The favourite of gourmands and godfathers alike in Pattaya
The mammoth Royal Cliff Hotel in Pattaya has over 1,000 rooms, so it stands to reason that it would have almost a dozen F&B outlets. But amongst these many drink and dine spots, Rossini & Cigar Lounge is definitely the place to go for authentic Italian.
Offering seating for 78 persons in the spacious air-conditioned interior, and room for 40 on the alfresco terrace, the signposts that signify this restaurant’s Italian-ness are everywhere—including a tagline under the red, white, and green logo that reads ‘The Godfather’s Favourite’. But truthfully, the recipes that Head Chef Massimo Gullota brings to his compact but comprehensive menu are all that are needed to transport one to Italy for the evening.
The fresh focaccia bread—with an amazing, rich pesto dip—was the evening’s first taste experience, followed by the Mediterranean Salad (B370), in which lettuce, pear, avocado, walnuts, tomato, and salty chunks of gorgonzola cheese arrive wrapped in a protective belt of thinly sliced zucchini strips. Delicious!
I then asked to taste the chef’s Lasagna Della Nonna (B420), and it definitely did not disappoint. As the name suggests, the recipe is his grandmother’s (Nonna’s) own, and it’s no surprise why he’s kept it. As a counterpoint I selected a glass of 2016 Moda Talamonti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (B240), one of six reds available by the glass.
Next up was the show-stopping Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms (B590), a dish that is usually only available during high season. I’ve never been one to fawn over risotto but this one was exceptional—perfectly cooked rice with a dreamy and creamy black truffle and Parmesan sauce coupled with fat, flavourful porcini mushrooms.
The chef’s love of formaggio continued to shine through in the Homemade Mushroom Ravioli (B490), with a scrumptious four-cheese sauce that blends smoked scamorza, gorgonzola, taleggio, and Parmesan. It’s decadent and divine in equal proportions. By this time I was on my second red, a 2015 San Patrignano Ino Rosso Toscana (B320), which was as appropriate to the evening as the operatic soundtrack in the background (interspersed with appearances by the in-house guitar and vocal duo providing several sets of live music).
At the chef’s suggestion I finished off the meal with a carnivorous feast they call the Rossini Skewer (B790). Here, hearty chunks of Italian sausage, roast chicken, and Thai pork arrive impaled on the plate, accompanied by roasted garlic, baked potato, grilled vegetables, and a choice of mustard or red wine gravy dipping sauces. It’s another dish that’s only on the menu in high season, although it occasionally appears as one of the chef’s three rotating daily specials. And, if you still have room, the colourful Vanilla Panna Cotta (B320) is an artfully plated light dessert.
As the name implies, the restaurant is also home to a luxurious Cigar Lounge—a separate, glassed-in room, with plush leather couches—and a small humidor at the entrance has cigars for sale. The Godfather definitely approves! by Bruce Scott
Rossini & Cigar Lounge
Royal Cliff Hotel (Grand Hotel) 353 Phra Tamnuk Rd, Pattaya
Open: Thu-Tue, 6:30 pm-11pm | Tel: 03 825 0421, ext. 2037