Classic Reinvention

A new attraction in Thailand’s buzzing dining scene, Italics delights palates with its unique reinterpretation of Italian fare.

It’s hard to ignore Bangkok’s dining scene, which is as fabulous as it is eclectic. A recent addition to the string of dining rooms with Michelin-star affiliations is Italics. Opened in April, the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef James Noble has quickly gotten the attention of the well-heeled.

The restaurant is located away from the city’s colourful, more chaotic districts, in the upscale Soi Ruamrudee district that is home to embassies, prime residences and offices, and has a gourmet village vibe. It serves up Italian favourites with a twist. While traditional fare like pizza, pasta and grills features on the menu, there’s always a surprise on your plate, be it Thai basil in a caprese salad or tom yam sauce slathered over pastrami meatballs, inviting the diner to enjoy comforting Italian favourites but in a different way. For even more creative options, try unusual dough balls with Thai pesto and crispy garlic, or the watermelon topped with cured pork belly.

Not innovating just for the sake of it, this Thai influence highlights the restaurant’s commitment to provenance. All of its ingredients, from Parma ham to mozzarella, are painstakingly sourced from Thailand’s farms and the range of produce available in the country. The thyme in the roasted mushroom spaghetti and the basil and oregano that top the grilled sea bass come from Italics’ very own herb garden, where a range of herbs is carefully tended.

The sustainable approach is a refreshing change that goes down well with diners’ conscience, when many other restaurants use only imported ingredients.

Another surprise not expected of a casual dining restaurant is the dash of theatrics. When you order a pizza, the chef emerges from the kitchen, skilfully tossing and swirling the pizza dough before it goes into the brick pizza oven. Put it all together and you get a completely new, livelier way to go Italian.

Now, it’s not just Bangkok where gourmands can go for Italics’ exceptional food. In August, the restaurant opened its second outlet in Chiang Mai where it is the banner restaurant in the five-star boutique hotel Akyra Manor Chiang Mai. A partnership between Akayrn Hospitality Management Services and Singapore-owned Manor Group, the restaurant houses indoor and outdoor dining areas, a coffee bar and a deli bar. Rich leather and distressed wood lend a warm, cosy feeling to the black, white and grey-themed establishment, where wall art depicting local farmers and livestock was carefully chosen by the design house Manor Studio to reflect the restaurant’s sustainability promise.

Italian food that comes with this much style and conscience certainly deserves attention!

• 63/3 Soi Ruamrudee, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand
• Akyra Manor Chiang Mai, 22/2 Nimmanhaemind Road Soi 9, T.Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

(Source: Tatler Singapore | Page 219)