La Scala at Sukhotai Hotel Bangkok
Bangkok Restaurant Reviews
With Christmas around the corner, Catherine Bowers samples a taste of the festive season at La Scala. When La Scala first opened in 2002, the modern Italian restaurant with its chic, innovative interior was an immediate hit with both the local elite and overseas visitors alike. Four years down the road, La Scala has established itself as one of the best Italian dining spots in town, offering the highest quality Italian cuisine.
Adding a personal touch, manager Sornchai Gerdyoo is always seen greeting his guests at the entrance. The eatery's look and feel complements well the Sukhothai's striking timeless dcor, with clean-cut lines and sophisticated, understated lighting. The open kitchen is in full view in the centre and there is also a separate kitchen with a traditional wood-fired pizza oven in one corner of the restaurant. One can also dine alfresco when weather permits.
The cooler weather in December heralds the time when hotels, expat families and Christians begin their preparations for the celebration of Christmas. This month, we celebrate the advent of the festive season with a scrumptious meal at La Scala. Joining us is Dr Nahathai Thewphaingarm whose father is Catholic, although she was only partly brought up as one. "Having a Buddhist mother, I was influenced by both of my parents' religions. We celebrate Christmas every year, but not to the extent most Western families do," she shares.
Befitting the joyous moment, we start the evening with the house's recommended champagne cocktails: Fabulous, champagne with vodka and cranberry juice, and Think Pink, champagne with strawberries and peach puree. Sipping her drink, Dr Nahathai gives us a brief glimpse of her impressive background to date: she is an educator, businesswoman and a former politician with the previous government. Having gained a PhD in educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, Dr Nahathai worked at Thammasat University where she devised a master's degree programme in cultural management. Then followed a six-year political career. "Right now, I consider myself an educator as I help run my parents' Thewphaingarm School, which is a co-educational institute offering schooling from kindergarten to high school level. The school also provides boarding facilities and a bi-lingual programme designed to help those who wish to study in both Thai and English," says Dr Nahathai. Apart from giving her parents a helping hand with the management of the school, this energetic young woman also helps her brother, Dr Natthakrit, with his real estate company. The two are soon to launch their riverside housing development Thew River Place, a luxury condo project styled like a five-star hotel with top facilities and panoramic views of the Chao Phraya.
"I really enjoy eating out and one of my hobbies is to search for good dining spots. My brother, friends and I regularly try newly opened places before we recommend them to our parents," she relates. "My favourite cuisines are Korean and Vietnamese, however I also love fusion food, which I think is almost an art form, combining different ingredients with new cooking methods; it requires a special talent." Dr Nahathai also enjoys a juicy steak with a glass of good red wine every now and again, declaring, "I particularly like red wines from Chile and Argentina and my favourite steak restaurant is Neil's Tavern."
At this point, La Scala's executive sous chef, Luca Cesarini, announces that the fabulous feast is ready to be served; the Christmas menu at La Scala comprises a delightful combination of seven courses. Our culinary journey begins with an amuse bouche of warm marinated fried sardine salad with a warm beetroot shoot; it is delicious. Astice, slipper lobster and scampi salad with pachino tomatoes follows. The freshness and tenderness of both the lobster and scampi are remarkable. Recommended by the chef, the Batasiolo Serbato 2004 chardonnay is an excellent wine that goes perfectly with this shellfish dish. The next round is sensational: Fossa cheese tortelloni with duck porcini mushroom ragout and chestnut shaves. Rich in flavour, our guest especially enjoys it. For the main course, there is a choice between roasted seabass fillet with braised lentil, glazed barbaresco pearl onions and white truffle foam, and pan-seared veal tenderloin served with rosemary creamed potatoes, roasted baby roots salad, morel mushrooms and white truffle jus. Dr Nahathai devours her veal with a glass of Leonardo Da Vinci 2005 Chianti - yet another of the chef's recommendations and a winning combination as our guest diner reveals. I meanwhile indulge the seabass with another glass of the delicious chardonnay, a superb experience. An Italian-style Christmas meal is not complete without panettone. The panettone zuccotto with anis orange compote and blood orange jelly we are presented is absolutely wonderful. To round off our Christmas feast, we enjoy Italian coffee with the Sukhothai's famous chocolates.
All in all, this evening was not only a celebration of the festive season ahead but also of La Scala's delectable fare.
- Opening Hours: Lunch at 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Dinner at 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm
- Location: 13/3 South Sathorn Road
- Tel: +66(0)2 344 8888