Hitting an innovative high note
Evocative of a time gone by, The Sukhothai Bangkok hotel epitomizes nostalgic design elements and traditional Asian beauty. The prettily lit walkway to Italian gourmet eatery La Scala prepares you for fine dining extraordinaire in a high-end poolside restaurant, with the price tag to match, of course. The unexpected joy is that La Scala is on a whole other level entirely, serving up innovative cuisine that is perfectly executed.
The Tartate di manzo e condimenti di stagione (B1,280) sets the gourmet tone with Australian Black Angus beef tartare with crispy Jerusalem artichoke, black truffle, and marinated egg yolk. The Polipo e patata (B880), crispy potato skins with foam, grilled Sicilian octopus, and an olive sauce, is a labour of love to prepare. The complexity of the culinary process pays off with the best creamy potato dish ever created.
The Coniglio arrosto alla ligure (B1,980), roasted French rabbit with olive, pine nuts, and thyme, is a delicately cooked dish artistically presented. However, the Merluzzo nero in acqua di cipolle e coriandolo (B1,800), a Glacier 51 toothfish from Antarctica, basted and poached with pickle shallot, consommé and coriander, is cooked exceptionally—a standout dish to savor and marvel at.
The Spaghetti alle melanzane bruciate e ricotta dura (B980) is spaghetti with BBQ smoked eggplant, ricotta, and the sweetest date tomatoes. The pasta is cooked in the juice from a kilo of eggplants and the smoky flavour is definitely different, and an acquired taste. So too is the Ravioli di mortadella e champagne (B980), Mortadella-filled ravioli with Parmigiano cream and Champagne foam. The concept of a high-end, rustic cold cut sounds interesting, although the sweet, dry and meaty taste is not for all palates.
Dessert-wise, the Tortino al choccolato (B400), a chocolate fondant with caramelized butter, fruits and vanilla ice cream is even more divine that it sounds, if that is possible. The Fichi, noci e limone con gelato all aceto (B400) is an extraordinary mix of vinegar ice cream served with figs, walnuts, and lemon jam—confusing then exciting the taste buds.
With its open island kitchen, beautifully thin wooden tables, and 1930s chairs, there is a design aesthetic to every element. The effect is to create a surprisingly laid-back feel that still feels “special occasion”. Tuscan native, Chef David Tamburini comes from Michelin-star stock and his skill, knowledge and commitment to the culinary creations define every dish. And whilst good service is part of most upscale restaurants—often barely worthy of a mention—the engagement and interaction with the restaurant staff is pleasant, personable, and refreshingly “normal”.
La Scala is traditional in that it goes back to that classic artistic, chef-style cooking, of preparing dishes with finesse and finely balanced flavour. However, its confident menu is modern, appetizing, and wonderfully different.
By Nadia Willan
The Sukhothai Bangkok
13/3 South Sathorn Rd. | Tel: 02 344 8888
Open daily: Lunch, Mon-Sun, 12pm-2:30pm, Dinner, Mon-Sun, 6:30pm-11pm