Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: October 7, 2011 at 10:17 am
Spasso revives its culinary roots by highlighting authentic Italian cuisine
Chef Loris Pistillo, Spasso’s new head chef.
When Spasso opened its doors in 1992, this Italian restaurant and bar _ the first of its kind in Bangkok _ was considered among the city's most popular eateries. However, over the past 20 years it has matured through urban fads and become better known as a venue for night-time entertainment, thanks to the vibrant live music it features in the evening, rather than a fine dining restaurant.
Yet, to mark its first step into its third decade of operation, Spasso recently decided to highlight its cuisine again.
Now under the culinary direction of Loris Pistillo, a highly experienced Italian chef originally from Milan, Spasso's cuisine now focuses on authentic flavours from various regions of Italy. His menu combines an abundant diversity of Italian ingredients, including Mediterranean seafood, orchard produce from Tuscany and alpine cheeses, with fresh organic vegetables from the Grand Hyatt Erawan's own farm.
The warm and vibrant interior of the two-decade-old Italian eatery.
If you visit the restaurant during lunch hours, it is highly recommended you jump on the value-for-money buffet lunch deal. For 500 baht per person, you can enjoy as much as you want from a mouth-watering line of appetisers, soups, pizzas and desserts. Or pay an extra 150 baht for a choice of main course, which you can choose from a decent selection of pastas, meats and seafood dishes.
On the day we visited Spasso, the antipasti table featured _ approximately 20 items altogether _ smoked duck salad, baked porchetta, grilled vegetables, lentil salad, pickled tuna, tomato mozzarella and shrimp cocktail. Of them, don't miss Spasso's famous home-made cheeses; the pleasing ricotta had a mildly sweet and fruity fragrance, while the fresh cow cheese with a touch of Gorgonzola was equally addictive.
Meanwhile, the dessert bar displayed many sweet options, including panna cotta with raspberry, ricotta tarts, linzer cake, tiramisu, and warm chocolate cake.
To experience the full delight of Chef Loris's culinary dexterity, we also sampled a number of dishes from Spasso's new a la carte menu, which is available for both lunch and dinner.
The duo platter of appetisers presenting burrata cheese with marinated tomato and Parma ham, together with rosemary bruschetta beef carpaccio.
The first to be appreciated was the duo platter of appetisers (550 baht), which presented burrata cheese with marinated tomato and Parma ham, together with rosemary bruschetta beef carpaccio. According to the Milanese chef, it's an order that features delicacies from both the north and south regions of Italy.
Presented on one side of a rectangular plate, the Southern-style fresh mozzarella cheese offered an interesting gummy texture and a mild creamy flavour, which was nicely enhanced by the salty ham, spicy arugula (rocket) and refreshing slice of tomato. While rolls of carpaccio beef bruschetta, stuffed with sauteed mushrooms and placed on small pieces of toast on the other side, presented tasty bites of northern Italy.
Recently, a risotto dish by Spasso won an award at the Eurofood Mediterranean Fair in Bangkok. Thanks to its aesthetically pleasing appearance and palatability, the risotto with pumpkin, duck ragu and glazed shallots (250 baht) was named "Thailand's Best Risotto".
Certainly, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try this award-winning dish. So arriving to our table was a colourful presentation of pumpkin-leavened Italian rice dredged with bright-red cherry tomatoes and dark-brown shallots, encircled by the duck ragu sauce.
Expecting to find a buttery, rich tang from the risotto, I found the creamy rice _ though enjoyable _ a bit overpowered by the sweetness of the pumpkin, which was only heightened by the sweet garnish.
Slow-roasted black pork flank with sauteed mushrooms and chestnuts on a bed of spinach.
For pasta, we were recommended to try the rigatoni al granchio (280 baht) out of the seven choices. It presented home-made tube pasta tossed with crab meat, white wine, rocket, chilli and fresh cherry tomatoes that lended a sweet and tangy zest to the fairly delectable pasta dish.
Our meal was then enlivened by the main meat course. Among the seared lamb chops, braised ox tail and grilled beef tenderloin, we picked the season's special: slow-roasted pork flank (800 baht), which proved praiseworthy.
Prepared with black Iberian pigs from Tuscany _ "Italian Iberico" _ the pork is roasted for several hours before being served with sauteed mushrooms, chestnuts and roasted fingerling potatoes on a bed of spinach. The pork, sliced in decent portions and still with some melting fat intact, yielded a succulent and flavourful experience that was neither stiff nor overly tender.
Our lunch ended traditionally with complimentary shots of Spasso's signature drink: A sinfully strong and sweet chocolate cognac. But should you wish a more substantial finish or if you are a true chocolate fan, then I highly recommend Loris's chocolate dessert.
This devilish dessert featured a platter of decent-sized flourless chocolate cake crowned with chocolate sorbet and accompanied by a shot of chocolate mousse. The cake was smooth in texture and rich in taste and paired perfectly with the light chocolate sorbet.
Spasso restaurant is busy so reservations are recommended.
Award-winning risotto with pumpkin, duck ragu and glazed shallots.