Home-style recipes take centre stage at Nonna Nella by Lenzi, where family comes ﬁrst.
By Christy Lau
Food brings people together, and no one believes this more than the Italians. For them, the culinary arts isn’t just about nourishment, but rather a social experience to be savoured among close friends and family with plenty of merriment. Keeping up with these traditions, Nonna Nella by Lenzi delivers delightful Italian ﬂavours in a home-style setting best enjoyed with your loved ones.
Helmed by Chef Francesco Lenzi, who spent his formative years in Tuscany perfecting his craft, the restaurant is a wonderful labour of love and a touching tribute to Lenzi’s grandmother, the eponymous Nella who awakened his lifelong passion for cooking. At Nonna Nella, you will ﬁnd plenty of traditional Italian items, as Chef Lenzi shares his favourite family recipes, thrilling diners with classic specialties covering pizza, pasta, risotto, cold cuts and cheese platters.
And if you love what’s on your plate, you can even purchase some for your own homemade recipes, as the establishment doubles as a delicatessen, where guests can buy everything from cold cuts and cheese to fresh organic jam, marinated vegetables and natural ketchup. Designed around an open-air kitchen, diners will also enjoy the colourful sights and scents of the food being prepared by the Italian staﬀ, which further adds to the restaurant’s authenticity.
Some may question whether Bangkok really needs another Italian establishment, but after stopping by the quaint Nonna Nella, we have to say that everyone should make room for this elegant and cosy restaurant.
Food and Drink
With an emphasis on simple, fresh ingredients and authentic preparation methods, Nonna Nella has taken on a holistic approach to food by importing a special artisanal Italian machine for creating its own pastas daily, as well as a redbrick wood ﬁ red oven to achieve the perfect level of crispiness for their pizzas.
Following a true Italian-style meal, we began our evening with an antipasto course, where we indulged in Tagliere classico (B450), a cold cut board featuring generous servings of Soppressata, Salame Toscano, Lonza, Bazzetta and Mondiola cured hams. This was a great introduction to Italian meat, as the platter provided a variety of ﬂavour proﬁles ranging from salty to spicy and slightly sweet.
The signature pasta dish is Rigatoni Nonna Nella (B350), which is rigatoni pasta with deep-fried eggplant, salty ricotta and tomato sauce. A recipe straight out of Chef Lenzi’s grandmother’s cooking book, this dish is perfected in authentic Italian fashion. Instead of a heavy sauce that drowns the pasta, we were presented with a light sauce that enhanced the fresh ﬂavour and supple texture of this staple food.
When it comes to pizzas, Nonna Nella goes the extra mile, or in this case, the extra hour, using dough that has been matured for 72 hours, which infuses the ﬁnal product with an addictively crisp texture. The Vegetariana (B350) is a guilt-free crowd favourite that comes with organic tomato, ﬁor di latte mozzarella, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and mushrooms.
For mains, we tried the Pollo alla diavola (B320), made with half a spit roasted organic whole baby chicken marinated with fresh herbs and paprika. Nonna Nella actually uses an Italian rotisserie to roast their meat, giving the skin a subtle smoky ﬂavour. Its complex tastes reveal itself one at a time, before melding into a satisfying whole. The side dish of Sauteed spinach with garlic (B80) completes the meal, providing a nice contrast to the tender meat.
Finally, for dessert, we tried Panna cotta (B200). As traditional Italian panna cotta uses no milk, Nonne Nella’s version has a much silkier texture, which literally melts in your mouth. The best part is that you can pick from any of Lenzi’s organic jams to accompany this delicious sweet treat.
Italians are well-known for their love of wine, and at Nonna Nella, diners can choose a quality vintage from the wine cellar covering red, white and sparkling varieties. The two bestsellers are Velenosi “Il Brecciarolo Gold” Rosso Piceno DOC (B340) and Feudo Maccari Nero d’Avola IGT (B380). Both have a full-bodied ﬂavour which pairs nicely with cheesy pizza and pasta dishes.
NONNA NELLA BY LENZI
Unit 101, 1st ﬂoor, All Seasons Place, CRC Tower
87/2 Wireless Road, Lumpini Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330
Open daily from 11.30am to 10pm
Tel: 02 038 2184