Where to eat in Chiang Mai?

Italics, Innovative Italian. Pretty cool name! This hip and happening restaurant is in the lobby of Chiang Mai’s newest boutique hotel, Akyra Manor.

The decor is rather fresh and modern. The ambience is sophisticated, stylish and cool (air-conditioning cool)!

As it was a lovely day out, my friend and I decided to have our early lunch on the terrace, which happens to also have more of a relaxing atmosphere. It was nice to just sit there, chill out and slowly enjoy the meal and do a bit of people watching.

And the food? That’s what we’re here for, and Italics does not disappoint. The menu is very interesting, with a variety of innovative dishes created by the Executive Chef Phubase that you won’t find elsewhere.

Highly recommended was Chef Phubase’s signature dish, the Coffee Braised Short Rib ( 695 baht) . This is beef marinated in coffee, and slow cooked in duck fat for over 24 hours, resulting in super tender beef that’s packed full of flavour but still had kind of soft roundedness to it (from the duck fat?). The beef was served in a little pot over some spinach, and also with gnocchi cooked in duck fat. The gnocchi was wonderful – slightly crispy and hard on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. It was like, wow, when everything was eaten together. The only downside for us was that this dish was quite rich and we couldn’t finish it all. Lucky we had some green salad that we ordered separately. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I think the beef would have been perfect with a glass of red wine.

Now the Garden Greens Salad (220 baht) was no ordinary “green salad”. It also contained marinated pepper and grilled vegetables, coated in a light balsamic dressing, and served with a generous amount of parmesan. It was a great salad, very enjoyable to eat. Eat slowly to enjoy the different flavours and textures.

As for the appetiser (sorry, we’re going backwards!), East Meets West (250 baht) was suggested to us. This is almost like 2 dishes – a selection of “cured and smoked” sausages, and a sweet potato and edamame salad. The sausages were very strongly flavoured and quite salty, but they went well with the lovely, milder tasting sweet potato and edamame salad (in a kind of mayonnaise dressing). The salad is a bit like a Japanese style potato salad with edamame added to give a little crunch. Great idea!

For dessert, we had the Banana Ricotta Cheesecake (220 baht). This wasn’t what I was expecting in terms of taste and texture. The cheesecake itself was incredibly smooth and surprisingly not sweet at all. The base also had an interesting texture, (which I can’t work out!), but it wasn’t like other cheesecakes that I’ve had. All in all, it was quite lovely.

Towards the end of the meal, Chef Phubase, and the Hotel Manager, Chris came round for a chat and asked for feedback. The restaurant (and hotel) was opened just a couple of days before. Apart from a couple of minor things, I think pretty much everything was great.

The staff was very friendly, from the guy who valet parked my car (yay! parking is available!), to the restaurant manager, Cy, and the waiters/ waitresses who took turns to man the terrace, making sure our water is topped up – very attentive service indeed!

Incidentally, Chris mentioned that they will be implementing a “Resident’s Program” where residents can get 15% discount. So, if you live in Chiang Mai, it would be worth asking about this when you visit the restaurant.

Italics is an interesting addition to Chiang Mai’s food scene. The service and food is great. If you’re looking for somewhere for a special night out, or even just looking for something a bit different, the restaurant is worth checking out.

22/2 Nimmanhaemin Soi 9
T Suthep, A Muang
Chiang Mai 50220
Website: http://theakyra.com/chiang-mai/akyra-manor-italics/
Opens: Daily 11am-11pm
Tel: 053 216 219

(Source: http://cm-eat.blogspot.sg/2015/08/italics-restaurant-akyra-manor-hotel.html)