From first impressions alone, Italics is clearly the kind of place you want in your neighbourhood. Words and photos by Zipporah Gene Goetze.
There’s definitely a maudlin part of me that yearns for classic Italian dishes, without all the instagrammable frills that we’ve come to expect from restaurants nowadays. I yearn for good, reasonably priced food, sans all the bloviating and the gimmickry.
A simple but appealing monochrome interior, drizzled with a few restrained splashes of colour; the venue definitely has a bistro-type vibe. Only a ten minute walk from Phloen Chit BTS station, I could immediately see myself coming in for a formal mid-week dinner or a casual weekend brunch. I can’t say I was entirely surprised, when I later learned that this was the first standalone venture by the Akaryn Hotel group. They certainly know their stuff when it comes to creating a modern but vibrant eatery.
For those who’ve visited before, you will be glad to know that they’ve done away with the strict and somewhat limiting need to stock only locally sourced ingredients. Whilst admirable and undeniably ethical, I too find it hard to wrap my head around the concept of an ‘innovative Italian cuisine’, well, without any trace of Italy.
I usually like to start with something healthy. That way, when I descend into the depths of libidinous hedonism, I can trick myself into not feeling so bad. Although I’m still quite dubious of just how ‘healthy’ the pink rambutan cooler actually was, the ginger zinger was light, refreshing and without the dreaded but all too often, anticipated, sugary overload. It’s a great on-the-run accompaniment with any number of the paninis and bruschettas that they have on offer, in their on-site deli.
As far as menus go, this one reads like a dream. There is fantastic list of antipasti and salads, and with ingredients such as: squid, scallop and truffle tartare, confit tuna and buratta – it wasn’t long before my inner glutton had awoken and began demanding its promised tribute.
The wine list, though modest, has been painstakingly matched to the culinary creations on the menu; so you’re sure to find something to go with your meal.
This glorious and sacred mix of soft wobbly burrata, fresh aromatic pesto and the careful mediation of piquant cherry tomatoes – is my everything. Let’s just say that the plate was devoid of any trace of its former inhabitants, shortly after being set down at my table.
I’ve always been quite staunch in my avoidance of foie gras. For reasons I’m sure we’re all fully aware, it’s just been one of those things I’ve stayed well and truly away from. Yet, having tried the duck ravioli here, I’ll be honest in saying that it’s definitely something I would like to try again. It was just beautiful. Buttery, yet rich, light, and at the same time delicate, the addition of ginger to the filling, gave it that wonderful surprise finish that I can’t seem to get out of my mind.
For those seasoned pizza lovers, looking to try something new, I would definitely give their signature pumpkin ricotta pizza a go. It’s crispy, thin and cheesy in all the right places. A great size, with a more than generous use of mozzarella, certainly makes it as indulgent gooey as it is devilishly moreish.
Last but not even close to being least, was the coffee panna cotta with salted caramel. I usually order dessert, spoon a bite or two, offer it to my guests and push it away. It’s an all to familiar song and dance I’ve developed over the years, but it’s served my waistline well. I couldn’t with this. I tried. A tad oversweet, yet cool and creamy; it had me enthralled to the very last spoonful.
I finished it all off with a nice but unusual cup of hot longan tea. Leaving the effortlessly cool restaurant and adjacent whisky/cigar bar behind, I am re-awakened by the sound of the city roaring outside. The familiar heat grips us as we make our way to flag down a taxi. We are done. Satisfied.