Friday, January 22, 2010

Opus Italian Ristorante & Wine Bar

We were celebrating a belated birthday and we went to Opus Italian Ristorante. Yes, another Italian restaurant in Bangkok. And yes, when we were at Opus, there were many people. I have always think when a new Italian restaurant open; that it will not work out because there are so many in town. And as usual, I am proven wrong.

I heard Opus was opened by ex-colleagues of the very famous Italian restaurant Zannoti's. The restaurant has a dark & moody ambiance, dark leather furniture and dark wood floors. Yet, it was cosy. The tables are spread out nicely so that you can gossip without anyone hearing.

We started with plate of selected cold cuts to share. The portion was perfect for us (three people) and the meats were very tasty.

The first wine we drank was La Grola from Allegrini 2004. A very dense rich hue colour. There is a lot of fruit here, with a roasted character. This is followed by lovely taste on the palate; there is dense flavour, intensity and yet also freshness. A very appealing, vintage and also a good value for money.

The first dish was grilled beef Tagliata. The beef was cooked perfectly, still red & bloody. The beef was tender and juicy. A simple dish with simple side dishes; but all together it was a very nice combination.

The second dish was Osso Bucco. The osso bucco was amazingly tender and delicious. The side dish of rissoto was sparce but done well.

The third dish was grilled lamb chops. Three very nicely grilled lamb chops; they were tender and tasty. Warning; I would not receommend this dish to anyone who is very hungry. As you can see the portions tend to be on the smallish side. A good place to eat if you are on a diet.

The second wine we drank was an Amarone by Allegrini 1996. A very difficult vintage to find. One of the best Italian wines around. The 1996 was still amazingly delicious, deep rich cherries on the nose and plenty of alcohol. The wine is beginning to show some age around the edges. Still drinking nicely with gripping tannins and spices on the palate but we noticed that as the evening passed on, the wine was on its way down. The 96 had to be drunk now.

For dessert we shared a warm chocolate cake. Since the people who I dinned with do not like dessert. However; I did convince them that we should share something since it was a birthday dinner. The cake was warm & soft outside; once you open it hot chocolate oozes out. Baked very nicely and tasted very good. This was the only time; I appreciated the small portion.

The restaurant/ wine bar has a huge wine cave. There are over 400 labels to choose from. The owner took us inside to take a look at all the wines.

Overall, I am sure Opus will do very well as the new Italian restaurant in town (well by now its not new anymore; its just new for me since I just tried it). The decor & ambiance is nice. The service is not bad. The food is very good, typical Italian restaurant in Bangkok prices. The only thing I can complain about is the small portions.

64 Pan Rd., Soi Wat Khaek, Bangkok


Dee said...

after reading your write-up, i would like to visit it when i m in bangkok next week. may i know how it costs per person for the food you ordered?

thanks for the great and concise write-up! :-)

JOHN said...

I was there earlier tonight. Overall, a fine dinner and my friends, Zanotti regulars, were all very happy.

I thought the service was terrible. Slow and out of control, but not unpleasant in any way. The owner and chef were around and talking to customers. They seemed to care. It was pretty full so, I should cut them a bit of slack.

I think salads were around 2-250 Baht. Pastas 3-400. The steaks were 7-800 and the second of the two beef dishes was the better by far. We paid around 1,400 per head all in for five people, but had drinks. This doesn't include corkage for a few bottles of wine.

This seemed to me to be a nice new entry into the Bangkok high end Italian segment. Like a refreshed Zanotti. Food pretty much the same level and style - much menu overlap.

Fix the service and this could take a lot of Zanotti's customers. Again, it was completely full - maybe 2/3 expat types and 1/3 Thai. A lot of customers looked Italian, for what that's worth.

I should also note that I an expat spoiled by the high quality of Bangkok Italian, so my expectations may be a bit high. I never loved Zanotti as much as those around me.

About the quality of food, I tried several of the dishes and all were solid.

I couldn't tell on one visit how to rank it versus Zanotti's. Would say about the same.

I prefer the ambiance here to Zanotti, which is a bit more stuffy. But I do like Zanotti's wine bar Vino, and would still pick that for less formal meal.

I would give Opus a 4 out of 5, but think they could get to 4.5 with some work, particularly on the service. Zanotti, for me, 4.25.