Last Sunday was one of the best weather days of 2022. With the temperature in the usually-scorching Bangkok dropping to 22C, it was a great reason to go out and enjoy a rare April "chill".
And to complement such lovely weather was an awesome gastronomic discovery.
About Eatery is not a new face in the city's restaurant scene.
In fact, the Italian restaurant-cum-wine bar has received rave reviews by local media and is treasured by foodies, especially oenophiles, since opening in 2015.
But it was the first time that my two dining companions and I visited.
The lunch was so outstanding that it made me feel ashamed as to why I had never been to About Eatery before, especially since it's just a stone's throw from my house.
Occupying a large space on the ground floor of an upscale office tower, the restaurant has an impressive welcoming vibe with a rustic barn wood interior behind a glass facade that allows natural lighting and street views.
The best-selling carbonara with tonnarelli pasta and guanciale.
The space is jazzed up by upbeat lounge tunes and features a full bar, a fresh pasta station, a deli corner and an open kitchen half-encircled by a dining counter.
There are also regular tables and sofa booths with white tablecloths as well as bar-height communal tables, which help add a vivacious dynamism to the cosy room and caters to the different preferences of customers.
Attending to the guests is the restaurant's co-owner-cum-manager Giulio Saverino, and his ever-smiling and prompt service staff.
Even at a glance, the place promises a casual gourmet experience without fuss.
Regarding food and beverages, About Eatery is a sustainable-produce-driven establishment. It was the first wine bar in Thailand devoted to organic wines, with more than 200 labels, including biodynamic, hand-crafted orange wine.
Tomato confit and mozzarella bruschetta with bottarga and gratin razor clam with garlic, pecorino and aromatic crumbs.
The kitchen, helmed by Venice-born chef Lorenzo Rosso, focuses on artisan produce, seasonal harvest and wild-caught seafood from around Thailand. Although some key elements, such as pasta flours, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cheeses, are from Italy.
"It's all about good ingredients and uncompromising culinary quality -- no matter if the products are local or imported," Rosso said.
Cheerful and chummy, chef Rosso is as much an inspiration to his Thai crew as he is to guests.
From a folksy conversation across the kitchen counter, we learned his career profile includes executive chef positions at 5-star hotels in Bangkok and Hua Hin before he became a business partner at About Eatery over a year ago.
The cuisine here, according to him, focuses on seasonal seafood and fresh homemade pasta.
Classic tiramisu with mascarpone, savoiardi, espresso and marsala.
The three-page menu features 24 permanent dishes, 18 monthly specials, and eight desserts.
The April selection, which was the focus of our lunch, lists cicchetti (Venetian-style tapas), appetisers, fresh pasta, risotto and gnocchi, plus mains.
The cicchetti, which is to be enjoyed with your hand and not a knife and fork, goes well with the tomato confit and mozzarella bruschetta dusted with salt-cured bottarga roe (300 baht); warm chicken liver, porcini mousse and pecorino cheese on a house-made baguette with grated summer black truffle (290 baht); Parma ham croquette with prosciutto-permeated béchamel centre (250 baht); and gratin razor clam with garlic, sheep milk cheese and aromatic breadcrumbs (290 baht).
Marrying artistry with simplicity, the dishes are cooked with great know-how and proved pleasing to the eyes.
Roasted stuffed squids with nero sauce (490 baht) and baked artichoke heart farcie (590 baht) were the appetisers.
Plump and voluptuous, the squids was so tightly stuffed with a delicious mixture of spinach, pine seeds, raisins and pecorino cheese, that the cephalopod might possibly bounce off your plate. Enhancing the springily soft, lightly-browned seafood was a rich and creamy squid-ink sauce.
It is currently the season for Italian artichoke. Chef Rosso stuffs the flower-head vegetable with pecorino cheese and aromatic crumbs before baking it, so the outer part develops a slight brown crust while the meaty heart is soft and succulent. Complementing the artichoke was a soothing saffron fondue.
Fresh pasta is the highlight here. Prepared according to traditional recipes and techniques, including the use of a 120-year-old bigoli pasta extruder imported from Italy, there are approximately 10 types of fresh pasta offered on the menu each day.
"Specific sauce is best enjoyed with specific pasta," Rosso said. "It's a culinary tradition that has proved wise for centuries."
The restaurant's best-selling carbonara (490 baht) is represented by manually-pressed tonnarelli pasta and its artisanal rough texture made it easy for the sauce to stick. The ingredients of the sauce are egg yolk and pecorino emulsion for the sauce, and guanciale (salt-cured fatty pork cheek) lent the delicious dish a briny meaty finish.
Fresh-made spaghetti, which proved gummy and flexile, is paired with a vongole sauce made with extra virgin olive oil, clam juice, chilli, garlic, parsley and dried grey mullet roe (690 baht). This super delicious dish is an absolute must-have should you plan to visit this month.
I also loved the fresh tomato and rocket risotto with pan-seared red mullet fillet and arugula oil (590 baht). Normally I am not a fan of tomato-based sauces but this was the first time I had it with the risotto. But the dish proved a good balance of flavours and was addictive.
The main course was beef tenderloin steak (1,400 baht) ordered from the regular menu and it proved big enough to share.
Two perfectly-cooked medallions of beef came layered with Parma ham and Parmesan cheese and it was capped with a generous helping of freshly shaved summer black truffle accompanied by mashed potatoes on the side.
Desserts are represented by a selection of famous classics including tiramisu, panna cotta and mille-feuille.
Our choices of the tiramisu made with mascarpone, savoiardi, espresso and marsala (240 baht) and nicely puffed-up chocolate souffle accompanied by vanilla ice cream (350 baht) are proof that Rosso has also conquered the sweets territory.
Wonderfully complementing our lunch was natural orange wine, which is available by the glass.
Fresh tomato and rocket risotto with pan-seared red mullet fillets and arugula oil.
- About Eatery
- Ocean Tower II, ground floor
- Sukhumvit 21 Soi 3
- Call 092-907-2191
- Opens Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am-2.30pm
- and 5.30-10pm.
- Park at Ocean Tower II’s car park
- Most credit cards accepted