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Gianni Italian Restaurant in Bangkok
"Gianni Italian Restaurant in Bangkok"
We take a seat at our table. You have to make a reservation, and fortunately some friends told us just in time. The restaurant is crammed full and it is just an ordinary Tuesday evening. Italian singer Paolo Conte's music plays in the background while waiters rush through the tables in an ambience which is at once refined and relaxed. Someone might object there is nothing odd or unusual, being an Italian restaurant. The thing is that we are in downtown Bangkok, among banks and office buildings, in one of the throbbing hearts of that economically booming Asia which is still so little known in Italy. But for the unmistakably oriental-looking waiters, everything else would lead us to think that we are in some restaurant downtown a big Italian city.
The clientele is international, apart from a few Italians. There are hardly any tourists. We are welcomed by the owner himself, Gianni Favro, a very tall man who cuts an imposing and at once reassuring figure.
He goes in and out of the kitchen, first casting a glance at the cooker and then at the patrons. He lingers around the tables chatting in English and moving nonchalantly from a group of Americans (from his familiar approach we guess they are regulars) to a table of Japanese people. No sooner do our eyes meet with Gianni's than we both understand we are fellow countrymen and that is just enough to click, which is not bad at all when you are far away from home.
The menu is sumptuous, well-assorted and typically Italian.
Gianni offers to help us choosing and we let him gladly, as we always do when a place inspires confidence. And we are right. Our dinner begins with a choice of starters with fish carpaccio made of five different "bites": red tuna tartar sauce with julienne celery, avocado and crayfish flan, octopus and new potato salad, taggiasco olives and capers, stuffed squid on coulis of roasted peppers, scallop and crayfish poached in bacon.
the first course consists of delicious home-made maltagliati pasta with durum wheat served with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese. The second course is sea bass for my fellow guest and lamb chop for me. The bass is flash-fried and served with fricasseed potatoes cooked in olive oil, raw tomato cubes and Mediterranean herbs. The lamb chop is roasted with garlic and rosemary. After the second course, following Gianni's advice, we skip the dessert for a refreshing and digestive sherbet. An original Italian-style coffee is the right end to a perfect dinner. From time to time Gianni leaves the kitchen and approaches our table to make sure everything is fine.
We really enjoyed coming to this restaurant. We tried in vain to remember another one among the very many restaurants we know and frequent in Italy which might resemble Gianni's for its quality and ambience. Everything was absolutely impeccable, from the atmosphere to the wide selection of menu items and the list of Italian wines (from the commonest to the rarest), from the waiters' professional skills to the quality of the food we had and the clientele.
As it often happens when something or someone draws our attention and whets our curiosity, we decided to work our feelings into an article. After all, this is Lifestyle too. We introduced ourselves and asked for an appointment to learn the restaurant background but especially Gianni's, which we imagined to be pretty adventurous. We got an appointment after a couple of days, at lunchtime, sitting around a sumptuously laid table. What was supposed to be an interview became a pleasant chat among friends.
How did you
start your career as a chef?
How did you
end up in Thailand?
I've always been faithful to the traditional Italian cuisine, and I've never wanted to adjust it to the local taste. At first it was hard because of the difficulty finding the right ingredients, meeting the clients' needs, get on with the kitchen staff and so on. But I've held on to my principles and now I'm proud to say that I was able to bring the real Italian cuisine to the heart of Bangkok.
And what about
What kind of cuisine can we find at Gianni's?
On arriving at the restaurant one is struck by a kitchen full of cooks and staff members, all taken up and so well-coordinated among them.
As far as the staff is concerned, there is a big difference with Europe. Here costs are more reasonable and you can have a higher number of collaborators. The kitchen is divided into departments, each with its own specialization. Everything is "home-made", from pasta to desserts. There are no ready-made meals as you happen to find more and more often also in top-quality restaurants.
What kind of clients does your restaurant have?
Gianni is one of those restaurants where, at least in Europe, you're
afraid to get in. Because of its refined, elegant atmosphere one might
think: "Let's hope it's not too expensive".
What are the restaurant closing days?
Do you like living in Bangkok?
Talking about work, is Gianni your sole business here in Thailand?
If you happen to come to Bangkok, either on business or on holiday, and you feel like eating Italian, now you know where to go. And please send Gianni our best regards!