5 Star Italian dining in Bangkok!
It never occurred to me for a moment that I would be eating Italian in Bangkok. Not that I have a problem with Italian food – I love it – just never thought the opportunity would arise here.
I had received a tip from a fellow foodie mate prior to heading over to Bangkok, so the name Enoteca was firmly imprinted in my brain.
During the first day of touring, we hung out a bit with Dan (the Spirit House chef) and his wife Bec, who had also joined him on our trip. Towards the end of our official part of the day, following a visit to the house of a local family who spins the gorgeous silk, we started to cast our mind to the evening.
We were ok to keep going and it seemed the feeling was mutual from Dan, Bec and Acland (tour leader). When the name Enoteca was raised, I could barely contain my excitement. It was quickly agreed that the five of us would dine there that evening.
So where is it?
Situated in Soi 27, it was a little tricky to get to. It wasn’t too far off the extremely busy Sukhumvit Rd, but it was tucked deep inside the back streets so it felt a little like we were walking into the middle of nowhere.
Acland had been before so this wasn’t an issue for us, but I would suggest getting a taxi there if you aren’t familiar with the area. And, make sure your taxi driver knows the area too!
Hidden behind a nondescript fence covered in beautiful purple bougainvillaea, was a house with the restaurant attached. Small, family owned and operated, cosy and intimate, this was about to be one of the best fine dining experiences we’d ever had.
Nicola, the owner’s son and a friend of Acland, was overwhelmingly hospitable and attentive, and when it was suggested we do the six course degustation, there wasn’t much need for discussion. The following hours were filled with some of the most amazing italian inspired food, and food theatre, that I have ever witnessed.
Great food, flowing beers, (there is also an amazing wine cellar) and great company, I think I will just let the food do the talking from here. I think the quote of the evening was Dan stating that he would “cancel his return flight just so that he could eat here again”
One hell of a recommendation in my book, given Dan’s vocation as a chef !
The theatre that I referred to earlier started straight away with the arrival of our Amuse Bouche. A piece of wood was brought to the table, smoking, and offering up delicious aromas as it made it’s way to our table, tempting the other diners who were caught in it’s path. Fresh, raw prawns and beef, we cooked these morsels to our liking.
The chatter about the food (how it was cooked, the presentation, the ingredients) had started and didn’t end until we had consumed our final bite hours later. I sat absorbed in the conversation between a restaurant owner and a chef, also delighting in their experiences as well.
Next came the Beef Carpaccio. This is not something I would normally be drawn to on any menu, but once again with the combinations of flavours found in all of this food, I would almost defy anyone not to eat it.
As Nicola placed these items in front of us, he explained that there was something special with our new napkins. They had been infused with cinnamon, star anise and other herbs, and our role was to rub them over our hands and then pick up the beef, thereby imparting a delicate flavour all over it. The addition of a wonderful sauce and thin slices of truffle completed the dish. We also discovered the beef was from Australia (no surprises why!)
A pasta bowl came next but this was no ordinary pasta. Pasta when eaten at an Italian restaurant usually takes on ethereal qualities by pure virtue of the kitchen it emanated from, but this bowl of goodness hit the highest of notes.
The pasta, cooked perfectly al dente, had been cooked in tomato water, but took none of the colouring of the tomato, so the first mouthful of pasta was an incredible burst of flavour, and a great surprise. The tomato flavour was so intense! Hiding in the pasta was the wonderful inclusion of fresh burrata cheese. It seemed the more we ate, the more there was still hiding in the never-ending bowl. An amazingly deceptive but gorgeous dish.
And so the food kept coming. This time a wonderfully delicate lamb shoulder that had been cooked for 35 hours.
But wait, there’s more. A roasted whole onion, tender and soft, encasing a divine mix of hearty braised quail. I have never seen anything served like this before, and I could have literally eaten half a dozen of them. Well, that is if I wasn’t five dishes into this degustation 🙂
And last but definitely not least, the petit fours. Just when we thought we could not possibly fit another mouthful in, these artistic, sweet creations arrived. White chocolate discs, with lime zest, swanning themselves high above the chocolate and raspberry mini macarons and soft caramels, a perfect end to a perfect evening.