Living in Hong Kong may not has some much opportunity to dine under the star or moonlight, Ciao Terrazza, the classic Italian restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok right on the Chao Phraya River takes mylifestylnews to an almost forgotten journey to recollect the bygone colonial memories……
It is a very precious experience to be in Bangkok dining under a moonlit sky on the “River of King” with the alfresco setting. The nostalgia romance assured, particularly when the weather is superb on a balmy evening with a light breeze, no melting in unbearable heat in the month of January.
The view at the Ciao Phraya river in the evening is spectacular and the historical Authors’ Wing facade beautifully lit up on the other side, so who could ask for anything more for a night to remember.
Ciao does not pretend to be cutting edge, as it draws inspiration from the age-old culinary culture of Italy. The chef says he brings a touch of Napoli, but in anyone else’s language all the food is ‘bellissimo’, no matter which region influences each dish when comes to Italian cuisine.
The evening of river-side dining was about classic dishes yet you can put the formality aside, to share a pizza more than appropriate while we perused the rest of the menu and arrived at our choices of dishes to make up the rest of the evening. The Pizza ai Quattro Fromaggi e Funghi Trifolate – four cheeses, tomato, sautéed mushrooms and oregano came with a thin crust pizza dough with the cheese not always to the fore as expected for discerning palates, but pleasant enough nonetheless.
Seafood is such an integral part of Italian cooking, thus an Angel Hair Seafood Pasta with extra chili. This was not on the menu, so our request for this simple dish was quickly assented by the wait staff. The angel hair was cooked to its best way to enjoy, absorbing the sauce from the seafood’s remains and kept the moist of the pasta. It was exactly how a great pasta dish shall be cooked.
We couldn’t pass up on the home-made pasta as were told it is Chef Norbert’s specialties at ease, we chose a Ravioli Doppi (Mozzarella e Lettuga-Faraona e Porcini) Mantecati con Fondo di Arrotto – home-made double ravioli with mozzarella and lettuce, guinea fowl and porcini in aromatic pan jus. This dish with such a long name was beautifully crafted, the double ravioli was soft to the touch and full of mouth filling flavors that were simply delicious. It is not often you have a chance to enjoy guinea fowl from the menu offered especially in this region and being cooked and handled in perfection, the gamey taste of this meat shone through and was a highlight for us.
We segued into meat next with a Tagliata di Manzo con Rucola e Pomodorini Arrostiti – grilled beef sirloin with arugula and roast plum tomato. This dish is the simplest of ingredients, so provenance is very important to bring the flavours to the fore and this was perfectly cooked to order, exuding a superb char-grilled flavor that forced us to eat every morsel of meat. The deliciousness of this dish was aided by the flavor of the juicy tomatoes which were also very much enjoyed.
A stew to the Italians is the heart and soul of country cooking which allows the chef to create a richly flavoured dish. The Spezzatino di Stinco di Vitello con Gremolata Aromatica and Risotto all Zafferano ( veal shank stew with gremolata and saffron risotto) were no exception This stew had all the flavours one could hope for to create a classic comfort food dish that leaves you mopping up the unctuous sauce with the bread, so not a drop is left on the plate. Once again, Chef Norbert had proven at his best with the restaurant signature pasta dishes.
Italian desserts can be sensational and on this evening it was a mixed bag with a Panna Cotta in 3 Modi – panna cotta in 3 variations (vanilla, apricot and strawberry) and Gratinata di Ciliegie e Fragole all’Amaretto Di Saromo (gratin of cherries and strawberries with Amaretto Di Saromo). The panna cotta was a classic silky textured threesome, with each flavor clearly defined and a joy to eat. The gratinata on the other hand was a little disappointing, as the gratin was not discernible in texture, resulting in a very thin custard like sauce that was not a standout on the palate.
The Somellier matched wine by the glass with every course and he chose some superb wines that brought out the flavor of the food even more, such as a Pinot Grigio with a perfumed acidity, a Premier Cru Mersault that was smoky and unctuous and a heavy hitting Barolo della Valpollicella that was the perfect accompaniment with the meats. The overall culinary journey at Ciao was extremely enjoyable.
This restaurant is not for culinary experimentation but satisfying palates with classic flavours that are mostly expertly executed on the plate. You could say they play it safe, but we don’t want the kitchen to play around with such quintessential flavours. We left feeling sated and lingering over the delicious ingredients we had sampled on such a balmy evening with the spirit of Napoli gastronomy.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
48, Oriental Avenue
Tel: +66 2659 9000 ext 7640
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.