Transporting patrons to a different place and time
While hotels are usually not the first choice for diners looking for an authentic meal in a quiet setting, Don Giovanni, located on the ground floor of the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, hits all the right notes. The restaurant offers Italian classics and a piano player tickles the ivory as one sups.
From big wooden pillars to the villa scenery painted on walls, busts on pedestals, and a large tray of liqueurs, the first impression upon entering Don Giovanni is the attempt to transport the patron to a different place and time. There is even a stained glass window above the door to a private room.
The seared Wagyu Beef Carpaccio (B720), with summer truffle lemon dressing, had some celery leaves that provided balance to the sumptuous, salty meat. The other antipasti was Seared Scallop Wrapped in Parma Ham (B980), topped with sautéed foie gras, asparagus and rocket salad. The giant scallops were so fatty and rich they paired well with the foie gras while the asparagus added some crunch. Helping to wash it down was a glass of 2015 Vesovo Beneventano Falanghina (B340) that had a lovely acidity to cut the heavy dishes.
Usually the complimentary bread is not worth mentioning at restaurants, but Don Giovanni offers roasted garlic cloves and a tangy pesto sauce as toppings that make it irresistible.
Chef Stefano Zaninelli hails from a small town outside Milan, known for growing the Carnaroli and Arborio rices used for risotto, so naturally he takes pride in presenting his Prosecco Risotto with Smoked Scamorza Cheese and Roasted Scallops (B750). This starchy favourite was savoury and hearty, but never too salty.
Next up was homemade Braised Beef Tortellini with Speck (B690), served in a sage butter sauce. The beef was braised for four hours to be tender, while the pasta was al dente—a pleasant contrast in textures, though the saltiness of the speck almost overwhelmed the dish.
The pan-fried Mediterranean Sea Bream (B1,300), crusted with potatoes and served with braised spinach and truffle anchovy sauce, offered a panoply of flavours in one dish. The fish was light and toothsome, the potatoes heavy, and the spinach creamy and buttery. At this point the piano player actually started playing Billy Joel’s Piano Man.
The hits kept coming as the Grilled Australian Lamb Rack (B1,500), served with vegetables in a red wine reduction, helped close out the show. The succulent lamb was peppered and smoky with a beautiful red hue when cooked medium. The meat called for a full-bodied red wine, and the 2015 Marchesi di Barolo Rure Barbera d’Asti (B340) had a suitably robust, long finish.
If you can handle more, I highly recommend the Marsala Sabayon with Amarena Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream (B370) dessert. This concoction of eggs, cherries marinated in orange sauce and wine, and ice cream is both zesty and decadent.
By Robin Banks
Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao
1693 Phahonyothin Rd.
Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
Tel: 02 541 1234, ext. 4169