There’s something cheesy in Florence tonight
Descending the ornate wooden stairway from the Hotel Muse Bangkok’s stylish lobby, one is given over to a sense of stepping into the murky waters of time past, through a palpable temporal surface tension separating the present day Langsuan Road locale from the oak-and-wrought-iron opulence of Medici, the hotel’s much revered Italian eatery. The 19th-century-inspired, rustic industrial motif seamlessly mingles sophisticated elegance and comfortably at-home charm.
The man behind’s magnificent fare here is Chef Nicolino Lalla, whose passion and talent for cooking was evident before he was old enough to drive. At the tender age of 15, Lalla attended the Istituto Professionale Alberghiero in Villa Santa Maria, becoming one of the world-renowned culinary and hotel management school’s top students, before embarking on a series of summer internships at top-rated Swiss luxury hotels including the Grand Hotel National in Lucern and Olden Hotel in Gstaad.
Chef Nicolino’s mastery of the deeply held traditions of Italian cuisine, imaginative approach to kitchen-craft, and expansive experience and training shine like a golden signature in his impeccably presented creations. His cooking is sufficiently substantial to warrant a light starter, such as the Raw Mediterranean red prawn (B590) served on a bed of crisp, deep-green sea asparagus and garnished with a garden of roasted cherry tomatoes, micro herbs, salmon roe and olive oil “pearls” that burst flavourfully on the tongue.
The arrival of a toweringly thick Pan-fried Angus beef tenderloin ‘Rossini’ (B1,550) is an example of what is meant by substantial. This formidably sized cut—aged no less than 150 days—is delectably dappered-up with a finger-thick top hat of gorgeously browned foie gras with Norcia black truffle.
Then the evening’s most dramatically presented and innovative course—a limited time special unfortunately—arrives aboard a gleaming copper-hued service cart. It’s a 20 kg wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, its centre portion hewn into salad bowl-sized dimple. A splash of cognac is then ignited before a pan-ful of extra wide, house-made ribbon pasta is tossed into the tantalisingly hellish, spontaneously gratinating cheese-scape of flickering flame and molten rivulets of Parm’. The resulting alfredo-style pasta dish (B900/portion) is flavour-enriched with dash of white truffle and porcini mushroom before being spooned directly from the flaming cheese crucible onto the house’s stylish Versace dinner plates (yes, that Versace).
As if setting a massive cheese-wheel on fire weren’t enough to dazzle his guests, Chef Nic borrows a page from Herman Melville’s epic mariner’s tale with his White chocolate tiramisu (B28), a delightful tone-inverted take on the classic Italian dessert with Amaretto, fresh strawberry and sliced almond.
And in a truly one-of-a-kind ambience-enhancing touch, diners are treated to a roving serenade of live a cappella performed by local pop-opera troupe Fivera, from 8:30 to 10pm.
Medici Kitchen & Bar
Hotel Muse Bangkok, 55/555 Langsuan Road
Open daily: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
Tel: 02 630-4000