The backstreets of Sathorn are a hotbed of wellkept dining secrets and although Il Bolognese is too well known, too much of a local favourite to fit into that category, it still warrants closer inspection. It is essentially a classy neighbourhood Italian, casual enough for a quiet lunch but with enough tricks for special occasions.
A covered patio allows for outdoor dining, but it’s the low-lit interior that is most inviting; a classic trattoria layout, rustically furnished with dark wood with a charcuterie and wood-fired pizza oven in one corner.
The approach to food is straightforward: top-quality produce, the majority of it imported, expertly prepared with an emphasis on bold flavours. For example, the polpettine (B290) are miniature beef meatballs baked with spinach and Parmesan, topped with a lip-smacking tomato sauce. These are quintessentially Italian flavours – the skill is in allowing them to speak for themselves rather than losing them in a maze of complexity.
Similarly, the caprese burrata (B420) presents burrata cheese on a bed of roasted tomato, olives and pesto. As an entree, it is a perfect complement to the richness and sauciness of the polpettine, the velvety texture of the burrata shot through with a zingy aftertaste.
The main dishes hold this traditional line but with some signature elements. The risotto alla Milanese (B550) takes a saffron risotto and elevates it with a homemade bone marrow sauce that adds a rich meatiness. Equally, the tortelloni zucca e parma (B490) showcases delicious homemade pasta filled with roast pumpkin and ricotta cheese offset with rashers of Parma ham.
The debate on where to find the ‘best pizza in Bangkok’ is unlikely to be resolved any time soon but Il Bolognese makes a powerful case. Connoisseurs will appreciate the artisanal dough, slow-matured for 72 hours. The result is a crust that is “thick on the edges but thin inside”.
The Ndula (B480) takes its name from the spicy sausage imported from southern Italy, and is also topped with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, red onion, semidried tomato and oregano. The Diabla (B480) adds a generous dose of chilli and spicy salami to for extra bite. It’s a uniquely moreish pizza – cheesy without being overwhelming, satisfying without being too heavy.
Bangkok may be a long way from Bologna but, thanks to this little gem, geography is no reason to forego delicious Italian food.
South Sathon Rd 139/3 Soi 7 | 0 2286 8805
ilbolognesebangkok.com | 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-11pm