authentic taste of Italy certainly aren’t spoilt for choice in Bangkok. Close your eyes and stab your finger at a map of the city and chances are you’ll point near an Italian restaurant; there’s literally hundreds of them. Problem is, the majority all ply the same selection of pastas, pizzas, and risottos ‒ tasty, yes, but hardly exciting.
This may sound like the kind of spiel spun by any enthusiastic restaurateur, but Nicola is a man of his word: his slim two page menu, created by two-times Iron Chef champ Stefano Merlo, who has experience working alongside Michelin Star chefs such as Alfredo Russo, features many regional favourites rarely found outside of Italy, each made with imported ingredients and served with the kind of presentation that delights all of the senses.
The Golden onion cooked in salt filled with braised quail (B590), for example, is based on a hearty stew-like dish popular in Piedmont. Given the gourmet treatment here, the dish features a full onion, sliced across the top, packed with tender meat and bursting with flavour. Simple and delicious, it’s a triumph.
Then there’s the Beef Carpaccio (B690), a staple at any decent Italian restaurant, given a unique twist at Enoteca thanks to the addition of a napkin that’s been boiled with lemon juice, cinnamon, star anise, and other herbs. You don’t eat the napkin, of course; you simply wipe your hands with it before picking up the meat and eating it. The scent on your hands adds an earthy complexity to the flavours, taking a well-known dish to whole new levels of taste.
“Many of our dishes require instruction before eating,” says Nicola with a laugh. “The idea is to offer a pleasant surprise with every dish we serve, giving diners a truly memorable experience.”
Another such surprise is the Lamb rack roasted in herbs with violet Italian eggplants (B990++), which is served in two parts: veggies on a plate first, followed by lamb in a hot-pot over toasted rosemary. Expect rich, delicious flavours with every bite.
Surprises aren’t only limited to the a la carte menu, either. Enoteca also offers set degustation menus, which feature new dishes every week, ranging from B1,500++ to B2,800++. The restaurant also boasts one of the most extensive selections of Italian wines in Bangkok ‒ over 400 bottles, including 29 Barolo reds.
Set within a wonderfully renovated house fronted by a well-maintained lawn, Enoteca Italiana is a secret garden of sorts. Seating just 28, it features four floor-to-ceiling arched windows, exposed brickwork, a polished wooden floor, and mahogany tables topped with crisp white tablecloths ‒ think fine dining with a cozy atmosphere, and cracking service too.
39 Sukhumvit Soi 27, North Klong Toey (between Asok and Phrom Pong BTS stations) Tel: 02 258 4386 www.enotecabangkok.com