At Biscotti, Some Roma Classics

Homemade Black Truffle Ravioli, Leek and Mascapone with extra shaves of savage Summer Truffle from Northern Italy

OK, call me a snob, but when it comes to picking one good Italian place to eat, I tend to choose Biscotti at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok. There’s something about this place that never tires a returning customer. Their action-packed open kitchen exuding salacious aromas like a big, well-fed Italian house is definitely one thing and personally I love their affordable weekday express lunch just perfect for a tasty business meeting.

My selection from their antipasti table

Considering all Italian restaurants in Bangkok, Biscotti might as well be one of the oldest. Being around for more than 14 years, Biscotti has gone through numerous facelifts, this place is a breeding ground for many aspiring chefs as well as a springboard for many who had gone solo, opening their own places after being much-loved by Biscotti patrons. But no matter how fast time flies, Biscotti remains the place where one keeps coming back thanks to their tasty dishes and uniquely sleek vibe like no others.

Biscotti foccacia served with rosemary-infused mellowed garlic

My recent business meeting took me to lunch at Biscotti :). Yes, I know, I am such a lucky girl. I hadn’t been there for quite a while and it was so nice to touch base and get to meet Daniele Cason, their new Italian chef. Hailing from Rome, the smart-looking Somalian-Italian Daniele cooks many dishes with strong Roma punches and insertion of classic combinations (think fava beans + Pecorino Romano cheese, a classic Roma snack). Having been here in Thailand about a year and a half, Daniele also adopted some Thai flair into a few dishes, making them more appealing to the local palates. The result? Biscotti is as packed as ever, especially during the lunch hours when many people devour with less care when compared to dinner.

You must try this scrumptious tower of Tuna Tartare with avocado, tomato, black olive and lemon confit

We started our gorgeous meal at their famous antipasti table. Do not let the size (of the table) fool you. These small, neatly arranged tables are packed with all very very tempting goodies. From assorted fresh and hard Italian cheeses and premium cold cuts (pastrami, Black forest and Parma ham), assorted seafood, oil-cured pickles and fresh colourful leaves. If you are here for an express lunch, you have a choice to eat only these antipasti (as much as you want) or go for the whole shebang being their lascious 3-course offering (with one main and one dessert with the weekly changing choices on top of the antipasti). Or you can simply indulge just like we did with the antipasti table + whatever we feel like it (a la chef recommendation) from their usual a la carte options.

Morel Mushroom Risotto with seared scallop, fava beans and chives

Our first dish – the King Prawn Salad with Cherry Tomato with Lime-Sweet Chili Vinaigrette was served lukewarm with the tangy lime-based dressing. The highlight being the so-fresh and perfectly pan-seared Thai King prawn tastily sharpened with shallots and fresh sectioned lime for wonderful acidity. Our second dish was the gorgeous tower of Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Tomato, Black Olive and Lemon Confit – another wonderful palate-stimulating dish packed with zesty aromas from lemon and lemon confit. The creamy avocado, the fresh and rare tuna and the raw, finely chopped tomato and black olive make such a wonderful mushy combination. If you like fresh fish and zesty tastes, you may want to try this dish instead of regular salad for a change.

King Prawn Salad with Cherry Tomato, Lime-Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Our two pre-main dishes were Morel Mushroom Risotto, Seared Scallop, Fava Beans and Chives and Homemade Back Truffle Ravioli, Leek and Mascarpone. The risotto – al dente and creamy – was aromatic with the tastes from the mountain (morel mushroom) and the sea (scallop) with the enhancing flavouring simply from butter and Parmesan cheese and nothing else. And when I thought the risotto was the best dish of the day, we were served with the gorgeous ravioli (with leek and potato stuffing) with the generous shaves of fresh black savage Summer Truffle (Tartufo Estivo) from the forest of Northen Italy. This Summer Truffle is one of the 15 wild truffles available all year round from North to South of Italy shipped to Biscotti every week so you no longer need to wait until the fall to savour these delicacies. At Bt750 per 5 grams, the truffle can be shaved onto any dish of your choice, but to enjoy the best of its distinct woody aroma, just don’t pair it with a dish with strong cheese.

Basil Crusted Rack of Lamb, Mashed Potato, Fava Beans, Truffle Pecorino Crumble

Although we were more than full, our last dish of Fletcher lamb in basil crust, served with mashed potato, Fava beans in lamb gravy was so good we literally cleaned the plate. Fletcher lamb is a premium lamb from Australia (chilled only when transported) widely used by top chefs because it does not have too strong a lamb scent. The gravy, made from 3-day simmering of lamb bones and herbs, although a bit pungent and strong, went incredibly well with the smooth mashed potato, flash-cooked fava beans and the Roma favorite of pecorino romano cheese (a cheese that is quite similar to the more widely known Parmesan, but stronger and made from goat milk). Chef Daniele says he grew up eating the Italian native fresh fava beans with Pecorino Romano cheese as a snack in front of a television. It is such a classic Roma combination as old as Carbonara and Amatriciana sauces or the tried-and-true pancetta and onion combination. And as a Roma, Daniele does not fail to bring the tastes of his hometown onto the dishes he serves no matter where he is.

Caramello Spuma or the creamless tiramisu

And here’s our dessert – also in such a classic combination (mascarpone + egg white + coffee granita and biscotti), but served in a classy cloud of dry ice. Chef Daniele says you can call this ‘creamless tiramisu‘ because instead of cream is the rich mascarpone cheese while the coffee granita and biscotti give the similar crunchy textures as the classic Italian dessert – but more sleek, elegant, and memorable – just like the restaurant itself.

Daniele Cason

Biscotti at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok is open daily for lunch at 11.30 – 14.30 and dinner at 18.00 – 22.30. Their express lunch is served Mon- Fri at Bt690-795 per person. T: 02-126-8866. For more pictures and Express Lunch menu, go here.


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