A feast for the senses, in every respect
There seem to be three strains of Italian fare emerging in this town. One, of course, is the good ol’ tomatoes and meatballs, pizza and pasta variety—call it global Sicilian-American. The second is the hearty grill disguised as steakhouse, sumptuously splashy upscale places that use the lure of truffles and parmigiano to cater to Thai big spenders’ increasing yearning for copious amounts of wood-oven seared meat—formerly forbidden beef, veal, lamb and sausages. And then there’s the third kind that plays on the more traditional Italian palate and the time-honored romance, even seduction, of Italy and Italians themselves, hopefully in a new way that doesn’t fall back on the kitschy in décor or the formulaic in cooking.
Sensi is a standard-bearer of this third, and most satisfying category. Everything about it is designed to create a hushed and tasteful world, oceans apart from Bangkok. Down a leafy street of old mansions on the fringes of Yen Akat—in a private house turned into a understated lair of broad windows, recessed lighting, and provocative art—this is the perfect place for that special date, special moment, the place to pop that important question or simply sink into total, pampered ease. You are in good hands all the way, and can be fully confident of the choice of Italian wines. Founding chef Christian Martena has moved on to green pastures in Myanmar, taking with him some molecular experimentations, like his carbonara in a single bite. Now the kitchen reins belong to Marco Paccetta, who has confidently restored purity and zest to Sensi’s oversized plates.
The two pillars of this new approach are Chef Paccetta’s interpretation of the classic Vitello Tonnato (B590), called simply by the second name here, where instead of a carpaccio, tender hunks of veal are drenched in a sauce made of raw yellow fin rather than canned fish. Nothing canned here, including the powerful, biting tomato puree that gives life to the Pasta alla ‘Norma’ (B490), where chewy rounds are amplified with dollops of eggplant puree and basil leaves. The Black cod (B1,190) comes with pungent n’duja sauce, the Scallops with pomegranate (B590), a Porcini cream soup (B590) with truffle foam. Hokkaido scallops with black truffle (B690) are eminently affordable as well.
It’s innovation that doesn’t scream its name, and stays true to presenting unabashedly luxurious ingredients (the Five ‘Sensi’ Menu at B2,290 is a steal). Without missing a step, the festivities even stray into French territory: foie gras with ‘Golden Port Apple’ on brioche bread (B790), and a unique Bouillabaisse (B590).
Somehow the offerings here are both familiar and surprising. Sensi carries on, sensuously of course.
By John Krich
1040, Narathiwat Soi 17, Yak 5
Tel: 02 676 4466
Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-12am