The Diplomat arrived home one evening with the tale of a colleague from a different Embassy who was gushing about a new eatery that we had to try. None of the stereotypical Italian menus of Spag Bol, pizza and bruschetta about this place. No, this was Roman-style food. The place was barely open a few months, the second child of Jarret Wrisley (he of Soul Food Mahanakorn on Thonglorvand) and his business partner head chef Paolo Vitaletti.
A quick trip down the BTS to Asok, a laugh at the tuk-tuk driver who thought it was okay to charge two farang 150Baht for a 200m ride (we agreed a rip-off 100 because we couldn’t be bothered to “lot niit noi, dai mai!”), and we arrived sans Isla at the place where a reservation had been made. The interior was mixture of trattoria, sassy bar, and restaurant. Warmth was the theme, a scattering of interesting pictures and information pieces littered the walls. The Thai staff weren’t too bad at english; Jarret Wrisley himself was on hand to chat pleasantly with us, make some recommendations, purse his lips thoughtfully when we dared suggest different combinations.
Given the menu had mouth watering offerings like:
- cavatelli pasta, lamb shoulder ragu, caramelized,carrot fondue, tarragon
- pappardelle with crab meat ragu, arugula,oven-roasted tomato
- carbonara with dried paccheri pasta, Paolo Parisi’s egg fromTuscany, cured pork cheek, pecorino
- oxtail stew with herb gremolata, fregola,a hand-rolled Sardinian pasta
- mozzarella in carrozza (Grilled cheese the Italian way)with anchovy
- veal tartare, goat cheese cream, grappa marinated pears,wild greens
- chicken broth, house-made Quadrucci pasta,bottarga, parmesan
we were spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, a look on their website had meant we really wanted the seafood stew with white wine and garlic but it had disappeared off the menu for that month. So we settled on these:
Into the mix we threw a shared amuse-bouche of mushrooms marinated in olive oil and dusted it off with a couple of small beers and some Prosecco. We were happily able to have an adult meal out and relax in the micro bubble of another Bangkok non-Thai restuarant.
And that’s about it. No pithy observations, no amusing asides that occurred inside the place. Just a great, relaxing ambiance, a coolness, culinary excellence and a clientele that is packing the place out given its burgeoning reputation. Of course, it’s new so they’ll attract the punters; whether it’s doing so well in a year remains to be seen, but, it’s not (as I said) the usual Italian restaurant. Subtly different, I’d appreciate knowing what a native of Rome thinks about it all. For Bangkok though, the owners are to be applauded. Go try it, you won’t be disappointed.
Is this what diplomacy is all about?