Inventive Italian fare makes for an offer you can’t refuse
The well-trodden path of “affordable Italian” is not recommended for aspiring restaurateurs, especially in Bangkok. But the folks at La Casa Nostra believe they’ve cooked up something different, which is why they went with the gimmicky name.
The eatery’s name is a play on words of the euphemism for the Italian mafia, but the owners want to create a cozy atmosphere in a house where one can get an offer they can’t refuse. By that they mean in addition to the pedigree of the co-founder, Alessandro Frau of Phuket’s lauded Acqua, and the head chef Nino Scognamillo, who came from Jamie Oliver’s Italian in London, the restaurant joined with importer Global Vineyards to provide rare wines with a B500 flat markup from their prices, regardless of the original price of the bottle. There is, however, a strict policy forbidding corkage, so no bringing your own bottles.
The courtyard has a pétanque pitch (think lawn bowling or Italian bocce) for those who want to work up an appetite, along with a wine room and al fresco dining. Indoors it is all dark grays and wood, with an intimate vibe provided by dim lighting and candles.
Alessandro is from Sardinia, but admitted he only recently started experimenting with different dishes from the region. One fine example is grilled Sardinian pecorino cheese with eucalyptus honey and fresh figs (B190). As a harder cheese, pecorino is not usually cooked in local restaurants, but this course provided a salivating mix of salty, sweet and tart.
Next up was Fish fingers with tartar sauce (B180). While many of the ingredients are imported, the chef is not immune to using local produce as here with a breaded and lightly fried fillet. Normally the province of fast food chains, this dish, as well as anchovies presented in a tin, define the unpretentious nature of the kitchen. A wide array of cured meats is on display and it was hard to stop eating the Joselito Iberico ham (B550 for 50g). Sliced paper-thin, the leg of these acorn-fed black pigs has been called the best in the world for its salty, savory taste.
Perhaps the star of the show was the main course, Risotto with salamella mantovana (an Italian sausage), smoked scamorza cheese and wild rocket (B390). The smoked cheese leant a nutty succor to the dish that complemented the hearty sausage and spicy greens.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli— the dessert choice was obvious given the restaurant’s name. The Sicilian cannoli (B290) was surprisingly light given that it’s made from ricotta cheese and fried pastry dough. The meal itself was accompanied by a bottle of 2011 Elvio Cogno Barolo Cascina Nuova from Piedmont (B2,300), a robust and spicy red with a finish that was not overpowering.
by Robin Banks
La Casa Nostra
22, Sathorn Soi 1, Yak 2 (Soi Goethe)
Tel: 02 287 2402
Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight