tonight I took my young niece out for dinner. She never had Italian food outside of Italy or an "Italian" kitchen.
I really wanted her to experience what it is like to eat familiar food abroad.
We went to the newly Italian restaurant, Jojo, at the St Regis on Rajadamri rd for those who live in Bangkok or are about to come here for a vacation.
We had two very family style dishes as éntrées, 2 great hits that are always succesful if well executed: Carbonara and Arrabbiata.
For us Italians, when we say Carbonara we always mean Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Arrabbiata is Penne all'Arrabbiata but she was surprised to see that the waiter gave us the possibility to choose the type of pasta with these two sauces.
I never eat Carbonara abroad. I know that 99% of the times this is made with cream. What to do? It's our problem, Italians always want to please everybody and so we have started long time ago to mangle our cuisine in favour of a universal acceptance of our food.
But this time I read on the menu "Traditional way" so I decided to try and we were both very happy, well done chef Fabrizio, well done Executive chef, proud and difficult choice to remove the cream from the Carbonara in order to be authentic!
Also I must add that this gave us the trust to taste an Arrabbiata and although the tomato sauce is suffering from the lack of flavour of the tomatoes here in Thailand, the dish was pretty good and everything perfectly "al dente".
As Main course we chose a Caciucco (seafood soup) and a Oven baked Seabass with bok choy and lemon jam.
The first is clearly a tipycal dish from Tuscany but the second is more part of a creative and modern style Italian cuisine (bit of Fusion also I would say because of the bok choy) where Italian is the way to treat the ingredients and Creative is the way to associate them.
Anyway, they were both pretty good.
Maybe the Caciucco suffered from the same problem than Arrabbiata since tomato sauce is the other main ingredient other than sea food.
Finally, when we were already pretty full, we decided to continue for a "sweet" experience and we deactivated the calories counting meter installed in any woman head and went directly for the best of the best among all the sublime sweets: Chocolate.
I got a Gobino Gianduiotto carving and my niece a Salame di cioccolato (chocolate salami) that is much more than its title.
All the guests stopped talking and set their eyes on the maitre while he was surgically cutting in front of us a giant Gobino Gianduiotto that fell gently on an already decorated dish. Next to us a gentleman swap by mistake the Gianduiotto for an ordinary Milk chocolate. Well, let me tell you it is not. Giuanduiotto is one of the more representative product of Italy and it is made with a balanced mixing of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and hazelnuts paste.
Thanks Napoleone! If you had not imposed a Continental block in 1806, Piedmont would have never answered to the lack of cacao powder by adding their delicious hazelnut Tonda delle Langhe toasted and made into a paste: marvellous blend that became a legend!
Chocolate salami is a pretty good but simple dessert that everyone can make at home. I have to say they were too modest to call it like this. It was much more.
First of all it was made with Modica chocolate and for those who know this type of raw chocolate, it's easy to understand my enthusiasm. Second it was filled with thousands of crunchy crumbled hazelnut from Piedmont...Yuummm!
A very well blended green mint tea was absolutely the best way to end our meal and prepare us to a good night sleep.