Ciao Terrazza | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Ciao Terrazza

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Address:48, Chalon Klung Rd., Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500 Thailand

Tel:+6626599000

Service day:Everyday, Service hours: 18:00-23:00

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Official description

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is delighted to announce the re-opening of Ciao Terrazza, which offers rustic Italian fare in a fantastic alfresco setting.

Bringing a touch of Napoli to Bangkok, Ciao Terraza offers a selection of traditional Italian dishes accompanied by spectacular views of the ‘River of Kings’ and of our original Authors’ Wing façade.

Rating

Editorial Reviews

Authentic flavours

Opened from November to February, Ciao Terrazza under the command of Danilo Aiassa offers simple yet astounding fare

Rigatoni with tomato sauce, caciocavallo cheese, guanciale ham, chiodoni mushrooms and stracciatella.

The gastronomic intensity of a food writer is quite often built up by who's in charge of the kitchen.

When I recently learnt that Ciao, the seasonal Italian restaurant of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, had reopened for winter 2016 with Danilo Aiassa as its new chef de cuisine, I couldn't help but quickly pay the al fresco riverfront eatery a dinner visit.

Knowing Aiassa since he first arrived in Thailand in 2009 as the young and ardent Italian head chef of Four Seasons Bangkok's Biscotti, I've seen that for him cooking is very close to his heart.

The amiable chef comes from a three-century-old, cattle-farming family in Piedmont, on the foothills of the Italian Alps. Thus wherever he goes he always brings a unique and heartfelt expertise in Italian agricultural produce, especially of his Piedmontese hometown, including truffles, mushrooms, hazelnuts, cheese, prosciutto and beef.

Aiassa's kitchen principle remains unchanged as he now directs Ciao, the casual trattoria, which opens once a year during the cooler months from November to February. Here the cuisine is simple but not common. It's an unequivocal unification of the chef's profound culinary know-how and aspiration to make diners happy together with top-quality produce that results in exceptional gastronomic joy.

Our dinner began with an awe-inspiring plate of deep-fried Italian artichoke (280 baht per piece), a delicacy that perfectly represents Aiassa's culinary traits.

The edible budding flower, deep-fried until golden brown and lightly dredged with balsamic reduction, exhibited crispy petals that hid a fleshy soft centre without any interfering coarse mouthfeel. It was my first encounter with fried artichoke and the dish proved absolutely unforgettable.

Hand-cut Tuscan ham with red wine-marinated pear, Italian ricotta and focaccia croutons (790 baht) was our salad of choice. Again, it may seem nothing much more advanced than a plate of salad greens topped with prosciutto and fluffy-textured cheese. But taste-wise, it's a dish of which you can't help but wipe the plate clean. Another dish you shouldn't miss is Spanish black mussels with white wine tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and Nduja salami (690 baht). The quality of the sizeable shellfish alone was impeccable. Lending a flavour enhancement to the naturally sweet mussels was a thick and delicious sauce.

The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok's al fresco, seasonal Italian trattoria has now reopened to celebrate the cooler months.

When Aiassa worked at Biscotti, he made truffled focaccia stuffed with mascarpone an all-time favourite. The simple-looking, pizza-like treat (420 baht) is also available at Ciao.

The focaccia dough is baked in wood-fired brick oven until it forms a paper-thin, bubbling layer of crust before being cut horizontally and filled with springy mascarpone cheese. Right before serving, the piping hot treat was sprinkled with Alba white truffle oil, pepper and chives to create an even more irresistible finish.

From a selection of pasta, a plate of home-made ricotta and spinach ravioli with spicy tomatoes and pine nuts (450 baht) was delightful for a tasty rendering of the sizeable Italian dumplings stuffed with ricotta cheese and dredged with poignant sauce.

Rigatoni with tomato sauce, caciocavallo cheese, guanciale ham, chiodoni mushrooms and stracciatella cheese (450 baht) gave me taste-buds ecstasy.

The helping of al-dente tube-shaped pasta, subtle tomato sauce seethed with the crunchy wild Italian mushroom and the duo of Italian soft cheese, was nothing short of mind-blowing. The caciocavallo, a stringy cheese made with cow's milk from southern Italy, mixed perfectly well with the stracciatella, a soft, fresh and white buffalo milk cheese from Apulia.

The pasta dish was given a luxurious mouthfeel by the very thin and delicately fatty streaks of guanciale ham ("guanciale" is Italian for "cheek"). The ham is made from salt-cured pork jowl and providing a great depth of flavour to the dish.

The restaurant's chef de cuisine Danilo Aiassa and his much-treasured foccacia with truffle and mascarpone.

Equally brilliant was saffron risotto with grilled veal tongue (490 baht). Our party of four veteran foodies could hardly stop praising the dish prepared with medium-grained, carnoroli rice (often regarded as "the king of rices") from Lombardi known for its higher starch content and firmer texture. Thus the rice, after being slow-cooked in vegetable stock, yielded creamy consistency and refined aroma. The Australian veal tongue was no less exceptional. The tongue was charcoal-grilled to a pleasantly smoky and burnt whiff, while retaining the succulence of the velvety meat.

For main course, pan-fried John Dory with sautéed broccolini and cauliflower, fresh baby spinach salad and roasted bell pepper cream (750 baht) continued to provide palate contentment. Appearance-wise, it's a modest plate of Australian fish fillet, pan-seared until forming a slight brown crust while the mild-tasting meat still retaining its delicate and succulent quality complemented by simply cooked vegetables and clean-tasting sauce. The other main dish, beef stew with polenta cream and Gorgonzola gratin (690 baht) proved delectable.

Our dinner came to a sweet end with a warm hazelnut cake with strawberry sauce and vanilla ice cream (310 baht) and lemon sorbet with limoncello layered with almond cake (310 baht).

That evening, or on any other dates, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok's quality of service always impresses me. Reservations are highly recommended especially when the weather is nice and breezy.

The saffron risotto with grilled veal tongue.

Spanish black mussels with white wine tomato sauce and Nduja salami.

Above  Hand-cut Tuscan ham with red-wine marinated pear, Italian ricotta and foccacia croutons.

Ciao Terrazza

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok Oriental Avenue, off Charoen Krung Road Call 02-659-9000Open daily 6-10.30pm Park at the hotel's car park Most credit cards accepted

Location

48, Chalon Klung Rd., Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500 Thailand

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