About Eatery’s food and wine menu takes dishes and drinks back to basics
The drink and dine spot About Eatery makes no excuses for its natural appeal and herein lies its beauty. It is the restaurant’s unpretentious attitude—glimpsing out from Ocean Tower II’s ground floor—and refusal to follow the smooth sophistication of wannabe on-trend eateries, that makes Bangkok’s first natural wine bar and restaurant so utterly unique and appealing.
For owner Giulio Saverino, the concept of creating a wine menu with an etiquette card design came from his desire to let consumers know what they are drinking, and to educate them on wines from small producers. His natural, organic, and biodynamic wine menu details the sugar and sulphite levels, as well as the filtering and fermentation of each wine (each produced using a variety of chemical- and additive-free ingredients, homeopathic farming, and age-old winemaking techniques).
Tuscan Chef Edoardo Bonavolta, is the perfect match, bringing the intrinsic beauty of real ingredients to the table, and creating some truly personal dishes that fit the ethos of the bistro. The chef currently runs his own natural food production and delivery company, Barefood Bangkok, but it was a raw food workshop in Bangkok in 2012 that was his first real introduction to the whole concept. Later, in 2015, he travelled to the USA to take a full course in raw food at the Living Light Culinary Institute.
“It changed my life and inspired me to create some of the dishes we serve here,” he says. “There is a shift away from fine dining towards real sustainability in terms of getting the most out of ingredients. This is about the real value of rustic cuisine compared to complicated foods. There is less curiosity in molecular cooking techniques and more interest in real dishes created from a more organic approach can offer.”
In a culinary context, the words “raw” and the concept of “natural” wine and cuisine may not sound exciting, but the excitement of About Eatery as a must-go-to restaurant has been buzzing since it first opened a year ago; fast-becoming a firm foodie favourite. The organic kale salad with asparagus, orange, homemade cashew nut cheese, pine nuts, and dried figs is so good that it is enough to bring diners back just to share a bowl. The same goes for the seared, wild-caught tuna with black-eyed beans and chickpeas—wonderfully tasty! The grilled Iberico pork served on a Basque-style bed of sautéed tomatoes and peppers is proof that at the heart of the menu’s back-to-basics cooking is real depth of flavor. Meanwhile, the salty-sweet taste of spelt wholegrain pappardelle served with duck ragout is a rich pasta treat too.
“Its general character may stay but it also changes,” he goes on to say. “We embrace that difference, serving wine that flows from the soul of traditional, organic, and natural winemaking vineyards. Have you ever wondered what your wine is made from, beyond grapes, and why so many wines taste the same every season?”
Wines are intrinsically what About Eatery is all about, and the biodynamic, Kiwi Chardonnay, Crazy By Nature is a light, steel-fermented smoothie. Chilean Jamon Jamon 2015, a cement-fermented natural orange wine made from white grapes with the skins left on, has an almost spirit undertone, delivering all the refreshment of a white with the boldness of a red. By contrast the 2014 Semplicemente Vino Bellotti Rosso is a natural, oak-fermented wine that holds its own with a well-rounded bouquet and tannin-free texture. While wine-lovers will enjoy the voyage of natural wine discovery, part of the journey is re-educating the taste buds to enjoy wine that does not taste like wine as you know it.
“There is a growing interest internationally in people knowing what wine they are drinking, beyond the region it is from,” enthuses Giulio. “Modern wines are not made just from grapes, but can contain 50-100 different ingredients. Many of today’s wines are created like a lab experiment to fit in with consumer ideals of what wine should taste like.”
The competition to create a restaurant that really stands out in Bangkok often leads to gimmicky menus designed by trend-led chefs served up with sickly-sweet cocktails created by try-hard mixologists. The result can be a gastronomic overload that leaves diners feeling the after effects of a big blow-out dining and drinking experience.
At About Eatery culinary simplicity is served up with a menu of natural wines and food in a relaxed, European style bar and restaurant that includes outside space, a high sharing table, and open kitchen—all very inviting for a glass of vino and a snack, or a full food and natural wine experience. For the team here it’s ultimately all about passion, a lifestyle and a philosophy to eating and drinking that in the cacophony of Bangkok’s clamour to over-indulge exudes a refreshing purity of vision.
Interview by Nadia Willan