Thong Lor shophouse eatery puts a spell on Bangkok’s ‘pastaphiles’
Bangkok’s passion for pasta has been slowly simmering away for several years, from luxury spaghetti twirled at gourmet Italian restaurants to a variety of Thai-esque soupy carbonaras at mom and pop eateries. La Dotta Pasta Bar & Store hits the perfect spot in-between, making a definitive foodie statement about how delicious it is to fall in love with one of the world’s most favourite foods; and the city’s pasta-lovers simply cannot get enough.
If life is a combination of pasta and magic, as Italian film director Federico Fellini once said, then this Thong Lor shophouse eatery is putting a spell on ‘pastaphiles’. The vibrant coastal-blue décor and small double-level dining space has a breezy vibe whilst being cozy enough to feel special. The upstairs bar serves 5-star style cocktails whilst the high-end service proves that when it comes to Thong Lor, relaxed does not mean forgetting that class, quality, and presentation matter.
An art-exhibit-style glass case showcases the softest looking fresh pasta inspiring forks to be at the ready. Truffle, Sage & Ricotta Cheese Deep-Fried Balls (B190) are four flavoursome bites that taste less indulgent than they sound. Meanwhile, the Fresh Crab Meat ‘Bruschetta’ (B290), accented with cherry tomatoes and served on homemade Italian bread, is a perfect pre-pasta appetizer—drenched, some might say perhaps a little too generously, in olive oil.
Tortelloni 4 Formaggi (B360), features fresh dailymade pasta with artisanal Italian cheeses in 24-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano fondue. The gorgonzola pings as this dish proves that sometimes in life you can never eat enough cheese; a gastro comfort food. From the Specials menu, Wagyu Bolognese (B590) is a luxury version of a classic, pairing 24-hour slow-cooked beef shoulder and tagliatelle. The meat is as soft as can be, although traditionalists may crave more tomatoes to balance out flavour and texture. By contrast, the 4-hour slow-cooked tomato sauce with rigatoni—utilizing an imported, organic dried pasta this time—creates a perfect Amatriciana (B320), with cured pork cheek and the wonderful salty-sharpness of Pecorino Romano; quite possibly the winning dish of the three.
With decent wines by the glass, the Bomboloni (B190), deep-fried doughnuts filled with Nutella, and the Crostata Al Limone (B210), lemon tart with walnuts and pistachios, give just the right end-of-meal sweetness; desserts that are good without needing to be great.
From Il Fumo and Vesper stock, the owners have waved a culinary wand over La Dotta to create lip-smackingly good Italian in modern-day style. The laid-back ambiance attracts less of the privileged Thong Lor set of 10 years ago and appeals more to the start-ups of tomorrow. Does La Dotta serve the best pasta you are ever likely to eat? Probably not, but overall this is a totally al dente pasta bar, serving homemade dishes that are perfectly delicious to eat.
By Nadia Willan
La Dotta Pasta Bar & Store
161/6, Thong Lor Soi 9
Open: Tue-Sun, 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm
Tel: 02 392 8688