Face-to-Face with Real-Deal Tuscan Fare
It may be said that the sight of a motorbike parked defiantly at the entrance of an eatery is not a particularly welcoming sign. But rather than boorish manners the classic Vespa scooter, serving as a key motif element at the Shangri-La Bangkok’s Volti Ristorante & Bar, speaks of the supremely satisfying dining experience that awaits just beyond the gleaming sentry’s chrome bumpers.
A peach puree and champagne bellini (B320) makes for a refreshing preamble to Tuscany-raised Italian Chef Luca Casini’s menu, which itself brims with market-fresh, authentically sourced imported ingredients.
In a welcome perpetuation of the Italian culinary love affair with seafood, an infatuating marinated octopus (B390) starter mingles the tender bites of skinned Mediterranean octopus with equally naked potato, along with Taggia olives and cherry tomato. Continuing the theme, the tuna carpaccio (B410) arrives tissue-thin with a uniformly right-angled presentation, featuring dainty dollops of mustard crème and orange embellishing the succulent Yellowfin slices. An impossibly tender roasted sea bass (B700) offers an intriguing saffron-tinged presence, with salicornia greens (sea asparagus) and petite roasted potato tucked beneath the elegantly tiered fish fillets.
Beyond seafood, the fettuccine porcini (B490) is an unpretentiously plate-dressed classic of olive oil-butter coated pasta, premium European mushrooms, and sundried tomato. Chef Luca’s yolk-only recipe gives the firm, flat pasta a hearty, inviting bite that plays perfectly off the garlic-thyme seasoning and accentuates the dish’s real deal home-style allure. The highly recommended roasted chicken (B680) is a non-traditional but no less enticing poultry selection, featuring skinless breast and boneless leg stuffed with morel mushroom, accompanied by a medallion of eggplant Parmigiana and carafe of red wine sauce.
Chef Casini demonstrates his versatility and patisserie prowess with an Italian style take on the classic mille feuille, in which he nestles vanilla crème between two layers of cookie-crisp crust. Meanwhile, the vanilla-amaretto panna cotta with strawberry sorbet veers sharply into here comes the science territory when crumbled bits of mascarpone mousse—flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen—are dramatically ladled on. As it gradually thaws, the mist-shrouded cheese traverses the textural spectrum from brittle to luxuriously smooth, while the lemon juice-set panna cotta contains not a trace of gelatine, to the delight of those with special dietary restrictions.
Volti’s lofted, split level interior rocks equal parts understated elegance and not quite-themed kitsch, with oversized headshots (Volti translates to faces, after all) of golden-era Hollywood dara and anonymous glitterati adorning the walls. A counter front assaulted in chalked, menu board-style graffiti completes the space’s casual, mildly eccentric vibe.
Volti Ristorante & Bar
Shangri-La Hotel, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu | 0 2236 7777
shangri-la.com/Bangkok | daily 6pm-10.30pm
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