Bangkok Post reviews
Kitche ain't no kitsch
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: September 28, 2012 at 8:27 am
Your sleek Italian-fusion fix with soul
LEFT: Grilled white snapper with barley risotto, mushrooms and veggie stack.
RIGHT: A rustic charm with sophistication sunny-side-up.
We all know Thong Lor is for show, where getting spotted and looking flashy is on the main agenda _ for a certain tribe of Bangkok dwellers anyway. For something less demanding on the wallet, less showy and with a little more soul, but offering the very same quality, opt for this nook in Chatuchak instead.
Housed within the up-and-coming outdoor mall JJ Green on Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, Kitche Cafe and Bar is one to think about for homey but slick Italian eats. With its warehouse-like interior and high ceiling, it will somewhat remind you of Greyhound Cafe, but minus the industrial feel and with the intimacy that is non-existent even in non-franchise restaurants these days, thanks to the massive brick wall and painted terra cotta tiles.
The interior is a good cross between rustic with traces of a metropolitan air. The setting doesn't stray far from the earthen tones, with olive green sofas, wooden tables and dried lavender but the highlight is in the floor-to-ceiling windows. It makes the place feel even more spacious, albeit having only around 10 tables in total. It goes well with the concept of a "green" mall and is no doubt a relaxing place to hang out.
Baked aubergines in fresh tomato sauce and bacon.
At Kitche, you'll really get a cozy and folksy feel and their Italian-fusion dishes all shine on being home-cooked and home-made.
The first to arrive was pumpkin and feta salad in lime dressing (140 baht). The plate's colour palette packs a punch, and so does the taste. Those unfamiliar with feta cheese, don't stuff the whole cube into your mouth unless you like overpowering bursts of sour cream. It's strong, but the diced pumpkin evens it out well and the two make a great combo. The home-made lime dressing is also a fresh and new alternative to the usual salad dressing staples you would get elsewhere.
The chosen starter was baked aubergines in fresh tomato sauce and bacon (130 baht). You can have the guilty pleasure of getting your cheesy fix as the eggplant rolls have a generous dose of cheese both inside and on top of the veggie. It's like your spring rolls have disguised themselves with an eggplant layer and doused themselves with a thick tomato sauce. Baked to a brown tint, you can barely smell the green whiff of the eggplant and it's also healthier for you anyways.
The pasta dish Rigate with potatoes, dried chilli, bacon and olive oil (160 baht) is satisfying and overcooked in a good way. If you happen to be the crowd that likes their pasta slightly brown with crunchy bits (like myself), pick this. It's also spicy but doesn't go full throttle Thai level and the bite-sized diced potatoes add oomph.
Rigate with potatoes, dried chilli, bacon and olive oil.
The main course was grilled white snapper with barley risotto, mushrooms and veggie stack (210 baht). Again with this cooked-until-brown business (I am jumping with glee), the fish is grilled until almost crispy. The stand-out of this dish however, is the sauce and the barley risotto. The sauce which tasted buttery, garlicy and capery, is probably one of their best secrets. The risotto was also not gooey or clumpy and had a memorable, light buttery undertone.
For dessert, panna cotta with strawberry sauce (120 baht) was chosen. It looks all cute and round, and tastes just as cute as it looks. With just the right amount of sweetness to avoid becoming sickly, nor overdosed with rum, the panna cotta tastes pleasantly creamy with the home-made strawberry sauce.
The cocktails here are hardcore too, with the fabulously titled "Somchai" (140 baht), standing above others. After all, it is named after the (literally hard-hitting) rock artist Somchai Kemglud, and is mainly Sangsom-based.
Service was a tad slow, but if you're in no hurry, it's no big deal. The torture isn't in the wait anyways, it's in having to bear all those tummy-tickling aromas that float by every time something is cooked and having to push away the temptation of ordering everything you smell from the open kitchen.
The catch that makes this worthwhile is in the fact it's sleek enough to feel chic, but still with a warmth and ambience that makes it homey and comfortable. Most importantly, your wallet won't break a sweat. Kitche is like that hipster pal _ the cool cat that's got the goods and everyone wants to hang out with because she's not pretentious.