A friend of mine had been giving good reviews about an Italian restaurant on Sukhumvit. I knew it has been there for a while, but we never had the desire to go. My friend told me that Enoteca got a new chef and he was very good. So we decided to go and try for ourselves. The restaurant is in a sub-soi, so its a bit tricky getting to it. But once you arrive, you arrive at a very nice house with parking in front. The restaurant had a very homey feel to it. I liked that. It was well decorated and the atmosphere was very relaxed.
We were served an amuse bouche while we were reading the menu. It was very good. The first one (from right to left) was minced cod in a parmesan cheese sandwich, tuna balls and parmesan puffs.
Then we were served a basket of fresh bread. Compared to other Italians restaurants that have the nerve to serve day old & hard as a rock bread (I will not name them), this was a nice assortment of fresh bread.
The first dish was squid cappuccino. It was actually fresh squid cut into cubes in its ink and topped with a potato puree. It came in a medium sized glass pitcher. We were given directions on how to eat this dish. You take your spoon and dig to the bottom, scoop up some squid & squid ink and move upwards to also get some potato puree. This was an amazing dish. I have never had it in Bangkok. The squid was plump and not chewy. The combination of the ink and puree was fantastic. As usual, the only down side to eating squid ink is everyone at the table looks grotesque with black teeth and lips. But, I will go through that horror for this dish anytime.
The second dish was selection of Italian cold cuts. I do not know all the names of the assorted meats/ cold cuts. But they were very good. It comes in two sizes. The manager recommended that we take the small one so that we do not eat too much before the main courses.
The third dish was ravioli stuffed with lamb. The ravioli skin was not too thick and cooked very nicely. The lamb was very good as well. The only issue I had was that the portion was too little. At the prices of Italian food in town, I believe we deserve more food. It does not hurt the restaurant to include extra grams of pasta.
The fourth dish was home made fettuccine vongole. This was a great dish. The flavours attacked our taste buds the moment we put the food into our mouths. Since the fettuccine was home made, they were thicker, rounder and tastier. The vongole sauce was amazing, so rich & intense. But again, the portion was too little.
After the main courses, we were still a bit hungry (due to the small portions of pasta). The manager came over to tell us about some of the specials that they had that evening. But, we could not keep our eyes off the cheese and ham counter behind me. So, instead of having another main course, we opted to have the cheese platter instead.
The cheese platter arrived and I was very disappointed with the amount of cheese served. At 690 baht for the cheese platter, I was expecting much more. On top of this disappointment, we watched in horror in how the restaurant owner was cutting the cheese. He was weighing each slice of cheese before putting the cheese on the platter. I have never seen something like that before. It is what I call stingy. The cheeses were weighed to perfection, if the slice of cheese weighed just a gram over, he would actually cut off the over weight. I will never understand this kind of attitude in this restaurant. With restaurant manager's experience in cutting cheese all these years, I am sure he is very capable of eye balling the amount of cheese needed to go on the platter. If this trick of weighing cheese is to save money, it might do the job. But in the end, it also left me with a bad feeling and I will never order he cheese platter again.
We finished the dinner and did not want dessert. However, the manager was kind to offer a complementary iced chocolate dessert. A small glass with crushed ice on the bottom and a chocolate mouse on top. You mix the two together. In the beginning I did enjoy the taste of the dessert, but as the ice was melting, it left a watery taste and texture to the dessert that was not pleasant.
Overall, there were nice and bad things about Enoteca. The food is not bad but the portions are too small. The house & room of the restaurant is nice & comfortable and the staff is pleasant and very good at service. Another negative for me was the prices. It is not only Enoteca but a new phenomena in town, Italian food is getting too expensive. We are starting to pay prices like in Paris or New York to eat in Italian restaurants. I do not understand how or why that is so. Labour is cheaper in Bangkok, overall overhead should be cheaper in Bangkok. I will need to find the answer to this big question.
Enoteca Italiana, 39 Sukhumvit soi 27, 02-258-4386